WWII–-75th ANNIVERSARY POLLS--#20--MARCH 1941



  • The Lend-Lease policy, formally titled “An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States”, (Pub.L. 77–11, H.R. 1776, 55 Stat. 31, enacted March 11, 1941)[1] was a program under which the United States supplied Free France, the United Kingdom, the Republic of China, and later the USSR and other Allied nations with food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and August 1945. This included warships and warplanes, along with other weaponry. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941 and ended in September 1945. In general the aid was free, although some hardware (such as ships) were returned after the war. In return, the U.S. was given leases on army and naval bases in Allied territory during the war.

    A total of $50.1 billion (equivalent to $6.59 trillion today) worth of supplies were shipped, or 17% of the total war expenditures of the U.S.[2] In all, $31.4 billion went to Britain, $11.3 billion to the Soviet Union, $3.2 billion to France, $1.6 billion to China, and the remaining $2.6 billion to the other Allies. Reverse Lend-Lease policies comprised services such as rent on air bases that went to the U.S., and totaled $7.8 billion; of this, $6.8 billion came from the British and the Commonwealth. The terms of the agreement provided that the materiel was to be used until returned or destroyed. In practice very little equipment was returned. Supplies that arrived after the termination date were sold to Britain at a large discount for £1.075 billion, using long-term loans from the United States. Canada operated a similar program called Mutual Aid that sent a loan of $1 billion and $3.4 billion in supplies and services to Britain and other Allies.[3][4]

    This program effectively ended the United States’ pretense of neutrality and was a decisive step away from non-interventionist policy, which had dominated United States foreign relations since 1931. (See Neutrality Acts of 1930s.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-Lease

    This month we recognize the start of the Lend-Lease Act, which was done to give help to the UK and the Allies in their early struggles against the Axis Powers.  In your opinions, before the USA entered the War, how well did we do?  Did we give enough?  Did we give too little?  Did we give too much?  Did we hold back just in case we had to get into the war?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I don’t have any particular opinion about whether the US gave too much, too little, or (as Goldilocks would put it) “just enough” to the Allies prior to its own entry into the war – but I’d argue that, regardless of how much it gave, the US benefited from Lend-Lease because the program contributed to cranking up American industry and to shifting it towards the production of more military goods.  This in effect put American industry on a partial war footing before the US entered the war, which gave it more of a head start than would otherwise have been the case.  Roosevelt pretty much used that argument (though he didn’t state it quite that bluntly) when he was trying to sell Lend-Lease to Congress.  The US isolationist lobby wasn’t against self-defense and wasn’t against going to war as such; it was against getting involved in someone else’s war unless the US was itself attacked.  Roosevelt argued that the nations which were fighting against aggression weren’t asking for US troops, they were asking for the hardware with which they could defend themselves; he then added that the best thing for the US to do under the circumstances was to become an arsenal “for them as well as for ourselves.”


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16

    The answer depends on the objective.

    If the objective was to stop the axis winning by keeping Britain and its Empire in the war while at the same time reducing the UK from a flagging super power to near-bankruptcy then the right amount was clearly given.

    In light of Roosevelt’s underlying antipathy towards Britain it would appear likely that this was his intention. That same antipathy lead to his belief that Britain would be a greater threat to US security than Russia after the war.

    From a British perspective, those who lived through the war can harbour some bitterness over our country’s emasculation. They witnessed first hand a dramatic decline in Britain’s standing and it’s always good to blame someone else! However, they forget that this US support (despite the strings) was critical in helping the UK avoid a far worse fate.



  • @Private:

    The answer depends on the objective.

    If the objective was to stop the axis winning by keeping Britain and its Empire in the war while at the same time reducing the UK from a flagging super power to near-bankruptcy then the right amount was clearly given.

    In light of Roosevelt’s underlying antipathy towards Britain it would appear likely that this was his intention. That same antipathy lead to his belief that Britain would be a greater threat to US security than Russia after the war.

    From a British perspective, those who lived through the war can harbour some bitterness over our country’s emasculation. They witnessed first hand a dramatic decline in Britain’s standing and it’s always good to blame someone else! However, they forget that this US support (despite the strings) was critical in helping the UK avoid a far worse fate.

