On 10 May 1940 the greatest concentration of tanks yet seen in war was massed in Germany opposite the frontier of Luxembourg. It was so huge that if it had been lined up on a single road it would have stretched all the way to East Prussia on the Baltic. Its mission was to accomplish something that many military experts firmly believed was impossible—to traverse quickly the wooded, hilly terrain of the Ardennes to Sedan, seventy miles away, and then to fan out on the rolling plains of northern France. On the success of this daring venture hung the outcome of Hitler’s invasion of the West.
The entire plan was based on the assumption that the French High Command considered the Ardennes impassable for a large military force, let alone for a massive tank operation. The Germans knew that if the French leaders ever came to believe that such an operation was likely, they could easily defeat it by assigning a moderate portion of their strength to this area of the border.
The German assumption was correct. The French High Command did not think it was possible and acted accordingly. Only four weak reserve divisions consisting of older men and poor equipment were assigned to this sector. The Germans quickly brushed aside this weak opposition, traversed the Ardennes, and emerged on the banks of the Meuse early on the fourth day. From there they broke out into open country and fanned out behind the main French forces. The defeat of France became only a matter of days.
We know now that the basic weakness of the French Army in 1940 was not its size, or even the quality of its equipment, but rather the outdated ideas held by the French High Command. They thought in terms of the slow-motion methods of World War I. They fell prey to their memories of the past. They rejected any strategy which was not in consonance with their preconceived ideas.
History is replete with dramatic examples such as this of the danger of acting upon preconceived ideas which are not in accord with the facts of the situation. One of the peculiar characteristics of man is that he often misses the obvious because his thoughts and attention are directed another way by the images he holds in his mind. This has been one of the greatest factors within human control which has caused the decline of nations.
Turning our attention to the present international situation, we find that of all the elements of national power which the Kremlin possesses the least understood by Americans is Soviet sea power. Yet, in the next three decades, this sea power may prove to be the prime instrument in furthering Soviet designs for expansion. If, at first glance, this statement seems absurd, it is because of the fixed image we carry that the USSR is a land power and can never be anything else.
We subconsciously think of the Russian as a “land animal” and of the U.S.S.R. as a land power. We overlook the fact that the drive to the sea and beyond has been a basic urge of Russian governments since the time of Peter the Great. We forget that Russia, like many of the other European powers, has had overseas territories, one of them being the region which is now our 49th state. We fail to recall that Russian colonial claims on the northwest coast of America and a Russian settlement just north of San Francisco were among the immediate causes for the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine. We lose sight of the fact that four times in this century the Russian government has deliberately concentrated on constructing a huge navy. Three of these programs were prematurely halted by war—in 1905, 1914, and 1941. The fourth program is the most ambitious of all. Hence, the preconceived idea that the U.S.S.R. is basically a land power is a very misleading half-truth.
In modern times there have been numerous discussions of the relative merits of land power versus sea power. The British geographer Mackinder, for example, built an elaborate argument for his heartland theory that an overwhelming land power based in the interior of the Eurasian land mass could dominate the world. Others, like Mahan, demonstrated with equal vigor the central role that sea power has played in the course of history.
Too many people in the present-day world have attempted to apply these arguments to the current struggle between the Soviet Bloc and the Western World as though the contest were essentially one between a gigantic land power (the U.S.S.R.) and a great sea power (the United States). Actually, the fear that haunted both Mackinder and Mahan in their later writings was that a single country with expansionist ambitions might someday become both a great land power and a great sea power and thereby extend its rule over the entire globe. Mackinder was deeply concerned that a single predatory power might establish unchallenged control over the whole of the World Island (the Eurasian land mass) and then build up great sea power. In such a situation the Americas would be only a lesser island, inferior in population, inferior in resources, inferior in all the elements of national strength.
Both Mackinder and Mahan were especially fearful that Germany might someday achieve this position. After 1871 she had clearly become the dominant land power on the European Continent. The Navy Bill of 1898 started Germany on the road to becoming a great sea power as well and set off a shipbuilding race between Germany and England. There is strong evidence to support the view that if World War I had not commenced when it did, the German Navy would have soon outstripped the British Navy. Dominance on land would then have been joined by dominance on the sea, and the rest of the world would have been in mortal peril.
