How great was Atatürk? The question came up examining Turkish attitudes to Churchill, which one might expect would be hostile. In 1914, Churchill’s Admiralty denied Turkey two battleships being built in Britain as World War I erupted. In 1915, Churchill pushed hard (though did not conceive of) the attacks on the Dardanelles and Gallipoli. (See also “comments” on this post from thoughtful Turks.)
One historian speculated that Churchill mirrored the courage and resourcefulness of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk). Another said there “might be a lingering impression that Churchill had helped save Turkey from the red menace by his resistance to Russian demands on the Dardanelles Straits—of course it was Harry Truman who did the heavy lifting there [through the Truman Doctrine]”
Churchill and Inonu, 1943 (Escforums, Istanbul)
The Turks have abundant reasons to feel positive toward Churchill, aside from his personal courage, and his post-1945 resistance to Soviet designs on the Dardanelles (when he was out of office and powerless).…
Throughout the August 1911 railway strike, troops had orders to stand by and act only if public security was endangered by the strikers. But there was another reason why anxiety ran high at that time. A few weeks earlier, the Germans had sent a gunboat to Agadir, French Morocco, and rumors of war with Germany were rampant. David Lloyd George said the Agadir Crisis was a threat to peace, that the Germans “would not hesitate to use the paralysis into which the country was falling in order to attack Britain.” Paul Addison, in Churchill on the Home Front, described the public mood:
The unprecedented challenge of a simultaneous national stoppage by all four railway unions convinced respectable opinion that the world was about to be turned upside down….Churchill’s own apprehensions were connected, apparently with fear of subversion in Germany….He was also informed by Guy Granet, the general manager of the Midland Railways, of allegations that labour leaders were receiving payments from a German agent….Conservatives applauded him for taking decisive action.…
London Mayor Boris Johnson has disobeyed the Lady Soames Commandment: “Thou shall not say what my father would do today.” May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his pyjamas.
During a Daily Telegraph readers Q&A to launch Johnson’s new book, The Churchill Factor, Telegraph Head of Books Gaby Wood asked the Mayor what “we could take from Churchill today” and whether Islamofascism was an equivalent threat to the Nazis.
Although Mr. Johnson said he did not know whether Churchill would get involved in Iraq, he added: “I think he would have been in favour of air power. I think air strikes but not boots on the ground is my hunch on where he would have been because he wasn’t obsessed with foreign entanglements.”
Well, he was obsessed enough in the 1930s to argue for foreign entanglements (France, Russia, USA) when his country was in danger.…