January 6, 1952 — The Fresno Bee
The Fresno Bee in California responded to the selection of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh as TIME’s Man of the Year in this precious editorial.
Man Of The Year Choice
The editors of Time magazine have selected Mohammed Mossadegh, the weeping premier of Iran, as the man who had most to do with shaping world history in 1951, for better or for worse.
Reflects Leadership Need
At first glance this seemed an almost shocking choice, for at the best Mossadegh is a weak premier of a weak nation which happens to be rich in oil. Sober reflection, however, raises the question of who else and the nomination of Mossadegh as the man of the year epitomizes the odd characters who are determining the destinies of the world for this generation and possibly for the future. . . .
The course of events which Mossadegh is supposed to have shaped was due as much to his weakness as to any strength he may possess. To a large extent he was riding with the mob rather than trying to assume a measure of solid leadership on his own. And the reasoning, therefore, can be carried to the point of saying world history is being shaped by mob law, riot and violence more than by reason, diplomacy and goodwill.
Few if anyone would claim that Mossadegh was the outstanding man in the world in 1951, and so all the greater is the pity that he had so much to do with the shaping of history. Many abler men were silent or had no part in molding the course of affairs. So the weight of the influence which Mossadegh exercised, possibly even to his own amazement, was due as much to the lack of statesmanship on the part of Britain and the United States as to any act of his own.
Mossadegh’s selection is a weird confirmation of the vacuum which exists in sound world leadership. The world cries out for leaders whose imprint will be for the better instead of for the worse. It is to be hoped that when the Time editors cast around for the man of the year in 1952 the field will be more promising.
TIME Readers Irate Over Mossadegh’s "Man of the Year" Title (Jan. 1952)
Joseph Stalin Should Have Been TIME’s 1951 Man of the Year — Schenectady Gazette (1952)
Weakling ‘Strong Man’ — The Palm Beach Post, August 19, 1953
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”