    Machiavelli was an Italian, and lived at a time when Italy had been divided into relatively small pieces. The Machiavellian tactics he described were not intended to exist in a vacuum. He felt that such tactics were tools to be used for a higher purpose: the purpose of re-unifying Italy. Often when reading about how a collection of small European states had become united into a single nation, one reads that Machiavellian tactics had been used. Machiavellian tactics appear effective at achieving their desired goal (of unifying smaller states into larger nations). I would also argue that traditionally, British leaders were no strangers to Machiavellian tactics, and used these tactics to build and maintain their empire. Machiavelli’s underlying goal had been to do what was best for Italy; just as British leaders had in the past often been motivated by the desire to do what was best for Britain.

    Traditionally, Britain pursued a policy of balance on the Continent. If there was a European struggle between two nations or two alliances, Britain would side with the weaker party, in order to prevent any one nation or entity from gaining too much strength. The British understood that a divided Europe posed a much graver invasion risk to Britain than a Europe united under any one banner.

    The Soviet Union had about 2.5x the prewar population of Germany. In 1942 the Soviets produced 3x - 4x as many land weapons as the Germans, and nearly twice as many military aircraft. (Germany caught up by 1944.) The Soviet Union also had a much greater land area than Germany, and much better access to farmland, oil, and raw materials. On top of all this, the Soviets had signed a defensive alliance with the French in 1935. In the cold war between Germany and the Soviet Union, Germany was clearly the weaker party. So why did the British abandon their traditional foreign policy of pursuing European balance in favor of a pro-Soviet, anti-German foreign policy? That abandonment cannot be explained in Machiavellian terms, because a Europe dominated and controlled by the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin did not serve Britain’s national interest.

    Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, the Soviet Union had murdered about 1,000 times as many people as had Nazi Germany. Britain’s pro-Soviet, anti-Nazi foreign policy cannot be explained in humanitarian terms. Nor did that policy stem from an altruistic desire to help the Polish. British and French leaders had lied to the Polish, and had promised them that France would launch a general offensive against Germany within 10 days of mobilization. The promised offensive never materialized. Lying to one’s own allies would typically be considered a Machiavellian tactic. But that tactic did not serve a Machiavellian purpose, because the outbreak of hostilities between Germany and Poland did not serve the British national interest.

    Prior to the start of WWII, Chamberlain and Stalin had discussed the possibility of ganging up on Hitler. Stalin expressed openness to the possibility. But he said that his price for entry would be the annexation of the eastern half of Poland, and all of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. I don’t recall whether he did or did not also demand a slice of Romania. Chamberlain refused this proposal. In a speech in the House of Commons, Churchill said that Chamberlain had made the wrong decision, and that Stalin should have been paid the price he’d asked. Churchill’s motive for wanting to enter WWII had nothing at all to do with protecting Poland, or any other nation in Eastern or Central Europe, from hostile foreign domination.

    In a modern Western democracy, running for political office is very expensive. Politicians typically require large donations from very wealthy people. In the absence of such donations their political careers typically come to a screeching halt. We typically spend far too much time analyzing what makes politicians tick, what they are thinking, and why they make the decisions they do. We are acting as if they are the people who wield real power. I would argue that the most powerful category of people are not the politicians themselves, but rather the economic elites who fund those politicians’ campaigns. A standard-issue politician is little better than a paid shill for those economic elites.

    A hundred and fifty years ago, Britain’s economic elites probably wanted what was best for Britain. But at some point, Britain’s national interests ceased being a relevant consideration for those elites. The disappearance of patriotism and loyalty among Britain’s ruling economic class explains both the pro-Soviet, anti-Nazi pre-war foreign policy, and explains Britain’s loss of its empire in the postwar period, and explains the decision to flood itself with Third World immigrants in the postwar era.

    Ants are very loyal to their colonies. But sometimes loyalty is not enough. For example, a red ant queen will use scent to disguise herself as a member of a colony of black ants. She will invade a black ant colony. Because she has disguised her scent she is unmolested by any of the black ants. She heads straight for the black ants’ queen, kills her, and takes her place. Having done this, the colony’s black ants loyally serve their queen’s murderer, and the killer of their own genetic futures. Gradually, the red queen’s offspring replace the black ants to whom the colony had once belonged.