In the past it has been extremely difficult for any one nation to become both a dominant land power and a great sea power because of the tremendous wealth in men and resources that would be required. It is not always understood that the British use of the balance-of-power concept in the 18th and 19th Centuries was based on this fact. As employed by Britain, the balance-of-power policy was not a means for dividing continental Europe into two equal camps, nor did it have an altruistic aim such as supporting the weak against the strong. The basic purpose of the balance-of-power policy as employed by Britain was to force her continental rivals to maintain such large land forces that they could not at the same time afford to maintain a navy which threatened Britain and her Empire. The Duke of Newcastle expressed this concept very succinctly when he said: “France will outdo us at sea when she has nothing to fear by land.”
Today we are faced with a rival that does possess the resources and determination to become a great sea power as well as a dominant land power. Herein lies our greatest danger for the future. It is precisely because the U.S.S.R. is the greatest land power on the Eurasian continent that her rapidly growing sea power presents such a grave menace. If the Soviets ever achieve dominance on both land and sea, the ultimate victory of Communism will be only a matter of time.
We make a great mistake when we try to analyze Soviet sea power as a separate entity divorced from all the other instruments of power. We can be sure that the men in the Kremlin do not view it that way. They assess its significance in relation to the other instruments of power at their command, that is, in relation to their army, their air force, their scientific capabilities, their propaganda organs, their diplomatic maneuvers, and their subversive activities.
Moreover, we can safely assume that the men in the Kremlin assess the importance of sea power in the light of their objectives and the strategy they are employing in the pursuit of those objectives. Therefore, if we would understand the role that Soviet sea power is likely to play in the years to come, we must examine it the same way. It should be obvious to any thinking person that Soviet objectives and strategy are not the same as those of any other country. Hence, the role of sea power in the attainment of those objectives cannot be the same.
The long-range Soviet objective is world domination. We have heard that statement so often that our minds have become dulled to its strategic implications. World domination can only be achieved through a marriage of sea power with land power.
In the pursuit of their objective of world domination, the Soviets have developed a particular kind of strategy, one that is uniquely their own. Because there have been so many popular misconceptions as to the nature of this strategy, perhaps it might be easier to assess it if we first discuss what it is not.
Soviet strategy does not envisage conquering the world in one dramatic blow. If it did, it would be reflected in the composition of their military forces. The Soviets are not concentrating on a single weapon or on a single type of warfare. The evidence mounts that Soviet leaders are not interested in precipitating a thermonuclear war that would result in the devastation of their homeland, however much destruction they, in turn, were able to inflict abroad. The Soviets are acutely aware of the fact that dead men not only tell no tales; they also build no Communist worlds.
Strictly speaking, Soviet strategy is also not one of “limited war,” at least not in the classical sense in which that term has been used to describe warfare in the 18th and 19th centuries. True, there have been instances such as the invasion of Finland in 1939 when the Kremlin has launched its own armies across an international border in an attack of a limited nature for limited objectives. These instances, however, have been the exception rather than the rule.
Basically, Soviet strategy is one of divide and conquer. It is one of fragmenting the non-Communist world. It is one of selecting particular target countries, pushing what is already falling, and capturing revolutionary movements started by others.
In this connection it is important to note that every one of the wars in which the Communists have been involved since the end of World War II has been an externally-supported civil war. In 1945-46 there was the attempt to seize Azerbaijan in northern Iran by a combination of native revolt and Red Army occupation. In 1947 there was the attempt to capture Greece by a combination of civil war and outside Communist intervention. In 1948 there was the take-over in Czechoslovakia, through intrigue from within and Red Army pressure from without. In 1949 there was the triumph in China which was the biggest civil war of all. In 1950 the Korean War was initiated, again disguised as a war between two segments of the indigenous population. In 1954 northern Indochina was secured, after seven years of civil war. Guatemala, Malaya, and Laos have all been represented as beset by civil wars.
It is readily apparent that this kind of strategy requires a rare combination of all the elements of national power—military, diplomatic, economic, and subversive. It is also evident that this type of strategy assigns a peculiar role to sea power.
It was Mahan who taught us that the term “sea power” did not mean simply navies alone. It means the sum total of all the factors which enable a nation to utilize the sea in the pursuit of its objectives. Thus, it includes naval and merchant ships, seaports and bases, overseas trade, and an interest in the sea on the part of the government and the people.
The Soviets are adding some new dimensions to the term “sea power.” To them it means all of the above, plus the instrument which vastly increases their opportunities for applying all of the other elements of national power. To them it is the means of widening their freedom of strategic maneuver. To them it is a means by which revolutions can be supported in various parts of the world. To them it is the device by which Communist power can leapfrog across Africa to the Atlantic, across the Middle East to the Indian Ocean, across Southeast Asia to the Straits of Malacca. In short, to them it is the vehicle for breaking out of the Heartland and fragmenting the non-Communist world.
