Skip to main content

Arsenal of Democracy


Arsenal of Democracy was a phrase used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (18821945) to describe the United States as he tried to arouse popular support for sending military aid to nations fighting against the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan, among others) during World War II (19391942). Reelected to an unprecedented third term in November of 1940, Roosevelt had made an unqualified campaign pledge to keep the U.S. out of the war. But by the end of the year Great Britain lacked sufficient capital to pay for war materials necessary to defend itself against German air and naval attack. Roosevelt, speaking to the nation during a fireside radio broadcast on December 29, 1940, told the American people how their country's security hinged on the survival of Great Britain. The president explained that the United States must become "the great arsenal of democracy" in the struggle against global tyranny and dictatorship. In March 1941 Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act, which gave the chief executive broad authority to provide Britain and its allies with munitions, petroleum, industrial materials, agricultural products, and miscellaneous other goods and services that deemed in the interest of U.S. national defense. Over the next four years the United States provided the Allied cause with 44 million rounds of ammunition, 20 million machine guns and pistols, two million trucks, 107,000 tanks, and 93,000 ships.

See also: Lend-Lease Act, Franklin D. Roosevelt, World War II

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Arsenal of Democracy." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . 26 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Arsenal of Democracy." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . (February 26, 2019).

"Arsenal of Democracy." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Retrieved February 26, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.