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Dictionary of World Biography
as well as newspapers, telephones, radio and television.
He described television as a ‘cool’ (low definition)
medium aimed at group (or family) viewing, favouring
low intensity subjects or events (e.g. J. F. *Kennedy
not R. M. *Nixon, sports programs not war reportage,
variety not intensity), while ‘hot’ (high definition)
media such as film or radio were better suited for
propaganda aimed at an isolated individual. He
argued that ‘the medium is the message (or massage)’,
i.e. communication environments influence total
response rather than specific program content: literacy
or television availability alters lifestyle more than
individual books or programs.
MacMahon, Marie Edmé Patrice Maurice de
(1808–1893). French marshal. Of Irish descent, he
served in the Crimea, was made a marshal and given
the title Duke of Magenta for his part in the North
Italian campaign (1859), and was Governor-General
of Algeria 1864–70. In the Franco-Prussian War he
commanded the 1st Army Corps and was captured at
Sedan. In 1871 he suppressed the revolt of the Paris
commune. Though a monarchist, he was elected as
President of the Third French Republic in 1873, but
resigned in 1879.
McMahon, Sir William (1908–1988). Australian
Liberal politician. A Sydney solicitor, he was a
member of the Commonwealth Parliament 1949–82,
a minister from 1951,Treasurer 1966–69 and Foreign
Minister 1969–71. He displaced John *Gorton as
Liberal Leader and was Prime Minister 1971–72. He
lacked gravitas and by 1972 he, and the Coalition,
had run out of ideas. His surprisingly narrow defeat
by Gough *Whitlam ended 23 years of Coalition rule.
His reputation for deviousness meant that he had no
defenders, in or out of his Party. He was created CH
in 1972 and GCMG in 1977.
Macmillan, Daniel (1813–1896), and Alexander
(1818–1896). British publishers. Sons of a Scottish
crofter, they made their way to England, had a small
bookshop in Aldersgate St, London, and borrowed
money to buy a larger one in Cambridge (1844).
Among their most successful early publications were
Westward Ho! by Charles *Kingsley and Tom Brown’s
Schooldays by Thomas *Hughes. They set up a London
branch in 1858 and soon based the firm there.
McMillan, Edwin Mattison (1907–1991). American
physicist. He worked at the University of California,
Berkeley, with E. O. *Lawrence, and in 1940
produced the transuranic element Neptunium (Np).
During World War II he worked on radar, sonar and
the ‘Manhattan Project’. He shared the 1951 Nobel
Prize for Physics with Glenn *Seaborg.
Macmillan, (Maurice) Harold, 1st Earl of Stockton
(1894–1986). British Conservative politician, born in
London. A member of the famous publishing family,
he was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford,
and was five times wounded as a Guards officer in
World War I. He returned to publishing in 1920 and
was a Conservative MP 1924–29, 1931–45, 1945–64.
He gained some reputation (even notoriety, with his
colleagues) as an independent minded politician with
sympathy for the unemployed and a supporter of the
interventionist economics of his friend J. M. *Keynes.
He was 46 when *Churchill first appointed him as
an Undersecretary (1940), and his service as Minister
Resident in North Africa 1942–45, based in Algiers,
helped to develop a working relationship with General
Charles de *Gaulle and General Dwight *Eisenhower.
He lost his seat in the 1945 election but soon returned
through a by-election and was active in the Oppositon
front bench. After Churchill’s return to office in 1951
he was an energetic and successful Minister for Housing
1951–54, exceeding a Party promise to increase the
total number of houses built to 300,000 per annum.
Minister of Defence 1954–55, he succeeded Anthony
*Eden as Foreign Secretary April-December 1955
and became Chancellor of the Exchequer 1955–57.
His role in the political crisis over the British-French
invasion of Suez was ambiguous: his rival *Butler said
he was ‘first in and first out’. When Eden resigned after
the Suez adventure failed, complicated by his ill-health
(January 1957), Macmillan was appointed Prime
Minister, serving until October 1963, the longest single
term since *Asquith. He rapidly restored the party
image blurred by the Egyptian adventure and for a
time (marked by his election triumph in 1959) seemed
to have the magic touch that brought prosperity and
success. But as the years went by the administration
seemed to lose momentum and the government’s
popularity began to decline. His important ‘wind of
change’ speech (February 1960) to the South African
Parliament gave strong support for decolonisation
and democratic rule in Africa. Elected as Chancellor
of Oxford University in March 1960, defeating
Oliver *Franks, he served until his death. Macmillan
drastically reconstructed his government in 1962.
In January 1963 de Gaulle’s refusal to admit Britain
to the Common Market, and later the *Profumo affair
were major failures. Macmillan’s future resolved itself
when in October a diagnosis of prostate cancer, wrongly
thought to be inoperable, led to his resignation. He
ensured that *Butler did not succeed and the prime
ministership went unexpectedly to the 13th Earl of
Home (Sir Alec Douglas *Home). Macmillan married
(1920) Lady Dorothy Cavendish (1900–1966),
daughter of the 9th Duke of Devonshire, and the
marriage was deeply unhappy: she loved another MP,
Robert Boothby, and he continued to mourn. His six
volumes of autobiography (1966–73) were surprisingly
dull: Enoch *Powell wrote that reading them was
like ‘chewing on cardboard’. His languid Edwardian
demeanour was deceptive, concealing a conflicted
interior. Like *Churchill, he had an American mother
(from Indiana); with *Attlee he was the only British
prime minister in three centuries wounded in action;
he had the unhappiest prime ministerial marriage
since Lord * Melbourne; and was the best read prime
minister since *Gladstone. Awarded an OM in 1976, he