Time Magazine Gets Serious Again
A first runner-up was Gen. David Petraeus, leader of
the "surge" in Iraq that staved off what appeared
a U.S. defeat and debacle, and helped revive the Bush
presidency. Indeed, the antiwar Congress was arguably
the greatest disappointment and biggest loser of 2007.
After its absurd choice last year of "You" as
Person of the Year, Time seems to have returned
to a tradition begun in 1927, when the
first Man of the Year was Charles Lindbergh, the
young American who was first to fly the Atlantic alone.
In those years, when Time was required reading
for serious men and women, the magazine chronicled, with
its annual Man of the Year selection, the seriousness of
In 1932 the choice was FDR, who had just swept to
power in the
Great Depression. Two years later, as the New Deal
was underway, FDR gained seats in both houses and was
again Man of the Year.
Italy`s invasion brought League of Nations sanctions
that enraged Mussolini, shattered the
Stresa Front against Nazi Germany, and pushed Il
Duce into the arms of Hitler.
In 1936 the
Person of the Year was the twice-divorced Mrs.
Wallis Warfield Simpson, the future Duchess of Windsor
whose affair with and marriage to King Edward VIII
forced his abdication. George VI, father of Elizabeth,
took the throne.
That was the year Hitler moved his army back into the
demilitarized Rhineland, and hosted the Olympic Games.
In 1937, the Man of the Year was China`s
Chiang Kai-shek, whose nation was the
Japanese aggression in a war that would last eight
years and be remembered forever for the Rape of Nanking
on Dec. 13, 1937, just before the Time issue came
In 1938, Time declined to give the honor to
Neville Chamberlain, who had won the plaudits of the
world for Munich, but saw clearly the
Man of the Year was Hitler. On March 9, Hitler had
sent his army into Austria to effect an Anschluss. On
Sept. 30 he had bullied Britain and France into
informing the Czechs they must give up the Sudetenland
to ensure the peace of Europe. Hitler had added 10
million Germans to the Reich without firing a shot.
The 1939 Man of the Year was Stalin. His
achievements? The Hitler-Stalin Pact and playing the
jackal to Hitler in the rape of Poland, which
communists everywhere applauded as they condemned
Britain and France for declaring war.
In 1940, Churchill was Man of the Year for the
victory in the Battle of Britain — after the debacle in
Norway, for which Churchill had been responsible, the
fall of France and the evacuation of Dunkirk.
Hitler might well have been chosen a second time that
year, for from April through June, he occupied Denmark,
Norway, Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium and France, an
accomplishment the Kaiser could not achieve in four
years of war from 1914-1918. Stalin matched Hitler,
crushing Finland and seizing Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
and a lost slice of Rumania. All had been ceded to him
in his devil`s pact with Hitler.
In 1941, the Man of the Year was, again, FDR.
Understandably Time may have been reluctant to
name Admiral Yamamoto or Gen. Tojo or Emperor Hirohito,
though Japan was on a triumphant rampage in Asia and
across the south Pacific after Pearl Harbor.
Stalin, now our heroic ally, was the choice in 1942;
Gen. George Marshall in 1943; Gen. Eisenhower in the
year of Normandy, 1944; Harry Truman in 1945. That year
Harry became president on FDR`s death in April, presided
over the May surrender of Nazi Germany, met Stalin at
Potsdam in July, and dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki to end the war in the Pacific in August.
For decades Time maintained the tradition,
but, in recent years, appears to have lost its gravitas
in a search for sales, an unwillingness to antagonize,
and a casting about to catch the trend of the moment.
Will history really record that Peter Uebberoth, who
ran the Los Angeles Olympic Games, where Russia was a
no-show, was Man of the Year 1984; or Endangered Earth
was Person of the Year in 1988; or Dr. David Ho in 1996;
or Andy Grove in 1997; or Jeff Bezos in 1999? In 2001,
Time went with Rudy, a safe choice, rather than
Osama bin Laden or George Bush, who had rallied the
nation and taken down the Taliban.
In 2002 it was "The Whistleblowers"; in 2005,
Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono; and last year,
could not bring itself to name Iran`s Ahmadinejad as
Man of the Year. Too much heat.
As America is headed into serious times, perhaps
Time, too, is getting serious again.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
to VDARE.COM readers; his book
State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America,
can be ordered from Amazon.com. His new book