Libmonster ID: JP-1391
Author(s) of the publication: V. AVARIN

The rivalry between the United States, Japan, and Britain in Asia and on the road to it is at the heart of the Pacific problem. The struggle between these countries is also at the heart of the Pacific strategy. The content of this strategy was classically defined by Comrade Stalin back in 1927 at the XV Congress of the CPSU (b).

"There is nothing to prove," he said, " that Asian markets and routes to them are the main battleground. Hence a number of nodal problems that present entire pockets for new collisions. Hence the so-called Pacific problem (America - Japan - Britain antagonism), as a source of struggle for primacy in Asia and on the way to it."

When considering the strategic position of Japan and the United States, it is inevitable to pay attention to England, the third partner of the triangle, within which there is a dispute over the dominant role in Asia.

If you look closely at the strategic positions of the contending parties, it is first of all striking that Japan is located in close proximity to the object of the struggle, while England and America are extremely remote from it. Technological advances in modern times have greatly weakened the importance of distance as a strategic factor, but still distance continues to play a major role, especially when it comes to such vast expanses as the Pacific Ocean or the part of the territory between England and China. After all, the surface of the Pacific Ocean, which is also rightfully called the Great Ocean, makes up almost half of the entire water surface of the globe. The area of the Pacific Ocean would fit two such oceans as the Atlantic.

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Even during the First World imperialist War, Lenin pointed out the great advantages of Japan arising from its geographical position.

Since the United States and Japan are separated by an ocean that must be crossed in order for the warring forces to come into contact, the naval strategy takes precedence. Dominance on the routes to Asia determines to a large extent the dominance in Southeast and South Asia. Therefore, the struggle for ocean routes and strong points was and is no less fierce than for the object of the struggle itself - China and other Asian countries.

The first stage of any armed struggle between Japan and the United States is determined by the struggle for supremacy on the ocean routes. The success of one of the parties will determine the course of further operations. Under these conditions, the enemy's navy becomes extremely important, and for the success of the fleet's actions, the conditions of basing are very important-the possibility of resuming fuel and ammunition reserves, as well as repairs in case of damage to ships.

* * *

During the second half of the nineteenth century, the ocean routes leading to Asia were dominated by England. Naturally, it was also dominant in China , the country most coveted by the major capitalist Powers at that time. England persistently resisted the attempts of America, tsarist Russia, Germany and France to establish their strongholds here. However, this task was not up to the British. At the beginning of the imperialist era, other states were advancing menacingly toward China from different directions.

The United States captured the Hawaiian Islands, part of the Samoan archipelago. Germany vigorously expanded in the equatorial Pacific, moving towards China from the so-called South Seas, and then established a foothold on the Chinese coast itself, in Jiaozhou Bay, Shandong Province. France established a vast colony in Southeast Asia itself (Indo-China). Tsarist Russia moved from the north not only by land, but also by sea, and in the late 90s began to build a naval base in Port Arthur.

England, unable to cope with so many opponents, decided to exploit the contradictions between them. The British imperialists came to the conclusion that it would be more profitable, for example, to give the Philippines to the United States than to Germany. And it is best to promote and strengthen a young capitalist country - Japan-as an ally. This was then more advantageous to British imperialism than the further strengthening of much more serious opponents-Russia, the United States, or Germany.

Japan enjoyed the actual support of England not only when capturing important strongholds and bases: in England, a military fleet was built for Japan, and English instructors taught the Japanese the latest naval equipment. However, after the Russo-Japanese war, England already had to actively oppose Japan itself at times, sometimes together with other powers, in particular with the United States, in order to restrain Japanese expansion that was too rapid and dangerous for the interests of England itself.

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Before the World War of 1914-1918, the Japanese Navy, having bases and strong points both on the Japanese Islands, Bonins and Formosa, and on the mainland (Korea, Port Arthur), became the predominant force in the western sector of the Pacific Ocean. The influence of the Japanese navy extended to the eastern half of the Pacific Ocean, as the United States kept a significant naval force in the Atlantic, and it took three to four months to sail around Cape Horn to the Pacific coast of the United States. The opening of the Panama Canal brought a dramatic change to this situation, but it did not happen immediately. After the opening (August 1914), there were still frequent landslides on the canal, and finishing works were carried out. Normal traffic on the canal did not begin until the end of the first World imperialist War.