The importance of sea power to the Soviets in their drive for world domination can best be illustrated if we assess its role in relation to the short-term objectives the Kremlin is currently pursuing. Henry Ford once said that nothing is particularly difficult if you divide it into small jobs. The Kremlin is operating on this thesis in its drive for world domination. Although its ultimate political aims are essentially unlimited, it seeks to achieve these aims through interim goals.
At present, the Soviets are pursuing four major interim goals. These are: (1) to break out of the “capitalist encirclement”; (2) to fragment the U. S. system of alliances; (3) to capture revolutionary movements around the world; and (4) to achieve clear-cut military superiority over the West. In each of these efforts sea power will play a vital role.
The first objective, that of breaking out of the “capitalist encirclement,” has been an obsession of Soviet leaders from the days of the revolution. This desire has grown in intensity down through the years until today it is stronger than ever. Like paranoiacs who make their own worst fears come true, the Soviets have pursued a foreign policy which has in fact led to a chain of Western-oriented allies along much of the periphery of the U.S.S.R. One of the great facts of the present world is that the Kremlin is determined to break out of this barrier.
Because we subconsciously cling to the view that the Soviet Union is basically a land power, we have blithely assumed that the future pattern of Soviet aggression would be a series of probing actions at various points along the present borders of Communist territory. We may well see some of this in the years to come. The Kremlin appears to be well aware, however, that piecemeal aggression along the Communist periphery is very likely to lead to general war. A push into Germany or Italy or Turkey or Iran or South Korea would entail such strong likelihood of precipitating thermonuclear war that it would not be worth the risk.
When we survey the situation in overseas areas, however, the picture becomes quite different. In many of these areas the opportunities for a Communist take-over are far greater, and the risk of general war infinitely less, than in countries along the Communist periphery. The economic and political situation in many of these areas is ripe for Communist exploitation.
Here then is where sea power fits into Soviet designs for breaking out of the “capitalist encirclement.” A judicious use of sea power can enable the Soviets to leapfrog over the chain of allies we have constructed along the Communist periphery. It can provide the Soviets the means of finding new flanks outside the present range of deadlock.
This does not mean that the Soviets are likely to dispatch a naval task force to some overseas country and attempt an amphibious landing. They do not possess that kind of sea power. It means rather that the Soviets will utilize their growing merchant fleet and that of their satellites as the vehicle for introducing arms, and, in some cases, “volunteers,” into key areas.
The Kremlin initiated this tactic in 1954 when it sent a shipment of Czech arms to the pro-Communist government of Guatemala. This shipment, consisting of nearly 2,000 tons of military equipment, upset the power balance in Central America in that it gave Guatemala superiority over her neighbor countries. Only the quickest kind of response by the United States and the pro-Western forces in Central America prevented the establishment of a Communist beachhead in that vital area.
The Soviets employed this tactic again in 1955, shortly after President Eisenhower met with Khrushchev at Geneva. They shattered the “spirit of Geneva” by making an arms deal with Egypt, thereby upsetting the entire balance of power among the Middle East countries. Because these shipments were made to a country occupying a highly strategic geographic position, they caused a searching reappraisal of Western policy in the entire area. Worse still, they set off a chain of events which ultimately led to the Suez Crisis of 1956.
Since that time the Kremlin has extended over a billion dollars in military assistance to countries outside the Iron Curtain. Some of this has gone to neighboring states, such as Austria and Afghanistan. Most of it, however, has gone to non-contiguous countries, such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Indonesia, Algeria, and Guinea. There have also been reports of Communist offers to provide arms to Tunisia, Burma, Ethiopia, and some of the Latin American countries.
For the Kremlin, the export of arms is a relatively inexpensive means of penetration. The continuous re-equipping of the Soviet armed forces with new weapons results in tremendous quantities of arms which are still in good physical condition but which would be considered obsolete in a war between the major powers. Moreover, with the provision of arms, the Soviets can also provide instruction to personnel in the countries receiving the assistance. Some of these people are even trained behind the Iron Curtain. This gives the Kremlin an excellent opportunity to influence the political orientation of men who will soon be obtaining command assignments in the countries receiving Communist aid.
