Lendlease

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Lendlease

Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 05 Aug 2004 21:59

Everyone has heard of Lendlease, but on reflection of the meaning of the words I wonder just what the USA got out of it? Did the US ever get paid back for any of that material? If so, when and how much?

"As for the lend-lease act, the numbers I have are these: 45,000 "Willis" jeeps, 29,000 motorcycles, 29,000 locomotives, 12,536 tanks, 17,834 airplanes, 130,500 automatic weapons, 240,000 tons of explosives and ammunition, 13,200 revolvers, 2.5 million tons of petrol and other war materials. Here's something I'm sure you guys won't believe: 34 million uniforms; sewn with Singer sewing machines in the good ol' U.S.A.! There were also X number of warships that the S.U. never returned, even when requested, that I don't have in front of me right now. The question is why?"

It's a good question. Why, that's a lot pf stuff. What did the USA gain from it except perhaps some kind of warm fuzzy feeling...and forty years of cold war.
This thought comes close to more of a 'what if' topic, but wouldn't it have more to America's interests to let the Soviet Union and the Third Reich beat the crap out of each other as much as possible in order to make the Western Allies' job that much easier--on both counts.
Most any astute person then had to have known that both were about neck to neck in opposition to what the US believed in. Why help one over the other?

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HaEn
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lend-lease

Post by HaEn » 06 Aug 2004 00:50

Lend-lease was an F.D.R. (Roosevelt) idea. He knew darned well that the Soviets never would pay for any of it, but he had never met a socialist or communist he did not like. He was a great admirer of Joe Stalin. 8O Further it provided "work" in the U.S., heavily drawing on the future earnings of its people. :x (but it looked good on paper "look Ma, no more unemployment") :wink:
Without the hefty infusion of materials and weapons from the U.S. the Soviets would have lost the war against Germany.

HN

alf
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Post by alf » 06 Aug 2004 01:51

Lend Lease was first used for the British, well before "Uncle Joe"

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Tom Houlihan
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Post by Tom Houlihan » 06 Aug 2004 01:55

True, but at least the Brits made some attempt at repayingthe debt, as well as acknowledging and thanking the U.S. Uncle Joe said it kinda helped, and I'm not aware of any repayment plans...

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 07 Aug 2004 00:24

The United Kingdom contineud to pay back its debt to the United States, and in fact completed paying it back just a few years ago.


Harold Wilson said:

Lend-Lease also involved Britain's surrender of her rights and royalties in a series of British technological achievements. Although the British performance in industrial techniques in the inter-war years had been marked by a period of more general decline, the achievements of our scientists and technologists had equalled the most remarkable eras of British inventive greatness. Radar, antibiotics, jet aircraft and British advances in nuclear research had created an industrial revolution all over the developed world. Under Lend-Lease, these inventions were surrendered as part of
the inter-Allied war effort, free of any royalty or other payments from the United States. Had Churchill been able to insist on adequate royalties for these inventions, both our wartime and our post-war balance of payments would have been very different.




Lends Lease was slightly harsh in my opinion. You coudld say that America paid others to fight its wars for it, just as Britain had done in the 19th and 18the centuries.


regards,

Jon G.
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Post by Jon G. » 07 Aug 2004 01:35

The UK (and Australia et al.) did repay their lend-lease debts in full. I am less certain for the USSR. In any case, the lend-lease to the Soviet Union was smaller in both absolute and relative terms. I would not go so far as to say that the Soviets won the war in the east due to lend-lease materials, but it of course helped.

Roosevelt extended a 1 billion $ credit to the Soviet Union as early as August 1941.

The 'lease' part of the lend-lease act does not refer to renting military equipment but rather to 99-year leases on overseas British bases, which the USA retains to this day.

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Post by Goldfish » 07 Aug 2004 01:41

Lend Lease was also one of the major bones of contention between the US and China during the war.

