Defense of the Hemisphere: An Historical Postscript
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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In times of major crisis, the nations of the Western Hemisphere have traditionally put aside their differences and united in a common cause. Such was the case during World War II when the Americas came together in collective defense well before becoming actively involved in that terrible conflict. The defense of the hemisphere was a top priority then as it is today. Historically, the Monroe Doctrine has been the cornerstone of U.S. security policy in the region. An outside threat to one country was viewed as a threat by all its neighbors. Thus, when aggression in Europe and Asia began to spread across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans between 1939 and 1941, Washington, in partnership with many nations in Latin America, took steps to deal with what was becoming a world-wide conflict. In April 1939, the Joint Army-Navy Board determined that the only way in which the hemisphere could be assailed was from a base of operation on the coast of West Africa. The board estimated that subsequent operations could project combat power to Brazil. The fall of France in 1940, the anomalous status of French colonies in Africa during 1940-41, and German successes in North Africa in 1941-1942 gave substance to this view. As the crisis intensified continental security became more critical for the Americas.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics