Pontos was one of the most prosperous, economically and culturally vibrant areas of Hellenism outside Greece itself.

The Greeks made up 40 per cent of the population and, along with the Armenians, took a leading part in its economic life.

During the war the population of Pontos shared the fate of the rest of Asia Minor. With the entrance of Turkey in to the war, the evacuation of settlements, execution of deserters and reprisals on the families of deserters took place. The Pontine Greeks reacted to this oppression with organized resistance. Reacting to the pressures of the Turks they began from 1915 on to take to the mountains as guerillas and fight in guerilla warfare against the regular army.
Things were better in the ecclesiastical district of Trebizond thanks to the special capacities of the metropolitan Chrysanthos and the general confidence he enjoyed, a fact that allowed him to preserve good relations with the Turkish leadership and negotiate the fate of his people.

The fate of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire was tragic: in 1915 they suffered genocide.

The new order formulated after the end of the First World War, the defeat and the collapse of the Empire (and the Allied intention to partition former imperial territory), the declaration of the principle of self-determination and the expectation fostered in former Ottoman lands for national independence - all this led the Pontine Greeks to organize an autonomist movement at the beginning of 1918.

The proposals of the Pontine Greeks involved the creation of a Pontine-Armenian state, whereas others were talking of a Hellenic Republic of Pontos with a special relationship to Greece. Venizelos encouraged the idea of a Pontine-Armenian state. He had not included, however, any claim related to Pontos in the Greek claims of the Memorandum of December 1918, believing that such a claim was unfeasible and would only weaken the Greek proposals for other, more important issues to be won.
The metropolitan of Trebizond, Chrysanthos Philippidis, a figure held in high esteem, held discussions both with the leadership of Constantinople and that of the Kemalist front over the likely autonomy of Pontos and the equal status of Greeks and Turks under the guardianship of the League of Nations. The solution finally opted for was that of a Pontine-Armenian Federation and in January 1920 an agreement was signed between the metropolitan Chrysanthos and Al. Hatisian, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.
The Treaty of Sevres recognized the Pontine-Armenian state, extending from Trebizond to Van and the Armenian borders of Caucasia, the life of which however would be ephemeral and the outcome tragic.

In November of that same year the Armenians were defeated by the Kemalist army and were forced to sign a treaty. The Greeks of Pontos were at the mercy of the Turks, who were incenced by the occupation of Smyrna by the Greek army and its advance into the interior. The Armenian question was resolved between the Turks and the Soviets with the Treaty of Alexandropol, while the Greeks of Pontos shared the fate of the rest of Asia Minor and were soon uprooted.