Though in our history nothing has disturbed us so much as the threat of a foreign Power to build a great navy, the present Russian bid for sea-power has not been criticised, but rather actively aided.
A Special Correspondent surveys the Soviet policy in this respect in the article below.
By a Special Correspondent
In his recent . order of day addressed to the armed forces of the Soviet Union, Generalissimo Stalin announced his intention to create " a stronger and mightier navy " and to construct " new naval bases."
I ant old enough to remember the reaction which Kaiser Wilhelm's notorious dictum about "Germany's future being on the high seas " produced throughout the world, and, especially in this country, the storm of angry protests and comments which it raised among journalists, politicians and statesmen. Quite rightly the world public opinion interpreted this statement as a threat to the world peace. In Great Britain the Kaiser's outburst was taken as a challenge to the British
naval supremacy Undoubtedly, this indiscreet speech started in earnest the race of armaments which culminated in the 1914-1918 holocaust.
Of course, for all those who studied the developments in Russia, Stalin's announcement presented nit surprise. It was known long ago that the Soviet leaders were obsessed with the ambition of making the Soviet Union a power whose influence were to be felt throughout the world. Creation of a powerful army and air force and of the mighty military industrial base were the initial stages for the realisation of this ambition. The creation of a " stronger and mightier " navy puts the finishing touch to the achieve
ment of this ambition. The history teaches us that no country can attain the rank of a world Power unless she possesses a powerful first-class navy in addition to the mighty land army.
Of course. the building of a big navy would require time. But the Soviets have already gone a long way in preliminary preparations. The existing shipyards are already working at top speed, and several more shipyards arc under construction. The American example has shown that under modern industrial conditions the erection of shipyards capable of turning out big battleships presents no unsurmountahle
difficulties, To switch over metallurgical plants from tank production to the production of steel plate and machine-building works for the production of 'ship. engines is, from the technical point of view, an easy matter.
As hr's been recently revealed. the Red Navy has already been reinforced by many units which were surrendered by Britain to satisfy the Soviet demand for the Dalian warships. and . it is known that the Soviets are claiming one-half of the German Navy seized by the Allies. Should this request be granted, the Soviets will get seyeral hundred modern U-boats. destroyers, torpedo-boats, and other war vessels.
it may also be anticipated that the Soviet Government would try; to place orders for warships with British and
American ship-building firms. There are persistent rumours that regotia [ions for such orders are already well under
Much ground has been covered by the Soviets as far as the naval bases and free access to the ocean routes arc concerned. All ports in the Eastern Baltic from Abu in the north and Stettin in the south are under complete Soviet control. The Danish island of Bornholm, this " Malta of the Baltic," which is within easy bomber range from Kiel, Zound and Skagerrak, is firmly held by the Soviets, who show no signs of withdrawing though military necessity for the occupation is past.
As the Copenhaghn Radio stated. on July 17, the Soviets have put up a demand at the Potsdam Conference that all the entrances to the Baltic from the ocean, including the Kiel Canal, he placed under international control in which the Soviet Union, naturally, would have a great share.
All Rumanian and Bulgarian Black Sea ports and naval bases have already been seized by the Soviets, and strong pressure is put on Turkey in order to make het agtee oil the joint ,SovietTurkish contrail of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles and on the leasing of sites to the Soviets for construction of naval bases.
The Communist intrigues in Greece and the agitation for' "autonomy " of Macedonia with the great port of Salonica provide clear indications as to the Soviet plans to gain access to the Aegean. The access to the Adriatic through " friendly co-operation " with the Tito Government and the Soviet-sponsored Albanian Committee of National Liberation is already assured.
IN THE FAR EAST It is also known that the Soviets are firmly bent on the establishnxtnt of their " protectorate " over Manchukuo and Korea and on the taking over the lease of the Liaotung Peninsula 'with its two ports of Dairen and Port Arthur from the Japs. The rumour has it that they arc also claiming Formosa.
Possession of naval and air bases in all these territories will make Soviet RUSSiti a first-class naval Power in the EasternPacific and tirtually give her full control over China sea-borne trade.
As one of the Soviet writers puts it. " the Soviet Union is determined to breathe fresh sea ait." As the example of Germany shows. the exhilarating sea air may affect men unaccustomed to it in a very dangerous manner, and make their appetites enormously keen and unsatiable.