The 77th US Congress on March 8, 1941, passed the Lend-Lease act (subtitled “An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States”) which President Roosevelt signed into law on March 11, 1941. Lend-Lease allowed the United States to lend or lease war supplies to any nation deemed “vital to the defense of the United States.” By the end of the war about 15% of the US total war budget went to Lend-Lease.
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Roosevelt’s Garden Hose Analogy
“Suppose my neighbor’s home catches fire, and I have a length of garden hose four or five hundred feet away. If he can take my garden hose and connect it up with his hydrant, I may help him to put out his fire…I don’t say to him before that operation, “Neighbor, my garden hose cost me $15; you have to pay me $15 for it.”… I don’t want $15–I want my garden hose back after the fire is over.”
Source: Roosevelt, Franklin D., “Franklin Roosevelt’s Press Conference, December 17, 1940”, http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/odllpc2.html
With this analogy Franklin Roosevelt argued for the final transition away from the Johnson Debt Default Act of 1934 and the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s. The 1934 Johnson Debt Default Act barring the United States providing loans to nations who defaulted on World War I loans including Great Britain and France. The Neutrality Act of 1935 imposed an embargo of trading arms and munitions to any nation involved in a war. However, after Germany invaded Poland the US Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1939 ending the munitions embargo on a “cash and carry” basis. However, upon Churchill’s personal notification to Roosevelt that England would soon run out of cash prompted passage of the Destroyers-For-Bases and the Lend-Lease acts. Destroyers-For-Bases was a barter to transfer fifty United States’ destroyers to Great Britain. Whereas Lend-Lease allowed the United States to “sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend or otherwise dispose of” items to other countries if they were not vital to national security.
Britain and its Commonwealth nations received the lion’s share of Lend-Lease materiel, at $31.4 Billion or 64.9% of all Lend-Lease transfers. Followed by the USSR at $11.0 billion or 22.7%, France at $3.2 billion or 6.7%, China at 1.6 billion or 3.4%, and Brazil at $0.4 billion or 0.8%. In all thirty-eight nations received $48.4 billion in Lend-Lease aid.
Source: ” GI Roundtable: How Shall Lend-Lease Accounts be Settled”, Published by The American Historical Association, Washington 25, D.C., 20 January, 1945, Page 19, https://books.google.com/books?id=LI8xVaajHacC&printsec=frontcover&dq=lend+lease&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&source=gb_mobile_search&ovdme=1&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiL-dn8kND8AhXOLkQIHbsnBu8Q6AF6BAgEEAM#v=onepage&q&f=false
These top five recipients fit well with the US Army’s Victory plan five primary assumptions:
- Monroe Doctrine: Resist with all means Axis penetration in Western Hemisphere.
- Aid to Britain: Limited only by U. S. needs and abilities of British to utilize; insure delivery.
- Aid to other Axis-opposed nations: Limited by U. S. and British requirements.
- Far-Eastern policy: To disapprove strongly Japanese aggression and to convey to Japan determination of U. S. to take positive action. To avoid major military and naval commitments in the Far East at this time.
- Freedom of the Seas.
Other Army assumptions were that the principal theater of wartime operations would be Europe and that the defeat of potential enemies, among whom were listed Italy and Japan, would be “primarily dependent on the defeat of Germany.” For want of essential equipment, U. S. field forces (air and/or ground) would not be ready for “ultimate decisive modern combat” before 1 July 1943. *
* Source: Matloff, Maurice, and Snell, Edwin, M. “Strategic Planning For Coalition Warfare 1941-1942”, Center Of Military History United States Army Washington, D.C, 1999, page 60, https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/SP1941-42/index.htm.
US Lend-Lease Supplied to Allied Nations Data
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Wikipedia. “Lend Lease.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-Lease, Data accessed on June 28, 2022
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