The lend-lease act, a key factor in the defeat of the third reich
Beyond the human catastrophe of the battlefields and bombing raids, the economy, the supply of resources and their management are key factors in surviving in a war. It was during world war II that the beleaguered united kingdom continued to hold its own against the third reich, thanks to the lending and peasing act.
By the late 1940s, continental europe had fallen victim to the nazis. Only the united kingdom continued to resist the german forces. Fighting alone was no easy task for the british, as their economy was on the brink of bankruptcy. And to support a war against a military power like germany required an enormous economic effort.
A britain under siege
Thus, british prime minister winston churchill sent a letter, dated 8. December 1940 an important letter to his american colleague, president franklin delano roosevelt. In this letter, churchill called for greater U.S. Involvement and warned of the risks facing the british economy. In this sense, the british prime minister literally warned that british dollar loans would run out, which was also the case with gold reserves. To add insult to injury, german U-boats roamed the atlantic, attacking vital convoys of the british merchant fleet.
At the request of an ally for help, roosevelt began to think about how he could help britain. It was crucial to the united states that the united kingdom continue to resist hitler's germany. Thus, an idea was born in president roosevelt's mind. It was about the lease. The american president himself explained in a simple way how they would help the british. Roosevelt said that if a neighbor's house starts to burn, the neighbor will not be charged for the use of the hose. In any case, you may extinguish the fire with the hose, which the neighbor must return after extinguishing the flames. This is how the so-called lend-lease act, also known as lend-lease, was approved.
American aid went beyond the economic cause, and north american navy ships were responsible for escorting british convoys crossing atlantic waters.
A support that was not in vain for the british
Churchill said in this context that it was "the most selfless act in the history of any country". Although it is true that it did not turn out to be so altruistic and that it came at an enormous cost to britain. In this sense, the famous historian antony beevor explains in his book "the second world war" that an audit of british assets was carried out and that funds would not be sent until all gold and foreign exchange reserves were exhausted. . For all these reasons, the united states navy sent a ship to cape town to seize the last british gold shipment deposited in south africa.
Furthermore, this went beyond gold and involved UK companies. This is how british companies based in the united states such as courtland, lever and shell were sold at frankly ridiculous prices. However, the military and economic situation in the united kingdom was so bad that the british could not object.
This caused unrest among the british population, as the UK had to make large payments to the U.S. For defense contracts that still had to be completed after the end of the war. On the contrary, british arms demands helped jump-start the american economy.
With the enactment of the lease and lease act, the united states became the so-called "arsenal of democracy". Its powerful industry provided the weapons and supplies needed to defeat germany, and britain was the main beneficiary of this act.
But it was not only great britain that was able to procure war materials, supplies and aid thanks to the lend and lease act. Free france, china, and the soviet union could also benefit from this law. Out of around $50 billion, $31.4 billion went to the UK, $11.3 billion to russia, $3.2 billion to free france, and china absorbed $1.6 billion.
But what kind of materials have lend-lease recipients received? Now, finished ammunition, raw materials and machinery were the main components of this loan and lease law.