Study Guide

The Lend-Lease Act Main Idea

By The United States Congress, signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  • Main Idea

    Deal With It

    The Lend-Lease Act was passed because Congress finally came to a majority consensus that President Roosevelt needed the power to send material support to the United Kingdom and other allies fighting against the Axis powers…without the restrictions of the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s.

    In that time of world war and brutal, militant ideologies spreading destruction and suffering around the globe, the President was given a lot of power. America's entry into WWII had begun.

    Questions About Main Idea

    1. What might have happened differently if the Lend-Lease Act wasn't passed…or was somehow delayed? How much of a difference did the material support America sent to its allies make in their resistance and eventual defeat of the German, Italian, and Japanese forces?
    2. Why do humans put so much power in the hands of individuals? Is "good" executive power the only way to fight the "bad" executive power of tyrants? Is a single leader a necessary part of human social organization (for instance, an effective military)?
    3. Could Hitler have been more universally resisted in the years preceding WWII? What else could have been done?
    4. What's the criteria for going to war? What is the line that, once crossed, must be met with complete physical, material, and military resistance from an entire country?

    Chew on This

    Without the successful passage of the Lend-Lease Act, Britain and the Soviet Union would have eventually lost the war to Nazi Germany.

    In hindsight, the Lend-Lease Act should have been enacted much earlier.

  • Brief Summary

    The Set-Up

    The allies of the United States needed help, and Congress decided it was time for the President to be given the power. Short of declaring war, America's industrial centers would be the lifeline of those fighting Fascism.

    The Text

    The Lend-Lease Act gives the President the authority to decide which countries need material support, what to give those countries, and how that material support will be repaid, if at all.

    TL;DR

    The President can decide who gets stuff from America, and what a fair repayment is.

      
  • Questions

    1. Was WWII necessary? Was there ever a point where Hitler's militarism could have been headed off by diplomacy? If it was inevitable, when did it become inevitable?
    2. Were WWI and WWII really different wars? Or was the second a continuation of the first? What were they really about, deep down?
    3. Why did the different variations of fascism have such broad appeal across Europe among different nations and cultures? Is there some sort of fundamental fascism?
    4. What would have happened if FDR lost an election to a pacifist candidate? What if the United States hadn't supplied the Allies or contributed troops when they did?
    5. For people who despise war and hope for world peace, what is the lesson of WWII? Is it that war is sometimes necessary? Or that true pacifism roots out the causes of the "necessity" of war in the first place?

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