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The Lend-Lease Act of 1941, “An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States”, was made a law on March 11, 1941. The Lend-Lease Act allowed the British and other allies continued access to American arms, munitions, and supplies despite their rapidly deteriorating financial situation removing the cash requirement of the Neutrality Acts. The 1941 Lend-Lease Act allowed President Roosevelt to authorize the transfer of military materials to Great Britain with the understanding that they would ultimately be paid for, or returned if they were not destroyed. The number of Lend-Lease recipients grew, eventually including more than 30 countries. Until, in 1942, a Reverse Lend-Lease agreement was made between the United States with Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and the Free French. Under the “reverse lend-lease” terms, goods, services, shipping, and military installations were given to American forces overseas.
See the fact file below for more information on the Lend-Lease Act or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Lend-Lease Act worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- In April 1940, Adolf Hitler invaded and gained control over Norway, Denmark.
- In May 1940, Winston Churchill became the British Prime Minister and appointed William Stephenson as British Security Coordination.
- US President Franklin Roosevelt sought ways to aid Great Britain against losing the war against the Germans. Roosevelt supplied the US weapons and ammunition and authorized its shipment to Britain.
- In June 1940, during the outbreak of war in Europe, as part of the “Cash and Carry Program”, the British were allowed to buy non-war materials with gold.
- In September 1940, The Tizard Mission (British Technical and Scientific Mission) was sent to the United States.
- On December 17, 1940, Roosevelt made a speech to the American republic, proclaiming the USA would be the Arsenal of Democracy. Roosevelt also proposed the selling of munitions to Britain and Canada.
- In early February 1941, it was revealed on a poll made by the George H. Gallup’s organisation that only 22% were unqualifiedly against President Roosevelt’s proposal and 54% of Americans were in favor of giving aid to Britain.
- In February 1941, 69% of Democrats were in favor of the lend-lease act, whereas only 38% of Republicans favored the bill.
- In March 1941, 79% of Senate Democrats voted “aye” and 37% Senate Republicans sided with the passing of the Lend-Lease Act.
The Lend-Lease Act of 1941
- On March 11, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Lend Lease bill into law which permitted the US to “sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of, to any such government whose defense the President seems vital to the defense of the United States.”
- The Lend Lease Act was extended to China, Commonwealth countries and the Soviet Union. It was intended to assist the nations that were then fighting the Axis powers (Germany, Japan, and Italy).
- The United States provided goods and services in the fight against Nazi Germany and Italy. In return, it’s allies would repay the United States by returning the goods or using them in support of the cause, or by a similar transfer of goods.
- “Destroyers for Bases” called for 50 American US Navy destroyers to be exchanged for the use of 8 British Naval bases along the North Atlantic coast.
- On August 14, 1941, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed to defend democracy, economic advancement, and free trade. This agreement was known as the Atlantic Charter, a joint declaration at Naval Station Argentia.
- On September 4, 1941, the USS destroyer greer (DD-145) was fired at by a German submarine (U-boat) U-652 in North Atlantic.
- On September 11, 1941, on a national radio address, Roosevelt ordered the US navy to fire on German warships in the West Atlantic.
- In December 7, 1941, the master lend-lease agreement was signed by the United States and fourteen of its allies.
- The Act made it possible to lend or lease supplies to any country whose interests were vital.
- Article VII of the master lend-lease act was drafted by the negotiators stating that:
“the terms and conditions thereof shall be such as not to burden commerce between two countries but to promote mutually advantageous economic relations between them and the betterment of world-wide economic matters.”
- It provided that the US could ship weapons, food, or equipment to any country that was struggling against the Axis countries (Germany, Italy, and Japan).
- The British provided supplies and bases for American forces, gave them Rolls Royce Merlin engines for the P-51 Mustang fighter, atomic bomb information, and proximity fuze blueprints.
Commonwealth and Administration
- The opposition ceased when Adolf Hitler violated the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
- The USSR benefited from the US war materials during the war against the German Wehrmacht.
- The United States approved $1 billion in Lend-Lease loans to the Soviet Union, with return terms of 5 years starting after the war was over, with no interest or repayments before then.
- Lauchlin Bernard Currie, Administrative Assistant to President Franklin Roosevelt, was a Soviet spy, and was deputy for Lend-Lease aid to the Chinese KMT (Kuomintang). Currie was sent to China hoping he would enable the Chinese to tie down large Japanese armies.
- Hugh Woods and William L. Boyd of the China National Air Corporation (CNAC) made the first flight over the Hump, the China-Burma air supply route.
- Franklin Roosevelt informed George Marshall that he was going to approve the supplies Chiang Kai Shek requested without any caveats, which included 500 planes and 10,000 tons of supplies to be delivered over the Hump.
- President Roosevelt appointed Edward R. Stettinius as Steel Executive Head and, on September 1943, Stettinius was promoted to Under Secretary of State.
- Harry Lloyd Hopkins was the Chief diplomatic adviser and troubleshooter for Roosevelt. During World War II, he was assigned to deal with Soviet officials.
