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Primary Sources: Juan Trippe: Prophet of Globalization
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In 1943, America was at war and the Allies were advancing through Italy. The innovator who made air travel commercially viable gave a speech about the need for postwar jobs, and the global trade implications of the Air Age.

Tonight as we are gathered here at the World Trade Dinner, two thoughts are uppermost in the minds of all of us. First, to win the war as speedily as possible. Second, to expand our system of free enterprise -- our American way of life -- in order to provide jobs at decent wages for the millions of fighting men who are now employed in strictly war industries...

For the past hundred years, foreign trade has been only a minor item in our nation's balance sheet... In most countries, on the other hand, foreign trade is the keystone of the national economy...

A century ago, we were one of the world's great trading nations. Our population was concentrated on the Atlantic seaboard. Our famous Clipper ships had built up a vast world commerce... When we crossed the Alleghenies and started moving west the interest and energies of our people turned inland. We lost interest in foreign trade. We concentrated on domestic development. That job was big enough to keep us occupied for a hundred years. With an energetic people, great natural resources, and freedom for the individual to rise as fast as his abilities would carry him, we built a great nation, and provided for our citizens a standard of living higher than anyone ever before dreamed of.

In this great transcontinental development, transportation and communications had a leading role. First came the railroads to link our scattered settlements. Then came our highways, automobiles and trucks to bring the trade of the nation to the door of the most remote farmhouse. Finally, domestic air transport, making the most distant points in the country but an overnight journey...

Thanks to domestic transportation and communications, our forty-eight states are a neighborhood. New York and San Francisco are closer in time than were New York and Philadelphia a hundred years ago. And today, having accomplished all this in our own country, we can play our part in accomplishing the same thing throughout the world.

Man now stands on the threshold of the Age of Flight, the Air Age, when not just single nations or single continents, but the entire globe will become one neighborhood...

I will not dwell on the tremendous implications of the Air Age. I am sure it must be obvious to you all, however, that the coming of the Air Age will inaugurate a new era in world trade...

We in the United States should get our fair share of this vast future commerce. We must maintain our political and economic position in the world. Only by becoming once again a great world trading nation can we do this. Only in this way shall we be able to provide the millions of new jobs which must be found if our democracy, our system of free enterprise, our American way of life, is to endure...


Excerpt from Juan Trippe, "Foreign Trade in the Air Age," address delivered in New York City, Tuesday, October 26, 1943, at the Thirtieth National Foreign Trade Convention on the presentation to Mr. Trippe of the Captain Robert Dollar Award, pp. 1-5.



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