Skip to main content

Lend‐Lease Act and Agreements

Lend‐Lease Act and Agreements (1941).When the British could no longer pay cash for arms and munitions in December 1940, after the presidential election Franklin D. Roosevelt suggested leasing or lending war supplies to those fighting the Axis. He likened it to lending a garden hose to a neighbor whose house was burning. Once the fire was out, said FDR, “he gives it back to me and thanks me very much,” or, if damaged, he replaced it. For three months Americans debated the Lend‐Lease bill in Congress. Isolationists condemned it as leading America into another European war, as in World War I. But many Americans saw the need to aid Britain and China against Germany and Japan. Numbering the bill H.R. 1776 gave it a patriotic aura, and Lend‐Lease eventually passed by a 60–31 vote in the Senate and 317–71 in the House.

Signed into law on 11 March 1941, Lend‐Lease permitted the president to “sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of” defense articles to “any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.” Congress initially appropriated $7 billion, with a total expenditure of more than $50 billion by the end of World War II. The British received the lion's share, $31.6 billion in Lend‐Lease aid. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Roosevelt provided Lend‐Lease to the USSR, $11 billion, without which “the war would have been lost,” as Josef Stalin admitted. That “most unsordid act,” as Winston S. Churchill called Lend‐Lease, turned the United States into the “arsenal of democracy” that forged victory in World War II.
[See also Isolationism; World War II: Military and Diplomatic Course.]


Warren F. Kimball , The Most Unsordid Act: Lend‐Lease, 1939–1941, 1969.

J. Garry Clifford

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

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Lend‐Lease Act and Agreements." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . 21 Aug. 2019 <>.

"Lend‐Lease Act and Agreements." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . (August 21, 2019).

"Lend‐Lease Act and Agreements." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved August 21, 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.