The Soviet program of providing military assistance to the newly-created states presents the United States with a grave dilemma. The last thing our leaders want is a series of arms races in the backward areas of the world. Yet, this is exactly what is likely to happen. If one backward country receives arms from the U.S.S.R., it upsets the entire balance of power in its area of the world. Its neighbors become gravely concerned over their own safety and request military assistance from the United States. The United States is then placed in the position of attempting to put out the fire by pumping gasoline through the fire hose.
Further, the sale or barter of Soviet arms to backward countries has an adverse effect on their economies. These countries are operating so close to the subsistence level that any military effort above that required for internal policing will seriously delay the country’s economic development. Thus, the arms shipments contribute to social and economic unrest.
In the years that lie ahead we can expect the Soviets increasingly to employ Communist merchant ships to carry arms to selected countries overseas. The Kremlin will count on the legal-mindedness of the West to permit these shipments to go through until the situation actually explodes in a given area. Unless and until the West adopts a new definition for the term “contraband,” the Communist merchant fleet will be able to sail freely around the world stirring up trouble and opening new fronts in the cold war. Thus, the humble merchant ship will become the instrument for breaking out of the Heartland and establishing Communist footholds in overseas areas.
The second Soviet short-range objective is to fragment the U. S. system of alliances, particularly NATO. Throughout the postwar period the Kremlin has been persistently and rabidly hostile to our alliances, and with good reason. The very essence of the strategy of “divide and conquer” is to pick off the target nations one by one. This, of course, cannot be done as long as the target countries are firmly wedded to a policy which states that an attack against one is to be considered an attack against all.
The basic weakness in all alliances is that there is no single decision-making authority; policy is formulated by as many governing bodies as the coalition has members. Because governments govern for nations and not for coalitions, there is always a strong centrifugal force tending to pull the alliance apart. As long as the member governments are willing to assign top priority to the cohesiveness of the alliance, this centrifugal force will be held in check. But, let internal problems occur within member governments, or let serious tensions arise among member governments, and the centrifugal force begins to operate again. We saw this happen during the Cyprus dispute when relations between Greece and Turkey deteriorated so rapidly.
Added to the above considerations is the fact that our present system of alliances is much more than a military structure. Many of the key problems facing NATO, for example, are more in the political and economic fields than in the purely military field. This fact makes it doubly difficult to reach effective decisions. Political and economic problems are generally more nebulous than military problems and are almost always charged with more emotion. It is no easy task to co-ordinate the foreign policies of the fifteen countries comprising NATO.
Traditionally, the cement which holds an alliance together is a clearly recognized danger. In the minds of most people, the greatest danger in the world today would be a war in Europe because such a war would almost certainly result in a thermonuclear holocaust. The result of this feeling is that there is a diplomatic “immobilism” in Europe. The lines are tightly drawn. There is no give and take. There is no room for strategic maneuver.
The Kremlin knows that it cannot use its ground forces, or even those of its satellites, in Europe to fragment NATO without precipitating an all-out war. Rightly or wrongly, most people feel that a direct clash between Soviet and NATO ground forces would quickly spiral into general war. It is widely believed
that there can be serious incidents involving Soviet and Western aircraft, or Soviet and Western ships, without triggering a thermonuclear exchange, but any skirmish in which Soviet and Western ground forces begin shooting at each other would lead to the “real thing.” Future developments may prove this belief to be erroneous, but in the meantime this feeling exerts a strong influence on plans and decisions on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
The net effect of this situation is that there is virtually nothing the Soviets can do with their ground forces in Europe which will tend to divide NATO. In fact, any increase in the threat posed by the Red Army or by one of its satellites will merely drive the NATO countries closer together.
In the overseas areas, however, it is another story. Here there is much less likelihood that a local incident or an externally-supported revolt would lead to all-out war. Moreover, it is in these areas—Asia, the Middle East, and Africa—that the countries comprising NATO have divergent interests. Cyprus, Suez, and Algeria remind us that there are numerous trouble spots in the world which the Communists can exploit to divide the NATO countries.
In view of these considerations, we may expect to see the Kremlin continue to use Communist merchant ships as instruments for sowing seeds of discontent in overseas areas. Sometimes these ships will be carrying arms to selected countries, as in the case of Egypt and Guinea. Sometimes they will be carrying goods and personnel involved in economic penetration, as in the case of Yemen. Sometimes they will be used to transport “volunteers,” as in the case of the armed Kurdish tribesmen sent to Iraq. These activities will not only tend to expand Communist influence, they will drain the military resources of the European colonial powers and precipitate political disturbances within and among the NATO countries.
