He was born in Izmir, graduated from the Military Academy in 1903 and received his first military assignment in the Ottoman army. He won his first military victories by suppressing two major revolts against the struggling Ottoman Empire, first in Roumelia and second in Yemen. During World War I, he fought on the eastern front in Syria), then he was appointed as the commander of the western fronts. He was promoted to brigadier general after the "Inönü Wars", in which he successfully defended the central Anatolian territory against the Greek Army.
He made a career change by being chosen as the chief of the Turkish team in the Lausanne Negotiations. After the death of Atatürk he was the only name to replace him and he was elected as the second President of the Republic of Turkey. Subsequently, Inönü was Prime Minster of Turkey for several terms maitaining the system Atatürk had put in place. In 1950 his party lost the general election and presided over the peaceful transfer of power to the Democratic Party. Inönü served for ten years as leader of the opposition before returning to power after the coup of 1960.