The Importance of Joseph Stalin
January 5, 1952 — The Schenectady Gazette
This Saturday editorial in The Schenectady Gazette newspaper in New York criticized TIME’s choice of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh for 1951 Man of the Year.
It should have been Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, they argued, neglecting to mention that Stalin was previously named Man of the Year for 1939 and 1942, and had also been on TIME covers in 1930, 1936, 1937, 1941, 1945, and 1950.
MAN OF THE YEAR
Time magazine made a poor choice with its "Man of the Year" selection this time. It picked the Iranian premier, Mohammed Mossadegh.
Time defines its man of the year as the person (man, woman or group) "having done the most to change the news for better or worse."
Mossadegh’s name appeared frequently in the 1951 news. He did a lot of weeping and arguing. He annoyed a lot of people and pleased some others. But who was the one who most changed the news during 1951? The same one who has been doing it for a number of years: Josef Stalin.
Mossadegh’s actions — Mossadegh himself — would be insignificant so far as world history is concerned if it were not for Stalin and the men around Stalin. Mossadegh is but one symbol of one of the numerous forms of nationalism that have sprung up. But that nationalism, whether it be in Iran, Egypt, Indo-China or somewhere else, would not be half so disturbing or important to the rest of the world if it were not for Stalin & Co. It is Stalin’s Reds who give all these nationalist movements their great significance. Few of us in the U.S. are particularly worried about what Mossadegh may do. But we are worried about what Stalin will do, the moment he gets his hands on Iran.
And so it is all around the world. The Korean war is historically significant only that it represents the struggle between Stalin and the United States. The troubles in Egypt, while of much concern to the British, are made important by the fact that Stalin would like to control Egypt. In selecting Mossadegh, Time magazine picked one man who played an interesting but comparatively minor part in shaping world history during 1951. A dozen other men playing similar roles could have been selected. But one man exists who provides the importance and significance to anything they do. That is Stalin. He has been the man of the year for at least the past six years.
Some TIME Readers Were Irate Over Mossadegh’s “Man of the Year“” Distinction (1952)
Trouble and Unrest in the Middle East — The Skaneateles Press, August 8, 1952
Iran to Russia: “Hands Off!” — The Lockport Union-Sun Journal, July 28, 1954
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”