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The other three Men of the Year candidates on a par with Stanley Baldwin would be Franklin Roosevelt, Benito Mussolini and Chiang Kaishek. But for all their greatnesses of achievement in 1936, a historian on the moon at the end of the current century could scarcely single out any of these as having put his mark supremely and uniquely on 1936.
Mr. Roosevelt's second electoral landslide, while the greatest in modern U. S. history, was made against weak opposition and, by its very magnitude, showed him to belong to the decade, perhaps to the century, not just to one more year. Moreover, political landslides however great are not compassed in the U. S. by just one personality and to re-elect Franklin Roosevelt because the U. S. electorate did would be a gross injustice to his prophet and political teammate, James Aloysius Farley.
Mr. Baldwin's historic triumph at home came only after he had earned from History some pretty low marks for 1936 in statesmanship abroad, notably his weak and clumsy handling of Mussolini. As for that Dictator in 1936, against odds which the greatest European military experts called "insurmountable" for a country so comparatively not strong as Italy, he carved out for himself an Empire in Africa. He gambled on the weakness of the League of Nations and on Britain being unable to make a success of Sanctions. Finally, he gambled that the military experts were wrong. In all three gambles II Duce won, but Ethiopia is not a prize so rich that because he won it history must call him Caesar.
In Eastern Asia, ten years of butchering Communists and belaboring local satraps into submission were climaxed in 1936 by Premier & Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek when his China, for the first time, stopped yielding to Japan's more impossible demands and adopted a policy which could be called "strong" (TIME, Nov. 9). Premier Chiang might well have been Man of the Year had he not, at the zenith of his prestige, been suddenly kidnapped (see p. 18).
In 1936 the other Asiatic dictator, Joseph Stalin, gave to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics "the world's most democratic constitution"—except that it is the very reverse of that, a windy mockery which leaves the Stalin Dictatorship unimpaired. In France the year brought the first Cabinet headed by a Socialist that country has ever had, but Premier Leon Blum and his "New Deal" have brought a series of nationwide strikes and political headaches. Adolf Hitler in 1936 tore up the last shreds of the Treaty of Versailles, but Der Führer has yet to grapple with an external foe, and his "victories" to date have nearly all been in Germany's backyard. Insane though the international butchery in Spain became during 1936, and even though it may end in another World War, no masterful Man of the Year had emerged from Spain. Things there were just about as Punch brilliantly sketched them in terms of Europe's Strong Men (see cut).