Tag: Truman

Why the Turks Like Churchill

Why the Turks Like Churchill

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.)

Atatürk

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).…

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Churchill, Obama, and the Sacking of Generals

Churchill, Obama, and the Sacking of Generals

“It is dif­fi­cult to remove a bad Gen­er­al at the height of a cam­paign: it is atro­cious to remove a good Gen­er­al.” —Churchill

Oba­ma and McChrys­tal (White House pho­to by Pete Souza, Wiki­me­dia Com­mons).

What can we learn by com­par­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s dis­missal of Gen­er­al McChrys­tal to Churchill’s dis­missals of Gen­er­als Wavell and Auchin­leck, two dis­tin­guished com­man­ders in World War II? I hope it will not be anoth­er reminder of how stan­dards of con­duct have dete­ri­o­rat­ed.

Dif­fer­ences first. Churchill’s gen­er­als were removed for not suf­fi­cient­ly oppos­ing Irwin Rommel’s Afri­ka Korps. McChrys­tal was not under­per­form­ing, and his sit­u­a­tion bears more resem­blance to that of Gen­er­al Dou­glas MacArthur, the Kore­an com­man­der relieved in 1951 by Pres­i­dent Tru­man for insub­or­di­na­tion.…

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Churchill and the Baltic

Churchill and the Baltic

The Baltic States (mappery.com)

Wal­ter Rus­sell Mead in The Amer­i­can Inter­est Online fine­ly describes the Muse­um of the KGB, estab­lished in the Lithuan­ian cap­i­tal of Vil­nius to doc­u­ment the vic­tims of Sovi­et occu­pa­tion of the Baltic States from 1940 through 1991:

Yet those poor Lithuan­ian par­ti­sans who fought a hope­less guer­ril­la cam­paign against the Sovi­et occu­pa­tion after 1945 kept wait­ing for us to show up,” Mead cointin­ues. “Appar­ent­ly they made the mis­take of believ­ing all those fine words that Franklin Roo­sevelt and Win­ston Churchill wrote in The Atlantic Char­ter.

I have no doubt that Roo­sevelt and Tru­man were right to avoid war with the Sovi­et Union after World War Two…But war over east­ern Europe in 1945 was unthink­able; con­tain­ment was the best we could do.…

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