True False or ?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Mar 31, 2005.

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  1. Gents below is a reply I got on another board replying to a statement of mine that basically the USA cleaned up Brit/German assets before entiering WW I and that WW II bankrupted UK.
    Any informed comments:- Quote

    "The Uk lost 25% of its wealth in WWI. Up until mid 1941 the USA did a good job of siphoning off as much British wealth, technology and overseas bases as possible. It could be said that Roosevelt's new deal didn't kick start the USA out of depression but the wealth flowing out of the Uk into the USA probably did. The Uk lost approaching 100% of its overseas wealth in WWII - the US insisted that Uk owned companies in the US were liquidated and that Uk owned companies elsewhere were sold for cash. The USA had had its fingers burnt in WWI giving loans to the UK and wasn't going to make the same mistake again. Who could blame her?

    "After two years of war, Roosevelt had drained Britain dry, stripping her of all her assets in the USA, including real estate and property. The British owned Viscose Company, worth £125 million was liquidated, Britain receiving only £87 million (note the lost £63 million was equivalent to the cost of manufacturing 12,600 spitfires at the time). Britain's £1,924 million investments in Canada were sold off to pay for raw materials bought in the United States million. To make sure that Roosevelt got his money, he dispatched the American cruiser, 'Louisville ' to the South African naval base of Simonstown to pick up forty two million Pounds worth of British gold, Britain's last negotiable asset, to help pay for American guns and ammunition. Not content with stripping Britain of her gold and assets, in return for 50 old destroyers, he demanded that Britain transfer all her scientific and technological secrets to the USA. Also, he demanded leases on the islands of Newfoundland, Jamaica, Trinidad and Bermuda for the setting up of American military and naval bases in case Britain should fall."

    The Canadian assets sold off were equivalent to 384,800 spitfires - it is fair to say the USA benefited enormously from the UK's involvement in WWII up to mid 1941 - a fact that has been forgotten by almost everyone on both sides of the Atlantic. Apparently Churchill never could quite get his head around the overriding American foreign policy dictum of following its own self interest. Perhaps it was because his mother was American. I'm not quite sure what self interest the Uk was following fighting Germany after Hitler had offered peace on a plate after the fall of France.

    Anyway, no matter the rights or wrongs of the USA benefiting financially from the wars in Europe it is fair to say that the Uk was on its last legs financially by mid 1941.

    Chamberlain - I have read that in the run up to WWII he was advised by the Ministry of Defence that if he risked war with Germany then Japan would almost certainly attack British possessions in the Far East. He had been told that the Uk had no chance of being successful in both theatres at the same time. Britain needed time to prepare for war and to be fair, under Chamberlain the UK was preparing for war as fast as it could.

    Was he hoping for the best and preparing for the worst?

    Quite clearly on the face of it, with an impartial view of the facts, he was. He was talking peace while feverishly preparing for war."end of quote

    I also understand that it will be 2014 before we have paid off our debts to USA from WW II.
  2. Makes you wonder whether we'd have been better off speaking German.

    Quite an eye opener that one John.
  3. Unfortunately, the boxhead lessons would have been cut short by Uncle Joe's social workers and you and I would be typing these posts in cyrillic on a keyboard held together with five-eighths nuts and bolts.
  4. Just about right. Read AJP Taylor he seems to agree.
  5. The American historian Ambrose makes some good points about this in the World at War documentary series.

    Simply compare Britain and the US in 1914 and again in 1945. 'nuff said really.

  6. This is a common argument John. Some people just refuse to believe that the Americans can do anything for the right reasons and see dark forces everywhere.

    The fact is that in 1940 the Americans had the choice between lending us the goodies (and charging us a reduced rate for the privilege) or not doing so. If they hadn't done so, Britain almost certainly would have fallen and the world's largest empire would then have been picked up by.........the US. They were the only power that could project themselves globally. What's more, the only international competitors that came even halfway close to challenging them, were all busy killing each other. Had Britain fallen the US would have made damned sure that as the Union flag went down, the Stars and Stripes went up. For the most part the colonies would have been happier with the yanks than the alternatives and America would now have 100 extra states, probably including Canada and Australia, but certainly the rest, and be massively more wealthy than it currently is.

    America's actions in 1940 were not entirely free (but then, what's wrong with asking for a loan to be repaid?), but if they were really trying to screw us during our most desperate hour, they didn't do a very good job.
  7. Apart from the fact that I like his avatar, I'm with Awol on this. His opinion strikes a chord with what I have read in the past. The original reply posted by jon is somewhat emotive in languge used - nothing wrong in that but it makes me a bit suspicious of the guy;s interpration of bald facts.
  8. How do you come to that conclusion, Germany would only have one front to fight on. The US would have had to fight from the USSR as the UK (and its technology) would have been German controlled. Also the UK would not have contributed to the Manhattan Project etc. So we would have had German Spitfires, bouncing bombs, radar etc.
  9. The Pact of Steel between Stalin and Hitler was basically a truce of convenience. The Soviet political ambition was both secretive and immense and it was only a question of who broke the terms of the Pact first.