This war and related events in the Pacific strengthened Japan's strategic position. The Japanese navy has grown both quantitatively and qualitatively. In 1914-1915, Japanese ships, together with British ships, hunted German ships across the vast expanses of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and participated in the protection of British commercial transport. Japanese sailors "acquired a taste" for long-distance campaigns, felt their equality with the naval forces of the "lady of the seas". By occupying the mandate islands, Japan extended its naval outposts to the equator, expanding and consolidating its maritime dominance.

But in those years, the naval armaments of the United States also grew, and the normal operation of the Panama Canal, which soon began, seriously strengthened the US position in the Pacific.

At the end of the war of 1914-1918, the Japanese navy actually dominated the western half of the Pacific Ocean, considering the 180th meridian as the eastern boundary of its sphere and extending its influence south at least to the equator. The Washington Conference (1921-1922) legitimized this provision. But by establishing a certain ratio of the main forces of the fleets of the countries concerned, it also set a limit to the further naval expansion of Japan. At the same time, the conference deprived Japan of its monopoly in China, although the Japanese already dominated the approaches to it.

The thirties were marked by the Japanese offensive, which aimed to capture China. The strategic position in the Pacific Ocean has changed significantly again. The outbreak of the war in Europe in 1939, in turn, did not remain without consequences for the strategic situation in the Far East.

* * *

The tightness of England's military forces in Europe, including the main forces of her fleet, undoubtedly dramatically weakens her strategic position in the Pacific. But England and its dominions still have important bases off the coast of Asia, as well as in the southern half of the Pacific Ocean and at its junction with the Indian Ocean. Therefore, the role of England in the Pacific strategy is still great, but in connection with its general weakening, both of its opponents in the Pacific Ocean are now particularly advanced: the United States and Japan.

Japan strengthened its naval position by occupying all the most important points on the Chinese coast and occupying northern Indo-China. She occupied

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islands around Hong Kong, Hainan Island, and has already established its sea and air strongholds there. Back in 1939, the Japanese Navy occupied the Spratly Islands located in the center of the South China Sea to establish strong points for submarines and aircraft.

Japanese naval dominance in the western half of the Pacific is based not only on a military fleet that is numerically weaker than the US, but also on a huge chain of strategic naval bases and strongholds. This chain, a kind of "Chinese wall", the Japanese enclosed China and all of East Asia from the Pacific Ocean.

This peculiar "great wall" begins at the northern end of the Kuril Ridge (a strong point on Paramusire Island, near Kamchatka), descends along the Kuril Chain to South Sakhalin and Hokkaido with their bases and strong points (Otomari, Maoka, Muroran, Hakodate, Otaru, Rumoy). Then it goes through the Japanese islands equipped with powerful, first-class bases (Maizuru, Yokosuka, Kure, Sasebo and others). Here, the navy can also use commercial ports.

The bases of Japan proper make up the central system of the Japanese naval base. These bases in 1939 had 8 dry docks for battleships. Japan also has 23 dry and 4 floating docks for cruisers and over 50 docks for destroyers and other small ships. Bases and ports have powerful shipbuilding and repair facilities. Here are naval factories and arsenals that produce armor, guns, explosives, as well as the largest bases of land and naval aviation.

South of the central base system, the Japanese naval Maginot Line branches off. One branch goes along the Bonins, where two naval bases are equipped on the islands of Chihijima and Tsitsi (Koffin). Then this branch stretches along the Volkano Islands to the Japanese mandate Islands. Here, Japanese strongholds fan out across the vast expanse occupied by the Mariana, Marshall, and Caroline Island groups. According to the American press, Japanese strong points for submarines and light fleets, fuel stations or air bases have been established in Juluit, Watje, Ponape, Truk, Saipan, Rota, and Palao.