The third Soviet interim objective is to capture revolutionary movements around the world. Two World Wars have set loose on the earth powerful political and economic forces which are bound to cause profound changes before their energy is spent. Historic institutions have swayed and fallen under the impact of these forces. Country after country has changed its form of government. In many places nationalism and anti-colonialism have attained almost irresistible momentum. Everywhere there has been a sharp rise in the economic expectations of the people.
The Soviets hope to ride to power on the crest of the revolutionary wave. They intend to capture revolutionary movements started by others and redirect them to their own ends. This is what they did in their own country in 1917. This is what they plan to do all over the world.
It should be readily apparent that a strategy of this type requires a vehicle which will permit the Kremlin to support aggression against social and political institutions in non-contiguous areas without physically violating international boundaries and thereby triggering open war. For the Kremlin this vehicle is ocean shipping. Without the use of the sea-lanes, the overseas Communist movements would never be able to flourish.
Often when we study revolutionary movements in selected countries we overlook the external logistic support that must be provided such movements to give them a chance of success. It is true that those who conduct terrorist activities, large-scale riots, guerrilla actions, and civil wars receive a great deal of their material substance from the local area itself. Seldom, however, do they live off the land completely. Almost always they receive supplies from some outside area.
As long as the Soviets were fomenting revolts in countries along their periphery they could rely on overland routes to provide logistic support to their puppets. Now that the Soviets are increasingly turning their attention to non-contiguous areas, they must rely on ocean shipping to support their overt and covert operations. They learned their lesson in Greece that an internal revolt in a non-contiguous area cannot succeed on indigenous resources alone. Once Yugoslavia broke with Moscow, the Greek Civil War soon collapsed because overland supplies were cut off, and, at that time, the Soviets were not employing their merchant shipping to support Communist movements abroad.
There is also another important reason why the Kremlin must provide logistic support to revolutionary movements abroad. Even if a given revolt could achieve success solely on the basis of indigenous resources, it would not be desirable from the Soviet point of view. The provision of logistic support serves as an instrument of control over such movements. The Kremlin learned in the case of Yugoslavia that a revolutionary movement which can succeed on the basis of local resources alone is not likely to remain subservient to Moscow. This would be particularly true of revolts in overseas areas possessing no common border with the Communist homeland.
Thus we see once again that Communist sea power plays a key role in Soviet plans for expansion. In order to exploit revolutionary movements abroad and establish viable Communist regimes, it is absolutely essential that logistic support be provided them and that this support move by sea.
The fourth Soviet objective is to achieve clear-cut military superiority over the West. From our point of view, this is the most dangerous of all Communist goals. It was Clausewitz who said that “all military science becomes a matter of simple prudence, its principal object being to keep an unstable balance from shifting suddenly to our disadvantage.” If the U.S.S.R. can achieve overall military superiority over the West, the balance of political power in the world will shift rapidly to the Communist side.
Soviet leaders have deliberately kept their civilian economy in the “bicycle stage” of development in order to concentrate on those industries which support their military power. They have sacrificed the standard of living of two generations of Russian people in order to build up their armed might. The widely publicized increase in consumer goods since Khrushchev’s return from the United States has not altered this basic pattern. A few more sewing machines, cameras, and watches in the stores and the recent inauguration of installment buying on a limited scale should not be interpreted as a fundamental change in policy. If we convert Soviet prices into U. S. terms, the Russian worker still has to pay $61 for a pair of shoes, $40 for a lady’s nylon blouse, $235 for a man’s suit, and 54 cents for a loaf of bread. Such prices can hardly be interpreted as reflecting a genuine concern for the consumer.
When the Soviet budget for 1960 was announced in October 1959, its nature was essentially the same as that of its predecessors. The emphasis on heavy industrial development, armed might, and scientific research was as great as ever. The concessions to consumer goods were minor.
Since 1950, Soviet industrial growth has been at a rate at least twice that of the United States, and the emphasis has clearly been on those sectors of the economy which enhance national power rather than on those which contribute to the welfare of the people. At present, the Soviets are supporting a military posture roughly equivalent to our own with a gross national product only 45 per cent as large. Should their economy continue to expand at a rate twice that of our own, it is readily apparent that their military power may become awesome in the next decade or two. This is precisely what the men in the Kremlin are pointing toward.