    Had the Germans invaded the UK it would have required the cream of the Wehrmacht to do it. Whilst we were weak on the ground, the Royal Navy would still have had the capability and motivation to destroy an invasion force at sea or inside their bridgehead. You only have to examine the relevant memoirs from people like Speer and Raeder to know that the German Army demanded a wide frontage to deny the defending forces the ability to form the concentration of force needed to defeat the invasion ashore whilst the Kriegsmarine maintained that they could only ensure the security of an invasion force on a narrow front.

    Given the resistance put up by us during the Battle of France -- and before anyone makes any jibes about full scale retreats I would recommend that you read up on actions like Hazebrouck, Cassell (Oxf & Bucks) and Calais (30 Bde) where regular and TA formations held up the German advance for days whilst inflicting serious casualties -- a fight on home territory would have been a very bloody affair.

    Guderian and Rommel were quite open about the inherent weaknesses of the German Army of 1940 but Hitler became intoxicated with a sense of his own invincibility following the successes in Poland, Norway and the Low countries.

    There is reason to believe that had the Soviets moved against the West in the months after such a clash, no credible resistance could have been mounted by the Germans. Indeed some historians have postulated that had Stalin siezed his chance during Sealion, Hitler could have been forced to make a hasty peace and alliance with us. Now how bizarre would that have been!

    His long term plans -- according to Halder -- did not include the subjugation of the British unless absolutely necessary. He realised that the best people to run the British Empire would be the British and that an alliance would be by far the better outcome. Hitler held off making his victory speech to the Reichstag for some time until he was reluctantly convinced that the British would not either fall in line or go quietly.

    Incidentally, I am interested to know more about US ambitions in former British colonies. FDR conducted his entire war around the principle that the outcome should see the end of empirical rule...including the British one. He intended to use the industrial and military might of the US to impose a new world order in the shape of the UN. What he miscalculated was the extent of Soviet political ambition, possibly because he did not heed Churchills repeated warnings. The whole idea behind Churchill's Greek campaign was to shove a western iron fist into the Balkans to dissuade Stalin from what he eventually succeeded in doing -- namely creating a slavonic buffer zone around himself...hang on...

    STOOOOP! UNLOAD! Apply safety catch and step away from the Rant.

    I just read your post again WH. You thought I meant Uncle Sam didn't you? Sorry, if I say Uncle Joe Stalin does that make any more sense of my original post?
  10. The person who made the reply to me, his 'profile' suggests he is Scots and he says he is in education. He has not comeback to another statement I made on this or one other subject, but has done 155 posts since 2002.
    For several years I have been very intrested in the decline of UK, rise of USA and I now beleive I have a grandstand seat on the rapid fall of the American empire.
    I have refered to King George II as such since 9/11 and I have 'provoked' US citizens with comments for even more years.
    10-15 years ago I read that in 1938 the main US war games of that year where to stimulate a projected invasion from the only world power capable of invading, Britian ! in a pincer move from Canada and West Indies.
    100 years ago Britian had the worlds largest navy and we where on the Gold standard.
    Yesterday Matihir Mohammed suggested the US $ would fall very soon, wishful thinking, I do beleive.
    Current US financial policy is frieghtning, Chiana must be laughing to the bank.
  11. Has anyone here ever read Len Deighton's XPD?

    For the history buffs, Churchill was in France from June 11th to the 13th I think.
  12. I had an e-mail from my 85 year old former RE major to whom I sent a copy of the original message. He was born and spent his childhood in Argentina and is very knowledgeable on matters argy and takes a great intrest in all UK events.
    "Many thanks for the info quoted and your comments.   I knew that the UK had to sell all its interest in Argentina (railways, meat factories, etc) but had no idea of the  extent of the stripping of its assets elsewhere totalled almost 100%.   Am glad you have told me about this. "
    End of quote
  13. Maybe Britain and the Commonwealth just shouldn't have bothered with WW1?
    Could the "Russian revolution" have been prevented, or even have happened, then?
    Would Hitler still have risen to the position that he did after?
    Was France grateful anyway?
  14. According to Alistair Horne in 'To lose a battle' (about fall of France - a damned good read), Churchill was there offering 'an indisolluble union between Britain and France'.

    Not seen this mentioned elsewhere, and didn't follow up his sources Must re-read now the web tells us everything..... I wonder how events would have turned out if this had been accepted by les Grenouilles?.
  15. At the end of the day "What ifs" are only "what ifs" history has happened. My point is that had the UK and Germany been an alliance (not saying it should have been 8O ) then Russia would be speaking German/British and the yanks would not be the only big player, however Canada might have been in trouble :wink: