Lend Lease - good reference or study?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by 4(T), Nov 27, 2010.

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  1. Has anyone come across a decent definitive book, thesis or research about WW2 Lend Lease?

    I'm primarily interested in the minutiae of the famous US-UK series of Lend-Lease deals, but of course there were many other LL agreements between all of the allied nations.

    I'm after detail such as "what was in", "what was out" (direct UK purchases) and "what was actually out but declared in for political reasons" (pre-December 1941).

    I'm currently in a debate elsewhere with a load of Spams who typically believe the myth that everything that crossed the Atlantic was a kind gift from benevolent Uncle Sam, but I also have long wanted to find an authoritative source about the statistics of war production and transfers.

    Thanks all.
     
  2. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

  3. Quite a succinct appraisal of the scheme here- BBC NEWS | Magazine | What's a little debt between friends?
    I'm afraid your spams might have a point; not a kind gift exactly but cut-price terms for sure. The really precious thing about lend-lease was that it was unambiguous support, when it must have been feared that the isolationists would have their way.
     
  4. Unfortunately, this is where it all gets very complex, contentious and subject to interpretation - hence me looking for an economics/historical thesis that has dug down a bit.

    - the first Lend Lease act (there were many, between all the allies) was in March 1941. Up to then, everything ordered by UK was paid in cash, or secured by various financial instruments (e.g. UK actually had to slow down shipments in winter 1940/41, as we had run out of cash, assets and loans - and the US still believed we were far richer than was actually the case).

    - a large part of the goods listed as supplied under the Mar 41 LL act were still UK cash-purchased, either for political reasons, or again because payment had to be deferred due to UK's impoverishment;

    - one of the principles of LL was the military hardware remained US property and had to be returned - as most of it eventually was. There are different accounts and estimates of how much UK ended up paying to lease equipment or fund losses;

    - the "value for money" issues is also subject to debate. Much of the kit supplied to UK for cash or early LL lease was of WW1 vintage - e.g. it had already been effectively "written off" at the end of its life cycle by the US treasury. It would be a bit like today's UK army paying current defence industry rates but for Vietnam-era equipment. Hence the US arguably made a tidy profit on some stuff.

    - there is finally considerable grounds for debate about the terms, nature and value of the 60-year repayment period, especially since most of the other LL arrangements to/from other countries were written off by the US government - but not to poor old UK!

    Anyway, I'm not challenging LL per se, only trying to uncover details about certain equipments - ie were they UK cash paid, UK cash paid but temporarily listed in LL, delivered under LL with retained US ownership, or delivered under LL and transferred to UK ownership.
     
  5. Have you tried the Hyperwar web site? Go under Diplomatic & Political Documents and there is a fair amount of information regarding LL. The major limitation is that the information is mainly from the US side of the pond. There are some other official histories (New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa) which might have some info.
    Also, for examples of reverse LL, the 31st and 52nd Fighter Groups were re-equipped in the UK with Spitfires before they were deployed for TORCH in North Africa.