Newfoundland; Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies

By R. A. MacKay | Go to book overview

XIV
TRANSITION TO ATLANTIC BASTION

A. R. M. LOWER

ON the island of Newfoundland and the surrounding region geography bestows peculiar significance. While faces on the North American continent were turned inward, and as long as the North Atlantic remained peaceful and serene, Newfoundland slipped largely from the attention of North American people. But when the storms of the Second Great War of the present century began to beat across the ocean, the strategic importance of the Island in the new three-dimensional naval warfare was at once revealed. It is the purpose of this paper to examine the strategic position of the Island in the light of recent events and recent technological advances in the art of war.


THE ISLAND

The island of Newfoundland is about 42,000 square miles in area, roughly an equilateral triangle in shape, about 300 miles from north to south and from east to west. Its position is well-defined by the three capes which mark its "corners": Cape Ray at the southwest, Cape Race at the southeast and Cape Bauld at the north. Geologically it consists of an extension of the Appalachian Mountain system, its surface reflecting the typical Appalachian parallel ridges, with their northeastward trend. But since the Island represents what has been left above water of a foundered continent, it resembles the high Appalachians rather than the low; the fertile lowlands, which in Virginia remained above the sea, in the Newfoundland region were long since swallowed up by the ocean and are now out on "the Banks", only the rocky mountaintops, most of them rounded off in the Ice Age, with their high valleys remaining to form the present island. The

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