This branch of fortified points forms the forward line of Japanese naval positions. The second line runs closer to the mainland, through the Rio-Kiu islands. Before the Sino-Japanese War, it ended at Formosa (Keelun) and Pescadores (Mako). Now it stretches further south, including the islands around Hong Kong, Hainan Island. Its outposts are located in the center of the South China Sea, on the Spratly Islands. In Hainan, according to the Americans, in addition to temporary strongholds for the fleet, permanent stations for submarines have been built on the southern coast of the island, in Samyarkong and Yulinkan. On Spratly Island, 180 nautical miles southeast of Saigon, an air base and submarine station were completed in early 1941. A small detachment of troops is stationed on the island to protect them.

The Japanese navy can now also use all Chinese ports on the mainland and the Indochina port of Haiphong. Any opponent advancing from

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from the east and south to the coast of East Asia, must first force this vast network of bases, fortifications and strong points of the Japanese naval forces and aviation.

The central system of American strategy in the Pacific consists of powerful naval bases on the coast of the United States itself: San Diego, San Pedro, San Francisco, Budget Sound.

The southernmost of these bases is located near the Mexican border, in the deep-water bay of San Diego. The military port has a large floating dock, a first-class base for submarines and destroyers. Even before the start of the second imperialist war, $ 35 million was spent on the construction of a naval base in San Diego. San Diego has a huge military air base for land and sea aviation. There are several major civil aviation airfields.

The well-equipped port of San Pedro is located 100 nautical miles north of San Diego. Rich U.S. oil fields are located near this base. The city of Los Angeles is closely connected to the port of San Pedro.

San Francisco Bay is the central military base and the most important commercial port on the Pacific coast of the United States. Military shipyards are built on the island of Mary Island, 22 miles from the city of San Francisco. In addition to the two large dry docks, another one is being built here. On the coast of San Francisco Bay, protected from the ocean by strong fortifications, there are well-equipped docks and shipyards of private enterprises. Hamilton Field Military Airport has recently been improved.

Close to the Canadian border lies Budget Sound, an area of 2,000 square miles with excellent harbors for the navy. A deep-water canal connects it to Lake Washington. Budget Sound is not just one database, but a whole system of databases. Bremerton Naval Base is home to a large dry dock for battleships and a shipyard for building cruisers. A military airport has been built in Tacoma. Kipport and Edis Hook can be used as military harbors. The Sands Point Naval Base-an arsenal for naval stations in Alaska and the Aleutians-is built on the shore of Lake Washington. Seattle, one of the largest U.S. commercial ports on the Pacific coast, is also located on the shore of Budget Sound. Not far from the US border is the Canadian naval base Eskimo, which can now also be used by the US Navy.

All American bases on the coast have well-equipped military airbases. There is also an extensive network of civilian airfields on the coast. There are 174 airfields and landing sites in California alone.

In the south, 3,250 nautical miles from San Francisco, in the zone of the Panama Canal (at its exit to the Pacific Ocean), there is a naval fortress and base of Balboa with strong fortifications and a significant garrison. There is a dry dock for battleships and a large air base.

All of these bases are located, however, on the other side of the ocean, extremely far from the waters surrounding the eastern mainland. From the main American bases on the Pacific coast to the Japanese coast 4200-4700 nautical miles. This excludes the possibility of direct operations of the US Fleet, since

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the effective range of naval bases has so far not exceeded an average of 2,500 miles*. Only at this distance from the bases can the main forces of the fleet feel confident enough to fight a serious enemy. This limit is limited by the fuel reserves on ships, the availability of repairs, and so on.

In addition to bases on the mainland coast, the United States has a first-class naval base in Hawaii - Pearl Harbor. This base is located 2,100 miles from the American coast, but since Hawaii lies somewhat off the direct route to Japan, the distance from Pearl Harbor to, say, the main Japanese base of Yokosuka is still at least 3,400 miles.

Thus, despite its great strategic value to the US Navy, Hawaii cannot serve as a starting point for direct operations against Japan or other areas of East Asia. The limit of the US navy's sphere of influence was usually considered to be about 2,000 miles west of Pearl Harbor, i.e. approximately on the line of the 180th meridian. Therefore, the 180th meridian was called the US naval border, and fleet maneuvers were always conducted in the eastern half of the ocean, that is, within the limits between the American coast and this border.

In this regard, the possessions of the United States in the western half of the Pacific Ocean - the islands of Guam and the Philippines-are of great strategic importance.

