At the beginning of the 30s, the United States chose an international posture of neutrality, responding to an important desire of American public opinion not to allow itself to be dragged into a new European war. From 1939, however, President Roosevelt imposed the Cash and Carry system, allowing Western allies of the United States such as the United Kingdom and France to order military equipment produced by US industry to strengthen their own capabilities. in the face of the rise in power of the German and Italian armies in Europe, and the Japanese in the Pacific, as long as they are immediately paid in dollars or gold. At the end of the Battle of France, however, it became obvious to President Roosevelt that the United States could not maintain this posture of neutrality for long, without risking seeing the Axis impose itself on the whole of Eurasia. . In February 1941, as the Battle of Britain raged, the Roosevelt Administration proposed an innovative new financial and industrial device to support the British war effort, lend-lease, allowing the allies of the United States to receive military and civilian materials intended to support the war effort against the Axis, with particularly flexible payment terms, either in the form of credit, rental with final return, barter of raw materials or territories .
At the end of the Second World War, Lend-Lease, or Lend-Lease in English, allowed the United States to provide its allies with almost $50 billion worth of equipment, the equivalent of $500 billion today. today. Great Britain was the main beneficiary of this system with more than $31 billion in equipment, including more than 350 ships, followed by the Soviet Union with $11 billion, and Free France with $3,2 billion. All these countries paid dearly for this mechanism, in particular the United Kingdom which only finished paying the loan interest in the mid-70s, and which lost many commercial and territorial advantages in this negotiation. In total, 36 countries benefited from this system, which undoubtedly played a decisive role in the Allied victory over the Axis forces, and in the geopolitical reorganization that followed the end of the Second World War.
In fact, the announcement made by the US Senate yesterday regarding the unanimous vote of the reactivation of the Lend-Lease system to deal with Russia, carries a historical and political dimension of great importance. If the law were to be voted in turn by the House of Representatives, and even if it is unlikely that this will occur before the two weeks of parliamentary recess which will begin next Tuesday, it would in fact make it possible to considerably speed up the procedures administrative provisions allowing Ukraine to order American military equipment, while offering Kyiv very significant short-term budgetary flexibility to reinforce and equip its armies, including heavy American equipment such as combat aircraft, anti-aircraft systems and anti-missiles, ships and armored vehicles. This law would also allow other allied countries to increase their imports of US military equipment, including when the country's economic commitments are unfavorable, in order to be able, for example, to quickly transfer Soviet-made equipment to Ukraine.
The rest of this article is for subscribers only
Full-access articles are available in the “ Free Items“. Subscribers have access to the full Analyses, OSINT and Synthesis articles. Articles in the Archives (more than 2 years old) are reserved for Premium subscribers.
From €6,50 per month – No time commitment.