The Chinese were denied Lend Lease initially because of fear of angering Japan. The US was only allowed to give the Chinese medical assistance. Later, China was allowed to use Lend Lease and loans to purchase military supplies, although it was still filtered through various companies to keep if from being obvious. It was this that made it possible for China to purchase the 100 P-40 Tomahawks (originally intended for Britain) that made the "Flying Tigers" a reality.

After Pearl Harbor, the Chinese view was that American involvement meant that they had a "blank check" and could anything they wanted, in whatever quantity, through Lend Lease. The problem was that China was all but blockaded and many of the things China was ordering could not be delivered to China before the war was over (ie Sherman tanks).

Also, General Stilwell was given responsibility for assigning priority for supplies going over the "Hump". The Chinese felt that this meant that Stilwell controlled what China could buy, or could not buy, through Lend Lease. This responsibility was actually in the hands of the Allocation Board back in Washington, but Stilwell allowed the Chinese to think he was in charge in order to use Lend Lease to prod the Chinese into action in Burma. The Chinese government, as a result, thoroughly hated Stilwell.

The US decided that no item should be sent to India for transport to China unless that item could be sent to China within six months of its arrival in India. Also, ownership of the supplies would not be transfered to China until it landed in China. This wa done to keep the Chinese from ordering millions of tons of supplies that would then sit in India until the war was over. It also meant that these supplies could be allocated to British forces in India if an emergency arose. This stemmed from the situation in Burma in 1942 where China had refused the British access to their supplies then rotting on the dock in Rangoon.

The US also had a "payment in kind" (also called "reverse Lend Lease") agreement with Britain and China in which the Indian government would produce items locally for Chinese and American use in exchange for Lend Lease sent to Britain. This is why some units of the Chinese Army in India (CAI) were in British Uniforms with British helmets and web gear, most notably the 22nd Division. China also provided housing, food, etc. for US personnel in exchange for Lend Lease.

Certainly the Chinese would not have been able to clear the Japanese from North China without Lend Lease and would never have been able to mount further offensives in China (had they been needed) without Lend Lease. Certainly Britain and the Soviets would have also been hampered. I suppose more US Divisions could have been raised and equipped had there been no Lend Lease, but Lend Lease instead put weapons and equipment into the hands of veterans that could do the most with it. Regardless of what happened after the war, Lend Lease to Britain, the Soviet Union, China, France, etc. shortened the war and saved a lot of US lives.

Interestingly, a lot of Lend Lease US (and British equipment provided through "reverse Lend Lease") equipment was viewed as inferior to their own items. The Soviets, for example, preferred their own tanks to British and American models.

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Post by Goldfish » 07 Aug 2004 01:43

By the way, I heard that China (Nationalist China in Taiwan) also repaid all of its Lend Lease debt.

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Tom Houlihan
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Post by Tom Houlihan » 07 Aug 2004 02:43

Gorty & Shrek, I stand corrected!

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Post by Darrin » 07 Aug 2004 04:29

Lord Gort wrote:The United Kingdom contineud to pay back its debt to the United States, and in fact completed paying it back just a few years ago.


Harold Wilson said:

Lend-Lease also involved Britain's surrender of her rights and royalties in a series of British technological achievements. Although the British performance in industrial techniques in the inter-war years had been marked by a period of more general decline, the achievements of our scientists and technologists had equalled the most remarkable eras of British inventive greatness. Radar, antibiotics, jet aircraft and British advances in nuclear research had created an industrial revolution all over the developed world. Under Lend-Lease, these inventions were surrendered as part of
the inter-Allied war effort, free of any royalty or other payments from the United States. Had Churchill been able to insist on adequate royalties for these inventions, both our wartime and our post-war balance of payments would have been very different.




Lends Lease was slightly harsh in my opinion. You coudld say that America paid others to fight its wars for it, just as Britain had done in the 19th and 18the centuries.


regards,



Of course the US was fighting the war too. By the end of the war the US had deployed about 60 divs in europe alone. The CW comitment was more like 20 divs even at the end of the war.