Guam and the Philippines are located on the flank and partly even in the rear of the Japanese naval "Maginot line". One has only to look at the map to make sure that from here it is possible to strike at the southern end of the chain of Japanese fortifications, as well as possible operations against Japan itself.

Guam is less than 1,400 miles from Yokosuka, and even closer to Bonin. From the Philippines to Japanese Formosa is just a stone's throw away. Before the occupation of Canton and Hainan, it was possible to establish direct communication with Southern China from the Philippines. The Philippines and Guam as naval bases can threaten the entire "lifeline" of Japan's southern sea communications. The routes that bring Indonesian oil and rubber, Malay iron ore and tin, Australian wheat, wool, meat, Indian cotton and much more to Japan pass by the Philippines and Guam or at a very achievable distance from them. The Navy and air force based in the Philippines can create a huge obstacle to the delivery of all this to Japan.

The central position that the Philippines, like the islands of the Dutch Indies, occupies at the junction of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, makes it possible to keep all communications between these oceans under control from here.

The northernmost of the Philippine islands, Batana, is located just 80 miles from Formosa. The southern end of the archipelago comes almost close to Indonesia-to Borneo and Celebes. From Hong Kong very close to the north-

* According to some marine experts, the range of the newly built fleet extends up to 3,500-4,000 miles. When the fleet currently under construction mostly replaces the existing one, the useful range of bases will greatly increase. Before the first World imperialist War, this radius was defined only at 500, with a maximum of 1,000 miles.

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the eastern tip of the main Philippine island of Luzon. The naval power that owns the Philippines holds the surrounding territories of Asia and Oceania under attack. But on one condition: there should be a first-class naval base in the Philippines or Guam that can be a real support for the main forces of the American fleet, regardless of whether they are already in East Asian waters at the beginning of the war or are just preparing to sail from America. Without equipped bases, the value of these territories is only potential. In order to prevent this possibility from becoming a reality, the Japanese military machine, as American military experts themselves believe, would have tried to seize these bases from the very first days of the war. The Americans did not start building powerful naval bases in the Philippines or Guam, fearing that the Japanese would consider this a reason for war and would have time to seize these territories before they became a real threat to Japan.

How did the United States allow its advanced and so important strategic positions to be in such a deplorable state?

The American ruling circles did not do this voluntarily, but gritted their teeth, forced to do so by their opponents - Japan and England. Fortified Guam and especially the Philippines threaten not only Japan, but also British colonies, communications, and British interests in Asia and Australia. Already in the early twentieth century, the Anglo-Japanese alliance kept a tight rein on American aspirations to establish a real military base in the Philippines. The Washington Treaty formalized the existing "gentleman's understanding" prohibiting the United States from seriously strengthening its outposts near Asia.

Even after the Japanese occupation of Manchuria and the violation of the Treaty of Washington, until the outbreak of the current war in Europe, England still stood on the side of Japan in this matter. In this last period, Japan alone would not have hesitated to take a decisive stand against the United States if it had attempted to establish state-of-the-art bases in the Philippines or Guam.

Given this, military writers and naval experts, including the Americans themselves (Danlinger and Gary, Baldwin, Bywater, and others), assumed that in the event of war, the occupation of the Philippines and Guam by Japan at the very beginning of hostilities was possible. In the event of attempts to regain these territories, the US naval forces would have to systematically advance from Hawaii and Samoa over a long period of time, recapturing one position after another in the maze of mandatory islands, consolidating what they won by creating operational bases and strong points. Only by reaching positions close enough to Guam or the Philippines could the U.S. Navy have dared to attempt to seize these former territories and launch operations against Japan proper or other enemy positions.

Before the outbreak of the war in Europe, this was one of the most frequently discussed possible variants of the Japanese-American naval war in the world literature.

However, another option was also discussed. If in the first case, the main actions take place near the equator, in the so-called central operating room.

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in the first direction*, then in the second direction they are conducted in a different direction - along the northern "circular path".

The most important weaknesses of the central direction: the lack of first-class bases in the Philippines or Guam, the need to cross the Japanese network of strong points in the area of the mandate islands, where the fleet is threatened by Japanese submarines and aircraft, and where the naval theater is prepared for the actions of the main forces of the Japanese fleet.

