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World Leaders

Joseph Stalin
1879-1953

Joseph Stalin was one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century. Born in Georgia, he joined the Bolsheviks, and after the death of Lenin in 1924 he became leader of the Soviet Union. At the outbreak of the Second World War he signed a pact with Hitler, dividing Poland between them, but after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 Stalin joined the Allies. After the war, Eastern Europe was under his control until his death in 1953.

This cartoon was published during the Berlin Airlift

Nikita Khrushchev
1894-1971

Born in 1894, Khrushchev became First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party after the death of Stalin in 1953. He survived several coups to remain leader of the Soviet Union throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall and the sending of the first man into space. He was ousted in 1964, and died in 1971.

This cartoon shows Khrushchev walking on the Berlin wall with a hydrogen bomb on his head.

Leonid Brezhnev
1906-1982

Brezhnev joined the Soviet Communist Party in 1929, and fought during the Second World War. In 1957, he became a member of the Politburo and took over as First Secretary after Khrushchev was ousted. He was responsible for signing the SALT treaties, reducing the number of nuclear weapons, and remained First Secretary until his death in 1982.

This cartoon refers to the anti-Soviet protests in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and 1969.

Charles de Gaulle
1890-1970

The son of a schoolmaster, de Gaulle joined the army and fought during the First World War. By 1940 he had become a senior officer, and was made Minister of War. After the fall of France, he led the Free French Government from the UK, and upon the liberation of France he became the head of the government from 1945 to 1946. He was appointed Prime Minister in April 1958, and later that year was elected President, a post he held until 1969.

This cartoon refers to De Gaulle's firm stand against communists in France.

Winston Churchill
1874-1965

Winston Churchill served in the army until 1899, when he became a reporter. He was elected to Parliament as a Conservative in 1900 but in 1908 he defected to the Liberals. He held several jobs in the government until 1922, when he lost his seat, then, returning to the Conservatives, he was back in Parliament two years later. In 1940, he was appointed Prime Minister after Chamberlain's resignation, and he led Britain through the Second World War. He lost the election in 1945 to Labour, but then returned as Prime Minister between 1951 and 1955.

This cartoon refers to the 1945 General Election

Clement Attlee
1883-1967

Attlee trained as a barrister but developed an interest in social problems. He then became a lecturer in economics before fighting in the First World War. He became an MP in 1922, and held positions in the Labour governments of 1923-24 and 1929, becoming its leader in 1935. He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1942, and after Labour won the general election in 1945, he became Prime Minister. His government expanded the Welfare State and set up the National Health Service, but experienced economic problems and lost the election in 1951. Attlee resigned as leader in 1955, and served as a member of the House of Lords until his death.

This cartoon refers to the 1945 general election.

Anthony Eden
1897-1977

Anthony Eden served in the army during the First World War, and on leaving the army decided on a political career. He became a Conservative MP in 1923, and held several government posts under Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill. He was appointed Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party in 1945, and became Prime Minister after Churchill retired in 1955. He held that job for less than two years before he resigned because of ill health, brought about by the stresses of the Suez Crisis.

This cartoon refers to a plan to give independence to Cyprus.

Harold Macmillan
1894-1986

After fighting in the First World War, Macmillan became a Conservative MP in 1924. His comparative left wing views were not popular within the party, but he was appointed to the government in 1940. He became Prime Minister after the resignation of Anthony Eden in 1957, and held that post until he retired due to ill health in 1963. He led Britain through a period of economic growth, and became famous for his 'winds of change' speech on Africa, and his slogan 'You've never had it so good' referring to the economy.

In this cartoon Macmillan is portrayed as Earl Kitchener, in the 'Your country needs you' poster of the Great War.

Alec Douglas Home
1903-1995

Earl Home held several jobs in the governments of Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan, before he was appointed Prime Minister after Macmillan resigned in 1963. As he was a hereditary peer, he was forced to renounce his title before he could become elected as a Member of Parliament. The Conservatives lost the 1964 election, and Home resigned as leader in 1965.

This cartoon refers to the 1964 general election.