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    Sorry Kurt - took a quick glance at your post and cannot see how it relates to the thread, nor how it is a reply to my post.



  • @Private:

    Sorry Kurt - took a quick glance at your post and cannot see how it relates to the thread, nor how it is a reply to my post.

    Then I suggest you take a closer look.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Okay - I just did - and am still in the dark as to how your post relates to this thread.

    As a reply to me the only argument I can see that is relevant is that Britain is responsible for its own decline? Of course it is.

    On the other hand, the economic impact of the war was not shared equally between the UK & US. Far from it. Despite being on the side of the victors, in the course of the war Britain went from being the ‘world’s greatest creditor’ to being the ‘world’s greatest debtor’.

    Worse, the unexpected termination of Lend-Lease in August 1945 appears designed to destroy the UK’s position as an economic power. Unable to pay for non-returned assets, nor meet the ongoing costs of the war, the UK was “forced” to agree a loan of £4.3bn from the US. This may not seem so much today, but at the time it was twice the size of the UK economy.

    From a US perspective, the fact that this loan was at 2% interest, plus that Lend-Lease assets were valued at a nominal 10%, as well as the subsequent Marshall Plan, of which I believe the UK was the largest recipient, will suggest that the US was helpful and generous to its ally. And in a very real sense it was.

    From a UK perspective, the strings attached to the “forced” loan, regarding convertibility of sterling and liberalisation of trade would lead to the dollar supplanting sterling as an international currency and the loss to Britain of overseas markets.

    Britain then exacerbated its economic woes by trying to maintain a global role, which it could no longer afford to do, and through the cost of the welfare state. So Britain is responsible. Nevertheless, the US very effectively ensured that it replaced Britain as a global power more quickly than would otherwise have been the case.

    Whether the US was right to use Britain’s war woes to further its own position at its ally’s expense will depend on one’s perspective.



  • @Private:

    Okay - I just did - and am still in the dark as to how your post relates to this thread.

    As a reply to me the only argument I can see that is relevant is that Britain is responsible for its own decline? Of course it is.

    On the other hand, the economic impact of the war was not shared equally between the UK & US. Far from it. Despite being on the side of the victors, in the course of the war Britain went from being the �world�s greatest creditor� to being the �world�s greatest debtor�.

    Worse, the unexpected termination of Lend-Lease in August 1945 appears designed to destroy the UK�s position as an economic power. Unable to pay for non-returned assets, nor meet the ongoing costs of the war, the UK was �forced� to agree a loan of �4.3bn from the US. This may not seem so much today, but at the time it was twice the size of the UK economy.

    From a US perspective, the fact that this loan was at 2% interest, plus that Lend-Lease assets were valued at a nominal 10%, as well as the subsequent Marshall Plan, of which I believe the UK was the largest recipient, will suggest that the US was helpful and generous to its ally. And in a very real sense it was.

    From a UK perspective, the strings attached to the �forced� loan, regarding convertibility of sterling and liberalisation of trade would lead to the dollar supplanting sterling as an international currency and the loss to Britain of overseas markets.

    Britain then exacerbated its economic woes by trying to maintain a global role, which it could no longer afford to do, and through the cost of the welfare state. So Britain is responsible. Nevertheless, the US very effectively ensured that it replaced Britain as a global power more quickly than would otherwise have been the case.

    Whether the US was right to use Britain�s war woes to further its own position at its ally�s expense will depend on one�s perspective.

    I would make the following argument.

    1. There are a host of ways in which money can be used to influence a Western democracy. You can contribute to political campaigns, you can buy media companies, you can use advertising dollars to influence other people’s media companies, you can make large alumni contributions to universities. In a Western democracy, the true ruling class is the economic elite. A typical politician is a paid shill of that elite.

    2. That ruling class might or might not have the best interests of the nation or of the people at heart. If they don’t, then they play the role of red ants, as described in my earlier post. (With the national majority in the role of black ants.)

    3. Starting before WWII, the ruling classes in both Britain and America had begun acting like red ants, not black ants. They have continued acting like red ants ever since.

    4. Red ants couldn’t care less about helping black ants. By the same token, the ruling classes in Britain and in America typically couldn’t have cared less about helping the British or American people, or the British or American nations.