In the far north, there is another operational direction - the northern "roundabout".

Earlier it was noted that part of the Aleutian Islands is located west of the 180th meridian. From them to Yokosuka is no more than 2 thousand miles, to the island of Hokkaido is much less, and to the closest islands of the Japanese Kuril Ridge about 700 miles.

This direction, despite the harsh northern climate, has significant positive aspects: from the American bases of San Francisco and Budget Sound to Attu Island, at the western end of the Aleutian Chain, only 2,800 - 3,000 miles. This island is quite suitable for setting up a naval operating base on it. Guam is 5,400 miles away from the main American bases, and with a call to Hawaii and Midway, 5,500-6,000 miles to Cavite (Philippines). another 1,500 miles.

Thus, in the northern operational direction, the distance from the main bases to the last American operating base is half shorter. At the same time, the route to Attu is far from Japanese bases and even outposts; it is much safer than the route to Guam past the Japanese Marshall Islands and through the South Carolina chain.

But the American Navy would hardly have used this direct route to Attu; it would probably have established its communications line a little further away, but along an even safer and more convenient route-along the American continent and the Aleutian Arc. American bases and strongholds are located here along the way: Sitka, off the coast of Alaska, 900 miles from Budget Sound; Kodiak Island, on the other side of the Gulf of Alaska, 650 miles from Sitka; Unalaska Island with the port of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Chain, 700 miles from Kodiak. Attu Island is 700 miles from Dutch Harbor. The entire distance from Budget Sound to Attu with access to intermediate bases is, therefore, only 3 thousand miles. In addition, following this direction, the American fleet is located near its shores. In addition to the listed base points, there are also other anchorages, places for shelter and the creation of strong points off the coast of Alaska.

From the Aleutian Islands, US naval and air fleets can conduct operations in the direction of the Kuril Islands and directly in the direction of Hokkaido and the main Japanese islands. Frequent fogs and rains create more favorable conditions for the offensive fleet than for defense. However, climatic conditions limit large operations to certain calendar dates.

* The line running through the US islands of Hawaii-Midway Wake-Guam-Philippines is usually referred to as the central operating area of the US fleet.

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* * *

The ratio of the main naval forces of the United States and Japan, according to data published in the press, by the beginning of 1941 presented the following picture::





In the ranks

Tonnage (in thousands of tons)

Under construction

In the ranks

Tonnage (in thousands of tons)

Under construction







4 - 6

Aircraft carriers and air transports







Heavy cruisers







Light cruisers





















Total tonnage







Total tonnage of the Navy, including other vessels (in millions of tons)







* Print data on Japanese ships under construction are very approximate and probably understated.

According to the approved plans, the United States for five years (1941-1945) should build 2239 thousand tons of new ships, an average of 440 thousand tons per year. If this plan is implemented, the US fleet will reach 3,534,000 tons by the beginning of 1946. According to Douglas (Aisha, March 1941), the Japanese are now building 120,000 tons of warships a year. At this rate, by the beginning of 1946, the fleet will reach 1,660 thousand tons. In terms of tonnage, this will be less than half of the US fleet.

Given the possibility of military operations on the world's greatest ocean, the Americans have built and are building their warships and naval aircraft with the expectation of long-range operations. Even some destroyers can cover up to 7 thousand miles without renewing fuel supplies, that is, they can reach from Hawaii to the coast of Japan and return back. Cruising range of some cruisers (for example, "Brooklyn") even more - 12 thousand miles. The largest ocean-going submarines can travel 15,000 miles.

Maneuvers and training of personnel in the US Navy were also carried out taking into account the possibility of operations away from their bases and coasts. In recent years, the United States Marine Agency has been particularly diligent in organizing auxiliary, service transport that would meet the requirements of long-distance operations.

But if war breaks out, Japan is unlikely to limit itself to defending its own coasts and those of Southeast Asia, or even operations to capture the Philippines and Guam. Modern military doctrine requires activism, capture, and control.

