The Atlantic Area

FOR three centuries Americans have been accustomed to think of their world in continental terms. The land mass of the Western Hemisphere was the New World. Expansion meant moving west and settling land. Political and military control, in so far as it played a rôle in shaping national policy, was limited mainly to land control. The Monroe Doctrine was concerned with continents, not oceans. We wanted European nations to leave us alone, and to leave other parts of the Western Hemisphere alone. We favored freedom of the seas, but we were not interested in ruling the waves; and we did not often stop to notice how much we relied on the naval power of the country which did "rule" the waves to keep them open to our commerce.

This three-hundred-year period in American life has come to an end. It has been terminated by the juxtaposition of several historic events. The land has for the most part been settled. Communications by air and by sea have been revolutionized. And at the very moment when the economic, political and strategic consequences of these developments were becoming apparent, a militaristic Power, through its conquest of the entire European Continent, moved into position to put the Western World into a strait jacket, unless opposed by the full resources of the United States. The combination of these circumstances radically alters the position of the United States and requires a fundamental reëxamination of its world outlook and policy.

The purpose of the adjoining map is to indicate some of the factors to be taken into account when we plan our national policy, under these new circumstances, now and in the years ahead. The focus is no longer on land masses but on air and sea communications. The ocean has ceased to be a barrier and has become a highway for enemy attack. Our coastline is no longer the line of American defense. To paraphrase Nelson, our sea and air frontiers have become the shore-lines

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