- Hopkins’ counterpart, Anastas Mikoyan was responsible for USSR’s Lend Lease.
Phases of deliveries to the Soviet Union
- From June 22 to September 30, 1941, the pre-Lend Lease period allowed for gold and mineral payments.
- During the first protocol period from 1 October 1941 to 30 June 1942, the USSR was supplied with 400 aircraft, 500 tanks, and 10,000 trucks a month with US credit financing. These supplies were manufactured and delivered by the UK.
- During the second protocol period from 1 July 1942 to 30 June 1943 (signed 6 October 1942), the US and Britain were committed to the delivery of the massive tonnage of allied shipments to the USSR.
- The third protocol period was from 1 July 1943 to 30 June 1944 (signed 19 October 1943).
- The fourth protocol period from 1 July 1944 to May 12, 1945 has continued deliveries for the duration of the war with Japan under the “Milepost” agreement.
- American Lend-lease deliveries to Russia:
- 400,000 trucks, 12,000 tanks, 13,000 locomotives and railway cars, 32,000 motorcycles, 8,000 anti-aircraft cannons and machine-guns, 400,000 metal cutting machine tools, 40,000 field radios, 135,000 submachine guns, 400 radar systems, 300,000 tons of explosives, 2,670,371 tons of petroleum products (gasoline and oil), 4,478,116 tons of foodstuffs (canned meats, sugar, flour, salt, etc.), and 9,920 flat cars.
- British deliveries to the USSR:
- On June 27, 1942, with the Anglo-Soviet Military Supplies Agreement, the military aid during the war was entirely free of charge.
- The first British aid convoy set off along the dangerous Arctic sea routes to Murmansk. They were known as the Arctic convoys. The returning ships carried the gold that the USSR was using to pay the US.Delivered aids were: 3,000+ Hurricanes, 4,000 other aircrafts, 2,560 bren carriers, 5,000+ anti-tank guns, 5,218 tanks, 4,020
- ambulances and trucks, 1,721 motorcycles, 323 machinery trucks, £1.15bn worth of aircraft engines, and 15 million pairs of boots. In total, it was 4 million tonnes of war materials.
Canadian aid to the Allied effort
- For shipment to Britain, China, and Russia, President Roosevelt allowed Lend-Lease to purchase supplies from Canada.
- During the war, Canada gave Britain gifts totaling $3.5 billion to buy Canadian food and war supplies with a $1 billion zero-interest loan.
- For 99 years, the Gander Air Base (RCAF Station Gander) located at Gander International Airport, built in 1936 in Newfoundland, was leased by Britain to Canada.
- In 1949, the lease became redundant when Newfoundland became Canada’s tenth province.
- After the cut-off date, the US charged them at a 90% discount because the Congress had not authorized the gift of supplies delivered to the USSR.
- Large quantities of undelivered goods and supplies were in transit when the Lend Lease Act was terminated.
- The Lend Lease items remaining were sold at 10% nominal value with an initial loan value of £1.075 billion to Britain.
- The payment was at 2% interest starting in 1951, with five years of deferred payments.
- On December 29, 2006, the final payment of $83.3 million was made.
Lend Lease Termination
- In September 1945, US President Harry S. Truman terminated the Lend Lease Act.
- The USSR and Britain was severely upset with the unexpected termination.
- Truman ended the program for postwar relief and loans.
- In 1945, the US loaned $3.75 billion to Britain and $500 million to France at 2% interest.
- Stalin requested for a $6 billion loan, but President Truman rejected his request.
- Reverse Lend Lease from the UK to the US included the following:
- £163,944,000 shipping services
- £48,496,000 inland transport
- £222,800,000 UK capital installations
- £117,341,000 US Air Force airfields
- The US had a huge surplus of ships and supplies that were sold to the Allies at cheap prices and long-term loans on a favorable terms.
- Britain supplied the US with services such as the Supermarine Spitfire Fighters.
Effects Of The Act:
- During the war, the US continued to aid the Allied Power countries (United Kingdom, France, Soviet Union, and China).
- Many nations had taken advantage of the Lend Lease act to receive more supplies from the US.
- The Soviet Red army had received from America two-thirds of their Dodges and Studebakers trucks.
- The USSR had received 2,000 locomotives.
- The Lend Lease had sent the USSR 4,292 British tanks, 3,734 American tanks, and 1,400 Canadian tanks.
- Stalin focused on the USSR’s need for food and industrial supplies (metals) as the USSR had their own factories to produced their own battle equipment.
Lend-Lease Act Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Lend-Lease Act across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Lend-Lease Act worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Lend-Lease Act of 1941.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Lend-Lease Act Facts
- The Lend-Lease Act of 1941
- Big Three Allied Forces
- Lend-Lease Allied and Axis Countries
- Effects of Lend-Lease Act
- Lend-Lease Act Word Search
- Political Cartoon Analysis
- Web Mapping
- Poster Making
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Link will appear as Lend Lease Act Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 26, 2022
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