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initiatives and attacks on enemy positions. Japanese military writers (for example, General Sato in the book "The Future Japanese-American War") they put the capture of the Hawaiian Islands and other forward positions of the United States, the destruction of the Panama Canal with the help of aviation, the destruction of the enemy fleet, and then the attack on its main bases and territories as one of the priority tasks. If the Japanese-American war were to break out, military operations would undoubtedly cover more or less the entire vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, the naval construction of the United States, as well as Japan, is both offensive and defensive in nature.

The United States began naval consolidation of its Pacific possessions (with the exception of the Philippines and Guam) as early as 1938, after the outbreak of the second imperialist War in the Far East. But especially intensively and on a large scale, the Americans began to strengthen their military-strategic positions in the summer of 1940, after the defeat of France. Large fortification works were also deployed in the Philippines. Now many small islands in the west and south of Hawaii have been converted into fuel stations and bases for aviation and light forces of the Navy. Thus, the American "naval border" has significantly advanced and has come into direct and close contact with the Japanese "naval border".

Air bases were also established in the north - in Alaska and the Aleutians; the US positions in the Philippines were strengthened; it was decided to start work on strengthening Guam.

A precursor to the advance of American bases to the west was the creation of the Trans-Pacific Air Line in 1935. The government-subsidized Pan-American Aviation Company opened scheduled flights from San Francisco-Honolulu - Midway Wake - Guam - Manila in late 1935. Subsequently, the line was extended to Hong Kong, and more recently to the Dutch Indies and Singapore. In 1940, the California - Hawaii - Canton Island - New Caledonia (Noumea)air line was opened - Auckland (New Zealand). It takes 6 days to fly from California to Hong Kong, and 4 1/2 days to New Zealand. London gave its consent to the construction of a line to New Zealand only last year, when it was in dire need of American help.

Midway is now home to an air force base for 30 permanent aircraft, as well as a harbor for submarines, destroyers and cruisers. The Wake Island lagoon can accommodate about 50 aircraft. Kingman Reef is being adapted for hydroaviation. The sandy island of Johnston, 800 miles southwest of Hawaii, which previously could not be found on maps, has been turned into a station for the submarine fleet and naval aviation. Palmyra, an atoll made up of 54 coral reefs and islets (1,000 miles south of Pearl Harbor), has become an air force base.

Canton Island, which is jointly owned by the United States and England, is a base for American military aviation and light fleet forces. On the island of Gowland, annexed by the United States in 1936, an airfield was built. Work is being accelerated on the creation of a military air base and a naval station on the islands of Tutuila and Rosa, in the Samoa group. The harbor of Pago Pago on Tutuile Island has been a permanent anchorage for several submarines since the beginning of the Anglo-German War.

New tens of millions of dollars are being invested in the" American Gibraltar " - Pearl Harbor-and the associated system of fortifications and military installations in Hawaii. It is one of the strongest naval bases in the world. She has

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dry and floating docks for battleships. Pearl Harbor is so vast that it can accommodate the entire existing US navy. The commercial port of Honolulu, which can also be used by warships, has two smaller floating docks.

In the spring of 1940, Pearl Harbor's repair facilities were reinforced by a 6,500-ton floating dock transported from New Orleans.

The American garrison in Hawaii is fully staffed and reaches 30 thousand people. There are up to 350 aircraft, air defense forces, anti-aircraft artillery, sound detectors. Underground fuel storage facilities for the navy and aviation have been constructed. In February of this year, the opening of a new, hastily constructed air base in Kaneohe, which has already cost $ 18 million, took place. A total of 17 airfields have been built in Hawaii.

The American press claims that several hundred million US dollars have been invested in Pearl Harbor and its complementary structures.

In the winter of 1940, 146 warships were based in Hawaii - the main forces of the American fleet:



Aircraft carriers


Heavy cruisers


Light cruisers






The personnel of the fleet in Hawaii exceeds 50 thousand people. In addition, there are another 20 thousand people in the coastal institutions of the fleet.

The US weapons system includes the creation of fortified outposts in Alaska and the Aleutians, where now, according to the American press, the garrison has been increased 10 times. The garrison of all Alaska in 1941 should increase to 10 thousand people.

