World History 1926 Part 1

About the history of the world in 1926, Lebanon gains its independence, Turkey gains new leadership.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1926

* The Sun Also Rises was published. Its author was 27-year-old Ernest Hemmingway.

* British adventurer T. E. Lawrence, 38, privately published The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, an account of his daring exploits on the Arabian Peninsula.

* English author A. A. Milne, 44, wrote Winnie-the-Pooh.

* Author Sinclair Lewis, 41, declined a Pulitzer Prize for his novel Arrowsmith.

* Lebanon, under a French mandate since the Armistice, became an independent republic.

* Turkey underwent radical social change under the leadership of its first president, Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk's rise to virtual dictator of a revitalized Turkey carved from the ruins of the defunct Ottoman Empire had been dramatic. A soldier by training, he joined Enver Pasha's Young Turks (1908), fought Italy in Libya (1911-1912), and served in W. W. I. He refused to recognize the peace terms which the victorious Allies had imposed on the last Ottoman sultan, Mohammed VI, and thus formed his own army and set up a rival Turkish capital at Ankara. By 1923 he was the undisputed ruler of present-day Turkey. One of his first acts was to expel the sultan. He next set out to create a modern all-Turk nation. His chief obstacle, the centuries-old Islamic traditions, became his prime target. In dictatorial fashion, he closed down the mosques, turned out the caliph (the pope of Islam), closed the religious schools which taught subjugation to Allah's will, and replaced Islamic law with Western codes. He also abolished the fez as a useless symbol of the past; violators of the hat law were hanged. No less strictly enforced were his bans on polygamy and books of magic. Although only 1/4 Turk himself (1/4 Macedonian, 1/2 Albanian), the blond blue-eyed ruler restricted most businesses to Turkish enterprise. At first Ataturk tried to act with the advice and consent of the legislature he had created, but parliamentary delays bored him, so he unilaterally adopted the Gregorian calendar and the metric system, disinfected all buildings in Istanbul, demanded physical exams of all marriage applicants, ordered the first census taken in Turkish history, cut annual holidays to three, and transliterated the Arabic script of the Turkish language into the Western alphabet. He even commissioned the writing of a history of the world carefully worded to prove that Turkey had been the source of all civilization. His goal had been to westernize and modernize Turkey by whatever means necessary. This he achieved before his liver gave out to alcohol in 1938.

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