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