There are 30 aircraft stationed at the Anchorage airbase for large bombers. Another advanced air base, in Fairbanks, has up to 2 dozen fighters. In total, there are 129 airfields and aviation sites in Alaska. On the islands of Sitka and Kodiak, off the coast of Alaska, in Dutch Harbor, on Unalaska Island and on Kiske Island in the Aleutian Chain, facilities are being created for the navy and aviation. A central Turkish aviation base, military supply depots, and a submarine station are being built in Kodiak. For military work in the north, the US Congress released a total of more than $ 70 million. The defense work carried out there will have an effect by the end of this year.

The construction of a highway through Canada is being planned to connect the United States with Alaska by land. In the summer of 1940, regular air service was opened from Seattle to Juneau, Alaska. Juneau is served by airlines to Nome, Whitehorse, Battle and Fairbanks. A network of weather stations and radio stations is being established in Alaska and the Aleutians up to Attu.

But now the Americans are paying much more attention to the Philippines than to their northern outposts.

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The foreign press claims that the Corregidor guarding the entrance to Manila Bay has been transformed into a modern sea fortress over the past year and a half. The defensive structures in Zaliza Syubik have also been improved. The growth of naval forces in the Philippines is evidenced by the composition of the American Asian squadron based in the Philippines.:


At the end of 1939

In early 1941




Aircraft carriers









In addition, the squadron at the end of 1939 included 3 convoys and 1 patrol ship, 5 gunboats, 4 minesweepers and 2 floating bases.

Two years ago, there was virtually no military aviation in the Philippines. And now the number of military aircraft exceeds 200 (and more than 50 are in service with the Philippine army). This includes about 36 long-range bombers. The US army consists of 5 thousand regular army soldiers and 5 thousand "Philippine Scouts". Almost every ship from the United States brings hundreds of soldiers and officers of the infantry, aviation and naval forces to the Philippines. An important trump card of the United States is the Philippine army, which has 30 thousand people and more than 120 thousand trained reserves (six months of training). In March, a general mobilization of reserves for short-term military exercises was carried out.

Thus, the Philippines can put up about 160 thousand troops, whereas a few years ago, all the US armed forces in the Philippines did not exceed 7 thousand people. Moreover, in the event of war, the Americans had reason to fear uprisings in the Philippines.

By passing a law in Congress in 1934 granting the Philippines independence from 1946, and before that autonomy, the American government strengthened its position in the archipelago with such a political maneuver. By attracting the population to their side with the promise of independence, organizing and training the Philippine army, American generals created here the support of the United States against Japan. True, the Philippine troops are insufficiently trained and poorly equipped with equipment, but even now they are still a military force to be reckoned with. President Cason of the Philippines, reflecting the mood of the Philippine bourgeoisie, openly declares that in the event of war, the country is ready to put all its forces and resources at the disposal of the American government. It should be noted, however, that the Philippines did not have a single weapons and ammunition factory until recently. In this regard, they are entirely dependent on the United States, which can easily be interrupted or extremely difficult to communicate with.

In the spring of 1940, the United States Congress for the first time released $ 1 million for the creation of defense facilities on Guam. With these funds, underground fuel storage facilities were built and some improvements were made to the Apra harbor. This year, another $ 4.7 million has been allocated to Guam for the construction of underground hangars and the cleaning of Apra Harbor from coral reefs. Guam is already an air base and can serve as a station for submarines.

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* * *

When reviewing the strategic positions of the United States and Japan in the Pacific, it is necessary to take into account a new important factor - the possibility of the US Navy using British naval bases, stations and strong points in this sector of the globe.

The American and Japanese press reports that fuel stations are being set up along the possible route of American ships from Hawaii to Northern Australia and further to Singapore; garrisons of New Zealand troops are located on a number of small islands belonging to England (for example, on the Fiji Islands); the time required to cross this southern "circular"route is calculated paths. Singapore, British Malaya, Dutch India are increasing the number of troops, strengthening aviation, improving defensive structures to fulfill the task of supporting the American fleet. The American press claims, for example, that 120 thousand troops are concentrated in Singapore and Malaya. In Sarawak in British Borneo 10 thousand troops were recently deployed, etc.

America is already largely supplying these countries with weapons. In 1940, the U.S. government issued $ 32.4 million worth of arms and war materials export licenses to Dutch India, $ 10.2 million to Singapore, $ 7.6 million to Australia, $ 2.8 million to New Zealand, and $ 0.2 million to Hong Kong.