Harold Wilson
1916-1995

Harold Wilson was elected to Parliament in 1945, and within two years he had been appointed to the government as President of the Board of Trade. He became leader of the Labour Party in 1963 after the death of Gaitskell, and led Labour to victory in the 1964 general election. During his time as Prime Minister he changed the laws on divorce, abortion and homosexuality, and brought an end to capital punishment. Wilson lost the 1970 general election, but was back in Number 10 between 1974 and 1976.

This cartoon shows Harol Wilson celebrating after the publication of a promising opinion poll.

Franklin Roosevelt
1882-1945

A fifth cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or FDR, was elected to the New York State Senate in 1910. He suffered from polio, but recovered and was elected as Governor of New York State in 1928. Roosevelt offered something different to the American electorate during the Great Depression, and was elected as President in 1932. He became famous for the New Deal, a programme that offered social security and help for industry during the hard times. He was re-elected 3 times and at the start of the Second World War, he offered aid to Britain under the Lend-Lease scheme, and joined the allies after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. He died in office, a few weeks before the end of the war in Europe, in 1945.

This cartoon refers to the Democratic Convention in Chicago, where protesters persuaded Roosevelt to run for a third term in office.

Harry Truman
1884-1972

Truman became President of the USA after the death of Roosevelt in 1945. He was responsible for the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and he took a lead role in the establishment of the United Nations. He developed policies similar to those of Roosevelt, the Fair Deal, to regulate the economy, and he was instrumental in designing the aid package to Europe, known as the Marshall Plan. He was re-elected in 1948, and was President at the time of the Berlin Airlift.

This cartoon refers to the Marshall Plan for economic aid to Europe.

Dwight D Eisenhower
1890-1969

Eisenhower, or 'Ike', was elected President of the USA in 1953, after a distinguished career as an army general during the Second World War. He led the USA during some of the most difficult periods in the Cold War, working for a truce in the Korean War. He was re-elected in 1956, and served until 1961, but his second term was marred by race problems at home. He called the National Guard out to escort black children to school in some states.

This cartoon refers to tension in the US-Soviet relationship.

John F Kennedy
1917-1963

After serving in the navy during the Second World War, JFK was elected a senator in 1953. He fought a hard campaign against Nixon to win the US Presidency with a tiny majority in the 1960 election. His aim was to spread American idealism across the world, and he was a strong believer in civil rights at home. He faced Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and encouraged the space programme, but made a miscalculation by allowing Cuban exiles to try to overthrow Castro in a failed mission. He was assassinated at Dallas, Texas, in 1963.

This cartoon refers to the failed Bay of Pigs mission, when Cuban exiles tried to overthrow Castro with the backing of Kennedy, and failed.

Lyndon B Johnson
1908-1973

Lyndon Johnson became American President after the assassination of Kennedy, having served as his vice-president since 1961. Johnson was re-elected in 1964, and proceeded to modernise healthcare and education, and gave priority to economic development in poor areas. The Vietnam War escalated under his leadership, but he began peace negotiations before retiring as President in 1969.

This cartoon refers to the Vietnam War.

Konrad Adenauer
1876-1967

Adenauer was educated as a lawyer, and held the post of Mayor of Cologne until 1933, when he was removed by the Nazis. He was imprisoned twice during the Second World War for his anti-Nazi views, and in 1949 was elected as Chancellor of the new state of West Germany. He worked to raise the status of his country, joining the EEC and NATO. He was re-elected three times, in 1953, 1957, and 1961, and he retired in 1962.

This cartoon refers to relations with East Germany.

Mao Zedong
1893-1976

Mao became leader of China in 1949 after a long civil war which ended in defeat for the government of Chaing Kai-shek, who then retreated to the Island of Formosa. Mao enjoyed a varied relationship with its communist neighbour, the Soviet Union, which became worse towards the end of the 1950s. He modernised China through a series of five-year plans, but his Great Leap Forward was mostly a failure. He presided over the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, and saw improved relations with the USA during the 1970s

This cartoon related to tensions over the border between China and India.