Perhaps we can best illustrate the seriousness of this trend by looking for a moment at the way the Soviets conduct diplomatic negotiations. To them, negotiations are just another instrument of national power. The conference table is like a battlefield where ground is gained or lost not by virtue of one’s legal or moral rights, but rather by virtue of one’s power position at the moment. This is why we cannot solve the Berlin problem by having recourse to the texts of treaties.
The Kremlin firmly believes that if its military power can become dominant in the next decade, a series of diplomatic conferences will result in a steady transfer of territory to the Communist world. There will be no need to employ Soviet armed forces in open attack. The role of the armed forces will be similar to that of the British Fleet in the 19th Century when it assured the success of British diplomacy in many areas while anchored at its bases.
It is in this context that the Soviet submarine force assumes such a grave menace. In the years to come the submarine is destined to play a far more important role in international relations than it has in the past. The reason is that technological advances in the fields of nuclear propulsion, solid fuel propellants, and relatively light nuclear warheads have suddenly made the submarine an instrument for strategic bombardment, in addition to its former roles of attrition and blockade. This means that it can become a highly effective instrument of diplomatic blackmail. A large percentage of the world’s population lives in the coastal areas. A submarine with missiles of only 150-mile range could cover 78 per cent of the urban population of Europe and 55 per cent of that of the United States.
The Soviets already possess by far the largest submarine force in the world, numbering some 450 units. They also possess the shipyards, bases, industrial plants, and scientific resources greatly to increase the size and quality of this force. Admiral Wright, Supreme Allied Commander for the Atlantic, warned the NATO parliamentary conference held in Washington in November 1959 that there is conclusive evidence of a Soviet missile submarine building program of such proportions that the threat will be significant next year and become serious by 1963.
Unless the Free World in general, and the United States in particular, can keep ahead of the grave antisubmarine warfare problem posed by the Soviets, the fateful scale of military power will be irrevocably tipped against us. It is already known throughout the world that the Red Army is the dominant land force on the Eurasian Continent. It is already appreciated that the Soviets have made dramatic progress in the missile field. If the Soviets can now present us with a challenge at sea which we are incapable of meeting effectively, the uncommitted countries, and our allies as well, will soon come to feel not only that their life-lines of ocean commerce and military support could be cut at will by the Kremlin, but that their cities could be devastated by missiles launched from moving and invulnerable platforms. Our friends and allies will conclude that they are caught in a vise between dominant land power and dominant sea power. When that happens a feeling of isolation and helplessness will encompass them and they will decide to yield to “facts” which they are powerless to change.
Soviet diplomacy would have a field day under such conditions. The course of international relations would then be characterized by one continuously recurring theme—provocation by the Soviets, appeasement by the West. The Kremlin has already attempted to pursue this tactic in places like Berlin where it has created a menace and then asked the West to give up its rights in exchange for a reduction of this menace. If the Soviets can present the non-Communist world with a threat at sea comparable to the extent of its threat on land, the opportunities for employing this tactic will be worldwide.
Here then is the danger we face. During the next three decades the Kremlin will make a determined effort to achieve the four interim objectives discussed above: to break out of the “capitalist encirclement,” to fragment the U. S. system of alliances, to capture revolutionary movements around the world, and to attain clear-cut military superiority over the West. Its hopes for achieving world domination rest on the progress it makes in these four areas.
Sea power will be assigned a key role in the pursuit of these objectives, but it will not be the kind of sea power we have ever faced in the past. It will be a unique blend of missile-launching submarines and arms-carrying merchant ships, used in conjunction with diplomatic pressure and political subversion. It will be employed in imaginative ways to achieve the unexpected in direction, time, and method. It will take advantage of Western dedication to the principle of freedom of the seas. It will present us with the toughest kind of military, political, and legal problems.
Before we can hope to deal effectively with this kind of sea power we must rid ourselves of any preconceived ideas we might have of what sea power should look like. We should not expect Soviet sea power to be the same as that of any other great maritime nation of the past or present. Soviet shipyards are busy turning out the kind of ships required to implement Soviet, not Western, strategy. The Kremlin’s sea power, like Hitler’s land power, is no less dangerous because it is seemingly unconventional.
A graduate of the University of Southern California with his doctorate in economics from American University, Dr. Hellner has been a civilian analyst in the Office of Naval Intelligence since 1948. During World War II he was a Japanese Language Officer in the Navy and holds a commission as a lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve. He has twice received the award of Honorable Mention in the Naval Institute’s Prize Essay Contest, his previous winning essay being “Sea Power and the Struggle for Asia,” published in the April 1956 Proceedings.