THE Soviet Union is the "Heartland" of the dreams of geopoliticians -- the land from which the "Superpower" will emerge to rule the world. They assumed that the Heartland could subdue and organize Europe, Asia and the whole of Africa by the use of land power, while nations not directly attacked looked benevolently on. Then it would build a navy for the conquest of the rest of the world.
The Haushofer school of geopoliticians inspired a German attempt at world conquest which was to be accomplished through Germany's alliance with, or conquest of, the Heartland. Soviet Russia did not fall into the trap of such an alliance, which would have made her a German vassal; and the Nazis were unable to conquer her. The Nazi alliances with Italy and Japan, important as they were, were insufficient to produce the desired results, and the German effort ended in catastrophe.
Must we, sooner or later, expect another bid for world hegemony from the Heartland? It is said that if the victorious Powers will not or cannot organize the world for peace on a mutually satisfactory basis, the logic of the situation makes this inevitable. Prophets of gloom point at Russia, and in particular scrutinize every item of news and every rumor having to do with the Red Navy. An effort at unimpassioned analysis of Russian naval policy seems most desirable.
As their songs and their literature suggest, the Russian people were originally a river folk. Rivers were their first highways, and a knowledge of the rôle which rivers have played in their history is necessary for an understanding of how and why the Russians expanded over one-sixth of the land surface of the globe. Descending these rivers or portaging from one river system to another, the Russian people reached the five seas: the White, the Baltic, the Black, the Caspian and the Pacific. The urge to the sea became almost a national fixation. Access to open water meant in Russian eyes national
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