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Lend Lease Act

Updated on March 26, 2012

The Lend Lease Act

Roosevelt signs the Lend Lease Act into Law.
Roosevelt signs the Lend Lease Act into Law. | Source

Public Law 77-11

Known as the lend-lease act, this public law officially leased war material and American weapons directly to the United Kingdom, China, and the Soviet Union. It replaced the 'cash and carry program' and officially marked a drastic step of the US towards a war footing.

It was signed into Law on March 11th, 1941 some months after the fall of France, but before the German Invasion of Russia on the 22nd of June, 1941.

Cash and Carry

Prior to the lend-leas act, the US Government operated by a policy known as 'Cash or Carry', this policy was implemented due to the US Neutrality Acts, which stated that the US could not give loans or sell on credit any war material to a nation that was currently at war. Nor could any US Shipping interests enter waters identified as a hostile or combat zone.

Therefore, Nations had to bring their own ships to American Ports, purchase American Goods in Cash (usually gold), and transport themselves. This ways, they would assume the risk in doing so, and America wouldn't be drawn into the war.

However, by the Fall of France, Britain was nearly bankrupt, and was virtually the last bastion of defense for Democracy in Europe, especially given Germany's large, high-trained, well-equipped army, it was hard to imagine Britain would hold out much longer in the Battle of Britian.

Recompense

It was noted that the Lend-Lease Program would not incur any new debt, and therefore no interest was ever charged. Instead, allied nations were required to purchase the war materials after hostilities had ceased. Most of this debt was paid for in cash.

However, some of it was paid in other means, to include Rent for American Airbases and Military Facilities on foreign soil.

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