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Post by Steady » 08 Aug 2004 15:09

In fact the Soviets tried to pay at least some of their debts to the Allies. There was the incident when the british cruiser Edinburgh was sunk with 10 tons of russian gold on board that was en route to Britain as payment for war supplies.

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 08 Aug 2004 19:18

Gold that likely came by way of Spain's Republican Government no doubt.


Darrin, my point on America paying others to fight for it refers of course to the period prior to American entry to the war, with Britain and the Soviet Union recieving vast supplies, while America was out of the war.



regards,

tonyh
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Re: Lendlease

Post by tonyh » 09 Aug 2004 11:31

Siegfried Wilhelm wrote:Everyone has heard of Lendlease, but on reflection of the meaning of the words I wonder just what the USA got out of it? Did the US ever get paid back for any of that material? If so, when and how much?

"As for the lend-lease act, the numbers I have are these: 45,000 "Willis" jeeps, 29,000 motorcycles, 29,000 locomotives, 12,536 tanks, 17,834 airplanes, 130,500 automatic weapons, 240,000 tons of explosives and ammunition, 13,200 revolvers, 2.5 million tons of petrol and other war materials. Here's something I'm sure you guys won't believe: 34 million uniforms; sewn with Singer sewing machines in the good ol' U.S.A.! There were also X number of warships that the S.U. never returned, even when requested, that I don't have in front of me right now. The question is why?"

It's a good question. Why, that's a lot pf stuff. What did the USA gain from it except perhaps some kind of warm fuzzy feeling...and forty years of cold war.
This thought comes close to more of a 'what if' topic, but wouldn't it have more to America's interests to let the Soviet Union and the Third Reich beat the crap out of each other as much as possible in order to make the Western Allies' job that much easier--on both counts.
Most any astute person then had to have known that both were about neck to neck in opposition to what the US believed in. Why help one over the other?


A huge amount of Soviet blood and the destruction of 80% of the German forces in the ETO.

Not a bad trade off for a bit of war material that contituted less than 15% of the total equipment used by Russia in WWII.

Tony

Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 09 Aug 2004 11:45

Tom wrote:True, but at least the Brits made some attempt at repayingthe debt, as well as acknowledging and thanking the U.S. Uncle Joe said it kinda helped, and I'm not aware of any repayment plans...


Now you are:

Klaus Yurk wrote:What if the US had told Uncle Joe, "Look we just don't trust you to ever pay this stuff back, soooooo there will be no Lend-Lease for you. We'll be glad to sell you anything you want, cash on the barrel, F.O.B the US port. But no credit. You are a bad credit risk." (And indeed, they have never paid back a penny.)


Klaus

That is not correct - Encarta.com says they paid back about 1/3rd by the 1960s, and in 1972 settled the matter (payments through to 2001 - no idea what the status of that is). I think it is quite remarkable that there could have been an agreement on the height of the Cold War.

By August 1945, when the war ended, lend-lease appropriations totaled about $48 billion. The U.S. had received more than $6 billion in reverse lend-lease. Arrangements for the repayments by the recipient nations were begun shortly after hostilities ceased. Except for the Soviet debt, of which less than one-third was repaid, repayment was virtually complete by the late 1960s. The U.S., in 1972, accepted an offer by the Soviet Union to pay $722 million in installments through 2001 to settle the indebtedness.


Encarta Article

I posted this in the 'What-If' forum before.

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Re: Lendlease

Post by Karman » 24 Aug 2004 12:22

Soviets paid their lend-lease debt till 1973 then stopped because of continious discriminating trade regulations USA used against the Soviet Union. In 1973 the Soviet lend-lease debt constituted $674 million. Neither Soviet nor present Russian Gevernment never refused to pay their land-lease debt which at present makes about $100 million. Some years ago there was a conflict between the Moscow administration and American Embassy in Moscow who denied to pay the the rentage offerring to strike it off the lend-lease debt.

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