Lend-Lease comes under a following full-title “An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States”. The policy has brought together the United States with the United Kingdom, USSR, the Republic of China and other countries during the World War II. The programme was proposed in 1940 and confirmed in 1941; the year when the U.S. started assisting with military aid to overseas nations. This decision taken by American president has allowed the United States to support the war interests without being warned out in battle.
The support provided by the U.S. has reached a total cost of $50.1 billion which comes to around $659 billion as the equivalent to current time. Facts state that Britain has received $31.4 billion, Soviet Union got $11.3 billion, $1.6 billion went to China and $5.8 billion went to other countries involved in the war. An alike act to Lend-Lease was operated by Canada called Mutual Aid. It sent a loan of $1 billion to Britain and $3.4 billion to the rest of the relevant countries.
The idea of Lend-Lease has been offered by Roosevelt. By 1941 the situation was getting critical; Britain started running short on arms, most supplies and money. Winston Churchill addressed the issue to President Franklin and Roosevelt to receive some assistance from the American side. Indeed the Neutrality Act, which since 1931 had been the key mode of the U.S. foreign relations, was putting pressure on American’s decision to get involved deeply. More so, the involvement of the U.S. would be met by most Americans with negativity as at that time they saw World War 2 as an essentially European conflict. The neutrality was in place for over 10 years; moreover, at the time the biggest ethnical group in the U.S. was German Americans. Hence why, Roosevelt knew the changes towards American involvement need to be gradual.
As time went on, this point of view has shifted; and the plus side of the Lend-Lease idea became more clear to Americans. No doubt, propaganda has played its’ part in the mind change; and more so the Fall of France.
By February 1941 over 50 percent of Americans were supporting the Lend-Lease idea. Another 15 percent were in favor of the act as long as they were given a guarantee of not getting into the war and receiving security in return. 22 percent of Americans were against the programme proposed by the president. Democrats (79%) supported Lend-Lease in bigger numbers than Republicans (37%).
On 11 March 1941, Roosevelt approved and signed the Lend-Lease act into law. Later that year the programme was extended to other countries; e.g. the Republic of China in April and the Soviet Union in October.
Edward Stettinius became the head of the office of Lend-Lease administration. Later in 1943, Leo Crowley got in charge of the Foreign Economic Administration that included being responsible for the Lend-Lease act.
Lend-Lease aid was delivered to the USSR through three main channels: the Pacific Route, the Arctic Convoys and the Persian Corridor. The shortest and the most dangerous channel was the Artic Convoys; it formed 23 percent of total aid shipped to the USSR. The longest route was through the Persion Corridor; and formed 27 percent of the total aid. The Pacific Route could only assist with non-military aid, and shaped 50 percent of the total amount of goods.
In April 1945 the decision of Congress announced that Lend-Lease is not meant to assist with post conflict help. By September the programme ended.
Lend-Lease made the U.S. to take a clear step from the Neutrality Act; and as the result has shifted the attitude of the American society towards the war. The act signed by Roosevelt has affected the whole history of the second World War.