Fanatic of the Year

January 8, 1952 — Greeley Daily Tribune

The Mossadegh Project | January 5, 2021                     

TIME magazine, Man of the Year 1951, Mohammad Mossadegh

The Greeley Daily Tribune newspaper in Greeley, Colorado published this lead editorial on the 1951 “Man of the Year” article in TIME magazine.

Aside from its overall stupidity, the editorial actually mooched (plagiarized) from TIME’s Jan. 7th cover story on Dr. Mossadegh, Challenge of the East.

Time’s Man of Year Pinpoints Moral Issue

Whether or not Mohammed Mossadegh, Time Magazine’s man of 1951, deserves that honor will be endlessly debated. For the first time in many years Time has selected a man many will not be able to identify. [This was TIME’s second cover story on Mossadegh that year, in addition to at least 50 other articles] Even the question of the value of selecting a man of the year will be argued, exactly as are the merits of all star teams or backs of the year or linemen of the year or coach of the year.

By the selection of the emotional, dramatic, and tearful premier of Iran, Time has pinpointed a question that surely must be solved before there can be any hope of peace.

This fanatic Moslem awakened the west, especially the United States, to the fact that it is deficient in moral sense not only applied to the loose use of mink coats but in foreign policy. [swipe against corruption in the Truman administration]

Mossadegh did exactly that tho he represents an important power without industry or armies or warships or air force worthy of mention. Thus Mossadegh for this honor nosed out, in the opinion of the board of editors of Time, such better known candidates as General Eisenhower, [Dwight D. Eisenhower] General MacArthur, [Douglas MacArthur] Winston Churchill, General Ridgway, [Matthew Ridgeway] John Foster Dulles, Harry Truman, and Charles Malik of Lebanon, not to be confused with the Russian Maliks. [UN diplomat Malik was better known than the Premier of Iran?!?]

Time quotes General MacArthur to emphasize the importance of Mossadegh’s diplomacy, if it may be called that. In a little noted but brilliant portion of his speech before the joint session of Congress, MacArthur said Asiatic peoples would continue to drive for independence of Asia from the west, and for their material progress. Then he added:

The United States must “orient its policies in consonance with this basic evolutionary condition, rather than to pursue a course blind to the reality that the colonial area is now past and the Asian peoples covet the right to shape their own destiny. What they seek now is friendly guidance, understanding and support, not imperious direction; the dignity of equality, and not the shame of subjugation.” [Douglas MacArthur’s farewell speech on April 19, 1951, following his dismissal by Truman]

That is MacArthur speaking.

What did Mossadegh do? He led his people in the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian oil properties, largely owned by the British government. His methods may weaken and impoverish his country. He does not seem to mind. [absurd]

As a result of his efforts, the west has lost the Iranian oil supply, the Iranian government has lost the payments; Iran is all confusion, and the communist party is likely to gain there. But the loss of Iranian oil has also weakened Great Britain economically, and in one manner this will likely be made up by the United States.

Mossadegh was able to accomplish all this because the west had no definite, firm, moral stand on the question; it was unable to justify to anyone why it should interfere in the affairs of a Middle East nation.

The west has no real unity in its attitude toward the Middle East and Near East. The United States has never attempted to justify on a moral basis its support of imperialism in the Near and Middle East.

Time quotes Malik of Lebanon in Foreign Affairs, the magazine, as saying:

The disturbing rise of fanaticism in the Near East in recent years is “a reaction to the thoughtlessness and superficiality of the West ... In all this we are really touching on the great present crisis in western culture. We are saying that when [that] culture mends its own spiritual fences, all will be well with the Near East and not with the Near East alone. The deep problem of the Near East must await the spiritual recovery of the west. And he does not know the truth who thinks that the West does not have in its own tradition the means and the power wherewith it can once again be true to itself.”

The nationalization of oil in Iran is but one hot spot in the Near East. Now the British battle the Egyptians along the Suez canal. The various disputes over Israel have made Arabs opponents of Americans, whether their stand be justified or not.

Time presents its man of the year, the fanatical Mossadegh, as a “fair sample” of the type of people the United States as the leader of the west must deal with successfully within a few short months.

Mossadegh & Arbenz & Lumumba & Sukarno & Allende... shirts

Mossadegh & Arbenz & Lumumba & Sukarno & Allende... t-shirts

Truman and Mossadegh’s First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)
President Truman and Premier Mossadegh's First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)


Related links:

Man of Year Choice Echoes 1951 Defeatism | Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 4, 1952

With No Policy, We Met May Yet Lose Iran | Des Moines Register, Aug. 20, 1952

TIME Readers Irate Over Mossadegh’s “Man of the Year” Title (1952)

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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