Courtesy Reuters

The Threat of the Soviet Navy

THE essential strategic characteristics of the world's present division between land power and sea power are a familiar picture to historians. One part of the globe is ruled by a great army, capable of marching across continents. The other part is dominated by the sea, and in turn dominates the seas. A famous example is the situation in the third century B.C., when the Republican armies of Rome faced Carthaginian sea power in the Mediterranean. The Romans learned how to build fleets and win battles at sea, and overwhelmed Carthage in three successive wars. There is now very little to remind us that Carthage ever existed.

The Napoleonic wars, which covered a period of more than 20 years, supply another instance. The great armies of the Continent were stopped at the seashore, for the French were never able to gain control of the English Channel for those 24 hours for which Napoleon begged. When the Emperor turned his army away from the Channel coast, he conceded the defeat which took ten years to catch up with him. "Those far distant, storm beaten ships, upon which the Grand Army never looked, stood between it and the dominion of the world."

Twice in these past 50 years the contest has been repeated. In each case, after a long struggle upon both land and sea, the sea Powers won over the land Powers. One aspect of World War II is especially significant. United States submarines of the 7th Fleet, ranging up and down the Asiatic coast, together with those of the Central Pacific Fleet operating near Japan, completely cut off sea traffic between Japan and the East Indies-Malayan area, thereby depriving Japan of essential oil and raw materials. Perhaps even more important was the fact that 2,000,000 armed Japanese on the mainland were isolated. Our problem would have been infinitely greater if those Japanese armies could have reinforced the garrisons on the islands which we had to take en route to the Philippines and Japan. But the

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