It Was All a Pleasant Business: The Historical Context of "On the Quai at Smyrna"
Argues that an understanding of the story’s diplomatic and military background is key to clarifying its tone and the reasons behind the narrator’s manner of speaking. After providing a detailed historical account of the Smyrna debacle during the Greco-Turkish conflict of 1919-22, Stewart postulates that the story’s anonymous narrator is a British officer dealing with extreme guilt over his enforced inaction during the inhumane disaster.
Stewart, Matthew. “It Was All a Pleasant Business: The Historical Context of ‘On the Quai at Smyrna.’” Hemingway Review 23, no. 1 (Fall 2003): 58-71.