In the first half of April, a meeting of American, British and Dutch military and political leaders was held in Manila on the "implementation of joint defense of the Western Pacific". There are a number of weak points in this defense, which undoubtedly cause a lot of concern to the Americans and the British.

The relative proximity of Japan to the South Seas, the relatively favorable ratio of Japanese-American naval forces for Japan at the present time, while the American military potential is being implemented , is what makes the United States adhere to the policy of maneuvering in the Far East. It is also significantly important that the US ruling circles are now trying to transfer as much money as possible to Europe and Africa to help their partner, England.

In the autumn of last year, retired Admiral Stirling urged the Americans: "It seems more reasonable to keep our fleet in the Atlantic ready to help England and not get involved in military operations with Japan in the area that she herself chose for this purpose. Our naval strategy in the Pacific must remain defensive. Our most important naval task is to prevent the defeat of England at sea."

The New York Times, the newspaper of American financial Capital, stated in an editorial on February 20, 1941::

"We must not risk such actions in the Pacific that could prevent us from helping England in Europe... The fate of Singapore, Indochina, Dutch India will be decided by the outcome of the battle in Europe... If England wins, then in time everything will work itself out in the East. If England were to lose, there would be little to save in the general devastation that would follow. The decisive front is the English Channel."

Based on this, the New York Times recommends that in the event of a Japanese attempt to occupy Singapore, for the time being, not military action should be used as a last resort, but a complete cessation of trade with Japan.

page 153

The United States is also trying to strengthen its position directly at the expense of its ally, England. Back in the autumn of 1940, the American press discussed the prospects of obtaining bases or a complete "cession" by Britain of the Pacific territories under the mandate of Australia and New Zealand. The creation of American bases in Fiji and the Solomon Islands "would change the balance of power in our favor," he said. Hartley in the pages of the New York Times last September.

A huge concern among the US military and naval circles is the question of Singapore's actual defense capability. Singapore now holds not only the Asian-Australian strategic system of England, but its fall would threaten the British position in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea. The transfer of Singapore to hostile hands would mean the appearance of a significant enemy naval force in the Indian Ocean and the disruption or almost complete termination of the maritime connection of England and the Middle East with Australia and India.

This is how Japanese naval observers assess the importance of Singapore for the Anglo-American bloc. Masanari Ito writes in the article" Problems of the Japanese-American clash":: "If Singapore were captured by the enemy, the defense of India, Australia, and New Zealand would be at a critical juncture, and the British Empire would collapse."

The notorious Tota Ishimaru states: "Suppose Singapore is taken by Japan. The situation will immediately change dramatically - a war against Japan in the Pacific will have little chance of success." And then: "If Japan occupies Singapore, its dominance in the waters and in the air in the South China Sea region will be ensured. This will make it possible to receive all the necessary military materials and food products from the islands of the South Seas and trade freely through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. In this case, Japan will be able to fight a prolonged war."

Japanese press highlights three weaknesses in Singapore: 1) vulnerability from the air, 2) lack of their own food resources, 3) discontent of the indigenous population of Singapore and British Malaya with English rule.

Many American naval experts argue that the capture of Singapore by Japan is quite possible, even if at a very expensive price. The occupation of this base is also possible as a result of a prolonged blockade and siege from land with less losses for the besiegers.

Considering Singapore to be of great importance not only for England, but also for the United States under the present conditions, and its transfer from British hands is very important for the entire further development of the Second World imperialist war, the New York Herald Tribune, the organ of the Republican Party in America (February 16), demands an official statement from the American government that the threat of Singapore from Japan will lead to a military conflict with the United States (article by the famous military observer Major Eliot).

When considering the strategic positions of the capitalist Powers in the Pacific, we must not lose sight of the fact that in naval strategy, and even more so in naval battles, extremely much depends on command, on correct or erroneous leadership. The qualities of the entire fleet personnel are also of great importance. A side that has even a significant preponderance of forces can easily lose if the personnel and leadership of the opposite side are more qualified, more talented. This should not be forgotten when considering the strategic position of the United States and Japan in the Pacific.


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