Victor Reginald Martin (March 16, 1870-July 23, 1947) was the first President of Georgeland. A businessman and philanthropist, Martin was elected President in 1929 on a platform of national unity. He was re-elected in 1933 and 1937. Serving 12 years, Martin is Georgeland's longest-serving President. Martin's residence in Topstad, Martin Hall, was donated to serve as the official residence of the President.
|Position||1st President of Georgeland|
|Term in office||July 1, 1929 - July 1, 1941|
|Succeeded by||John Grundy|
|Total time in office||12 years|
|Born||March 16, 1870|
|Died||July 23, 1947|
|Spouse||Isobel Martin (married 1904)|
Born in 1870 near Calcutta, India, Martin was the youngest of seven children. His father, Sir Edward Martin, was a member of the colonial, or Raj government in India. In 1862 the family had been relocated to India, and Martin was born while his father had returned temporarily to England on an official occasion. While Martin's father was in England, he contracted typhoid, and died. Martin never met his father. Upon Sir Edward's death, Lady Martin (Amelia Martin) returned to England herself, bringing her children along.
In 1880, Martin entered public school (the British name for a private school), and entered Cambridge in 1890. He read philosophy and theology. In 1896, Martin relocated to Georgeland to take up a position with the newly-established Georgeland government, but in 1898 he left to enter the property market.
Martin made a substantial fortune as a property developer from 1900, and by 1910 he had become one of the country's premier businessmen. He continued to make money through investment. Martin was an admirer of innovation and invention, and from 1905 he is known to have financed dozens of projects designed to improve the quality of life, including medical research, scientific studies and even amateur inventors. Martin became known as a philanthropist and humanitarian. He used his fortune to provide food and shelter to the poorer members of the community.
In 1916, Martin was appointed as Chairman of Hobson's Bank, and in 1923 bought the company outright using his investments. Martin is estimated to have held a personal fortune of roughly £30 million (approx $US 2 billion in today's terms) around this time. He was an acknowledged financial genius, despite having almost no economic background.
In 1928, Martin supported the referendum to establish Georgeland as a republic. Though he was British-born and a devout Anglican, Martin believed, and said, that a change to a Republic would help establish Georgeland as "its own nation with its own people". When the referendum succeeded, Martin announced that he would seek to become its first President.
The Georgeland presidential election, 1929 was conducted in a very low-key way, and Martin campaigned using his own money. He offered no policies, instead pledging to work with the elected government and to "help the downtrodden wherever I may". Martin was elected by a landslide, defeating his only serious challenger, Joseph Abbott, by 65% to 32%.
Martin was a popular and uncontraversial President. His first term, however, saw the Stockmarket Crash and the start of the Great Depression, which began only a few months after he entered office. Due to his large personal wealth, Martin provided direct financial assistance to those most affected by the depression. This only increased his popularity, and in 1933 he was re-elected unopposed. His popularity remained high throughout his term of office. In 1937 he was re-elected for a third term, again defeating Abbott.
In 1939, with the outbreak of the war in Europe, Martin broke with his previous history of silence on political issues and publicly called for neutrality in the war. Martin, in a speech broadcast live on radio, declared that the "Conflict is one of warmongers and not of statesmen. There is no war worth fighting." This action earned him some criticism and he was unable to make several public appearances due to pro-British protests. However, the government at the time, led by Fenton Thomas, did indeed declare neutrality, and did not declare war on Germany until after Pearl Harbour in 1941.
In 1940, now seventy years old, Martin declared he would not seek a fourth term and stood aside at the Georgeland Presidential election, 1941, endorsing no candidate. Martin continued his charitable works after he left office.
Death and Legacy
Martin died in 1947 of lung cancer (he had smoked up to 20 cigars a day during his presidency). He was the first Georgelander to recieve a state funeral.
Martin's primary contribution to Georgeland's culture was his donation of Martin Hall, the official residence of Georgeland's President, to the government for use by all future Presidents.
Martin has been remembered in Georgeland as a great philanthopist and statesman who provided much-needed national unity during a difficult period in Georgeland's history. However, his reputation has been subjected to scrutiny in recent years. In 2002, historian David Croft published The Secret Life of Victor Martin, in which he alleged Martin was a patron of brothels and may have been addicted to morphine. Other historians have highlighted a number of anti-semetic comments made by Martin during his lifetime, and his statements in 1933 which seemed to be in support of Adolf Hitler. Some have suggested Martin's views on the European war may have been related to his admiration of Hitler, though in his lifetime he always vigorously denied this.
Victor Martin Avenue in Topstad is named for Martin, as is The Martin Trust, a philanthropic organisation. The United Islands Navy has operated several ships bearing Martin's name. Topstad's airport is formally designated Victor Martin Airport.
In 2005, a GTV poll to find the 20 Greatest Georgelanders listed Martin as #1.
- To overcome adversity. To pull out of the gutter and stand proud. To shout "you will not keep me down!" These are the goals of all men worthy to call themselves men. - campaign speech, 1933
- We must never forget the words of Sherman, who said 'war is hell'. All men, from Sherman to Our Lord Himself, cry that war is for savages and not for civilised man. Conflict is the refuge of warmongers and agitators, not of statesmen. There is no war worth fighting. - Radio address, September 1939
- The Presidency isn't worth a damn thing unless the man in the chair is not a damn fool. - attributed to Martin, allegedly about John Grundy, whom he was said to dislike.
|President of Georgeland|
July 1, 1929-July 1, 1941