Volume XI- Number 2

James Johnk

Abstract: The main argument of this article is that historical events led to a Soviet desire for a navy, which they have been using to extend far greater military and economic influence throughout the world. Traditionally, the Soviet Union has emphasized its land forces. Recently, however, a Soviet Navy has emerged, signifying a new age in Soviet policy. This new interest in a navy began in the 1936 Montreux convention, which sparked Stalin’s desire to control the Turkish straits. The Soviet Union’s first tried to control the straits in 1939, after the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact freed it to seek control over the Persian Gulf. The second major attempt occurred during World War II, when the Soviet Union sought bases directly on the Turkish straits. Then, in the early 1960’s, the Soviet Union showed more interest in maintaining a navy after the United States mastery of the seas was made clear. During the Berlin crisis of 1961, naval movements by the U.S. threatened the Soviet Union and in 1962, U.S. warships successfully turned back Soviet merchantmen carrying missiles. This series of events made it evident to the Soviet Union that it had to insert itself into the Mediterranean Sea. The Soviet navy in the Mediterranean is notable because it has restricted the freedom of movement to which the U.S. had been accustomed. The Soviet’s new naval presence has also created room for better relations between the Turkish and the Soviets.


Key Words: Soviet Union, Navy, Military, Stalin, Turkish Straits, World War II, Berlin crisis, Warships, Mediterranean Sea 

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