    5. Due to the first four factors, Britain’s domestic and foreign policies cannot possibly be explained in terms of promoting Britain’s best interests. The same is also true of American policies.

    6. You are correct to state that American policy crippled Britain economically. In the postwar world, a strong Britain would have helped serve as a counterweight to the Soviet Union. Had the intention been to align American foreign policy with American interest, an effort would have been made to counter Soviet strength. But it was never the red ants’ intention to align American policy with American interests. Nor did they have any interest in countering the Soviet threat. They therefore went about crippling Britain (economic crippling) and West Germany (Morgenthau Plan), knowing full well such measures weakened Western Europe’s ability to withstand Soviet invasion.

    7. During WWII, a group of German generals had concluded that Germany could not win a two front war against the Soviet Union and the west. They’d planned to overthrow Hitler, make peace with the west, and focus Germany’s war efforts solely on the Soviets. But before doing all this, they first wanted to know what peace terms the Western democracies would demand. They sent a representative to FDR’s administration to discuss all this. The representative was told that America made no distinction between a Nazi and non-Nazi regime, and that it would only accept unconditional surrender from any German government. Unconditional surrender had to be to all the Allies, including the Soviet Union. After learning of this response, many German generals abandoned the plot to overthrow Hitler. The FDR administration’s response was fully consistent with its larger lack of concern about containing the Soviet threat, and with its usual lack of interest in helping the American nation.

    8. While the FDR administration typically had little interest in doing what was best for America, anti-British sentiment was stronger than anti-American sentiment. FDR felt that British colonialism was a disease, and Soviet-style revolution would make a perfectly good cure. In one of FDR’s meetings with Stalin, he suggested that India might benefit from revolution “along the Soviet lines.”

    9. FDR very much wanted to destroy Nazi Germany. For that, Britain needed strength. But once that intended purpose was achieved, then as far as FDR was concerned Britain’s strength could be thrown away. He had no further use for it.

    10. The British people are absolutely correct to feel unhappy about all this. There was never anything in it for them. Nor had the helping of Britain ever been anyone’s intention. (That specifically includes Britain’s own ruling elites.)

    11. Note that the typical Allied excuse for terror bombings and mass aerial exterminations of German and Japanese civilians was that such actions might “shorten the war” and “save the lives of Allied servicemen.” Had FDR cooperated with the German generals who’d wanted to overthrow Hitler, he could have shortened the war in Europe by two years, and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Allied servicemen. FDR was not interested in shortening the war, or in saving the lives of Allied servicemen (black ants). Nor was he interested in preventing Soviet hegemony in the postwar world (which the German generals’ plan might also have accomplished).

    12. If a man such as FDR lacks benign intent toward his own country, it’s unrealistic to expect him to display benign intent toward any foreign power. The one exception to that rule was the Soviet Union, towards which FDR consistently displayed benign intent. Far more benign intent than he’d ever shown toward America. Part of the reason for that exception was that the Soviet government had massively penetrated the FDR administration, the American media, and other sources of political power. Part of FDR’s pro-Soviet stance could be seen as a logical response to the pro-Soviet political pressure caused by this massive penetration.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    1. Note that the typical Allied excuse for terror bombings and mass aerial exterminations of German and Japanese civilians was that such actions might “shorten the war” and “save the lives of Allied servicemen.” Had FDR cooperated with the German generals who’d wanted to overthrow Hitler, he could have shortened the war in Europe by two years, and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Allied servicemen. FDR was not interested in shortening the war, or in saving the lives of Allied servicemen (black ants). Nor was he interested in preventing Soviet hegemony in the postwar world (which the German generals’ plan might also have accomplished).

    No. They needed Hitler alive to guarantee victory, to kill him would result in some smarter leader taking over and extending the war. Thats why they didn’t kill him in 1940. Read your History. Heydrich was killed because he was too dangerous. Same reason they didn’t kill Goering. They just had to bomb the nearest Shakey’s Buffet, but they didn’t. That fat idiot was the best weapon the Allies had. And Carpet Bombing is not “extermination”. Gets the facts straight. Hitler destroyed Rotterdam for nothing as well as many other cities by bombing.


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