Quote of the day—U.S. General Billy Mitchell

I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world.

U.S. General Billy Mitchell
To U.S. Congress in 1935
[Even ignoring the Aleutian Islands Alaska is surprisingly close to both Europe and Asia. It is less than 2800 miles to Sweden and Beijing, less than 2500 miles to Japan, and less than 800 miles to Russia. Alaska to Los Angles is over 1500 miles and Alaska to Miami is over 3200 miles.

But I don’t think it holds as much strategic value as Mitchell thought it would. Early warning of Russian attack on North America? Absolutely. Missile launch site for attacking eastern Russia? Sure. But it’s not significant in regards to the entire world. That is particularly true with the Mideast currently being the most important hot spot. Still, I found it an interesting thought.—Joe]


13 thoughts on “Quote of the day—U.S. General Billy Mitchell

  1. Billy Mitchell was a visionary. Visionaries are usually quite wrong but they move us to new places regardless.

    • Thanks. I had already seen it but it bears wider distribution.

      43 feet from three pounds of high explosives? Stupid or profound ignorance. 43 feet from three pounds of HE just the other side of lightweight metal? Leading candidate for this years Darwin Award.

      Huffman’s first rule of recreation explosives: Don’t put anything between you and the explosives you want a surgeon to be removing from your body.

  2. Well his remarks are over 80 years old.
    At the time, I think he was correct.
    Possibly, the amount of time and effort concentrated there redirected the future, which, as a wise sage once said, is always in motion.

    • Likely true. At that time the world’s superpowers were indeed somewhat centralized around Alaska. This was before ICBMs, before mid-air refueling of strategic bombers. In WWII, the only ground invasion of American soil (I think) was in the Aleutians, and Russian special forces supposedly made incursions into Alaska during the Cold War (of course, we never heard about incursions onto Soviet soil from US forces moving the other direction – possible? likely?)

      True now? Probably not.

    • Well, actually attacks on warships by level bombers were utterly ineffective during WWII.

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