If Turkey’s war hero and President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, having defeated ANZAC and Greek-British armies, had not died in 1938, a year before WW2 broke out, would Turkey have entered the war supporting Hitler and would it have changed the outcome of the WW2?
- “The current state of the world does not look bright at all. Every country strives to raise its youth with a different ideology. Italy clings to its fascist ideology. Mussolini, the dictator of this country, keeps shouting that he lives on the bayonets of eight million fascist youth. By dressing its youth in blackshirts, Mussolini is trying to instill in these conditioned youth to re-establish the Roman Empire, which has already sunk into history.
The Nazism that Hitler is creating in Germany is another great and dangerous analog of fascism. Hitler is a racist. Please note, I am not saying ‘nationalist’, but ‘racist’. He is a madman who sees the Germans as the supreme race. While trying to drag all German youth after him, he instilled this ideal in them… Let me just add that neither fascism nor Nazism has an end. Maybe I won’t live to see this… But the end of fascism is war, it has to lose at the front. And I see no possibility for either fascism or Nazism to survive at the end of this war.”
(Sabiha Gökçen, Atatürk’ün İzinde Bir Ömür Böyle Geçti, 1937 Memories, p.155)
- “Unless a nation’s life faces peril, war is murder.”
(Adana Çifçileriyle Konuşma, March 16, 1923)
- “Atatürk had come to Istanbul for the treatment of his teeth; he would rest during the treatment at Dolmabahçe Palace and would not accept any visit. However, on the morning of December 3, after lunch, he left the palace and took the way to Taksim to watch the movie All Quiet on the Western Front, prepared for him by Beyoğlu Cinema.
At the end of the movie, the leading soldier is killed by a stray bullet, but the incident is recorded in the daily report as ‘All quiet on the western front’. Just at this moment, my father (Cemal Işıksel) pressed the shutter button when he saw that Atatürk’s eyes brimmed with tears and his face became as if he was reliving the horrors of war.
When the film was over, Atatürk turned to Şükrü Kaya, the Director of Internal Affairs, and stated that the film was the most realistic document about the war and that it can be ‘inconvenient for the Turkish people who had just come out of the bloody war’.”
(Deniz Işıksel, Atatürk’ü Yaşayanlar, 1930 Memories, p.85)
Atatürk had already predicted that World War II would break out and that fascism would have to lose at the front. He was also conscious enough to even consider the psychology of the people who had been fighting for many years and was determined to spend Anatolia’s resources on reforms and industrialization. Therefore, if he had been alive in World War II, he would have taken political steps against a leader he called a “fascist madman”, but he would probably not have been involved in the war.
His life was spent at the front, witnessing the real brutality of war with his own eyes, not with video games. and that’s why he said:
Peace at home, peace in the world!