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Re-Evaluating Lend-Lease

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Jon, Oct 27, 2001.

  1. Jon

    Jon Member

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    I have noticed people have very different opinions regarding Lend-Lease. Some people are of the opinion that Lend-Lease was insignificant. I believe that Lend-Lease was more important than people think.
    Yes, a lot of the tanks and weapons were inferior to the Russian ones, but it is the other material provided by Lend-Lease that is the most significant. The other material gave the Russians the chance to use their industries for the main purpose of producing tanks and other weapons. How many T34's would have been produced if the Russian industry was burdened with having to produce the things Lend-Lease was providing? Check out some of the following numbers:
    -9,214 tanks, tank destroyers and Sp Guns
    -12,230 aircraft
    -4,111 20mm and 40mm AA guns
    -434,000 trucks
    -28,000 jeeps
    -5,500 artillery tractors
    -330,000 field telephones
    -2,670,000tons of petroleum products including 476,000 tons of aviation fuel
    -5,500,000 pairs of boots
    -25,000,000 yards of uniform cloth
    -1,045 locomotives
    -8,260 wagons
    -218,000 tons of various explosives
    -1,200,000 tons of steel
    -26,000 machine-tools
    -etc.etc.etc.
    Some people are also of the opinion that the Soviet Union could of defeated Germany alone. I disagree with this. People use as their reason, they say, look at the successes achieved before D-Day, without Allied help. I have several arguments against this.
    Firstly, would those achievements have been possible if the FULL might of the German Armed Forces have been arrayed against Russia? What I mean is, if Germany did not have to watch her back, if Britain had been eliminated. No Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht forces in France and North Africa.
    Secondly, those victories, like Stalingrad and Kursk etc., were NOT achieved without Allied help. During Stalingrad, for example, major Luftwaffe forces were in North Africa as well as Two Panzer Divisions. There was also Two Panzer Divisions in France. During Kursk as well, there were many Luftwaffe units in the West, as well as several Panzer Divisions. And remember the Kursk offensive was called off when the Allies invaded Sicily.
    What difference would a few Panzer Divisions have made, you ask? Well, three SS Panzer Divisions made all the difference during Manstein's Kharkov Counter-Attack. One Panzer Division ( the 11th PzDiv.) made all the difference on the Chir River in December 1942 holding the front-line open.
    What would have been the difference in the East, if there had been always a Mobile Reserve of a few Panzer Divisions, waiting to come to the rescue in the event of any crisis??
    Anybody feel free to comment! I am open to anyones suggestions or opinions! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Jon Fitzgerald
    Calgary,AB,Canada
     
  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Lend Lease eh?

    I feel it was very significant to the war effort in Europe.

    My grandfather was a Captain of a Merchant Marine ship--the SS Fort Lee. I dont know how many convoys he made, but as his war service indicates (by his decorations) he was all over the globe.

    He shipped anything from small arms-to medicines-to fuel oil to food, blankets, GMC Trucks, Willies Jeeps, artillery ammo etc.

    He made more than a few trips to Murmansk and off loaded what ever it was he had. If the Russians not had all those trucks--jeeps etc, they never could have mounted as large scale of attacks as they did. No doube the Germans would have forught them to a standstill or flat out-made uncle joe sue for peace.

    My father, flew aircraft over to Russia too.
     
  3. Lord Lovat

    Lord Lovat Member

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    lend-lease= americas way of rpofiting from war.

    Jon is right Russia couldnt have beat Germany on her own mainly due to the fact that germany couldnt fully commit to a sole war against her and had to fight and gaurd many other places at the same time-this was probably britain biggest contribution to the winning of WW2, geography.
     
  4. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys!

    C.Evans: Wow your Grandfather was a Merchant Marine Captain! Those guys did an amzing job! I don't believe they are given enough recognition for what they did.

    Lord Lovat: I have noticed that people also do not give enough credit to the Western Allies- Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The Merchant Marines, who brought the Lend-Lease to Russia, should be recognized more. So, the Western Allies were doing there part while Russia and Germany were going at it!
    Jon Fitzgerald
    Calgary,AB,Canada
     
  5. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    But Russia did determine her own destiny. She had already beaten the Germans during Op Typhoon, the last push on Moscow. The first Lend-Lease shipments of any value to the Russians did not arrive until well into '42, after the danger of Russia immediately folding had passed.
    Lend-lease helped the USSR to win the war faster, and with less casualties. Without Lend-lease they most likely still would have been on the winning side.
     
  6. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Dear Jon: Many thanks! and sometime when I get offa my lazy backside, I will send some photos of him in the MM and photos of some of his awards to post here--just for the heck of it. [​IMG]
     
  7. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Tally-I have to digress. Lend lease was going on in a big and growing way much earlier than that. The bigger push for Lend lease started late '39 or early '40. My grandfather risked his neck several times before the USA entered the war proper, in delivering GMCs Jeeps-food, tractors-etc.

    To L Lovat: eEVERY country profits in one way or another from war--its a fact--sad as it may be. Germany-Japan-Italy-and all, DID profit in ways from the war. Switzerland REALLY profited from the fighting and dying too. They aint as neutral as is believed--forgive my my friends from Switzerland if you read this. ;)
     
  8. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Hey Guys!!

    C.Evans: Hey those photos sound cool! Can't wait to see them!!

    Talleyrand: Hey I respect your opinion but I will have to disagree, dude! Germany was stopped during Typhoon, but not defeated. They stopped the Russian counterattack and were ready for another big offensive by the next summer. But we are all entitled to our own opinions, so cheers dude!!

    Jon Fitzgerald
    Calgary,AB,canada
     
  9. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    There were NO Lend Lease shipments to the USSR in 1939. Nor were there any in 1940. The USSR had a non-agression pact with Germany, a sympathetic state to Nazi Germany, and not deemed worthy of war goods.
    As 1941 was well under way when the USSR was embroiled in the war no major shipments could be made.
    I have also talked in depth with a member of the merchant marine during lend-lease. Gundar Runnolfsson, a friends father, an Icelander who was on several ships during the operations.
    You have only to look at the fate of PQ-17 to understand the hardships faced by allied convoys early in the war. This is one reason the Iranian connection was used. The amount of work required to cut the roads to haul the arms to the Soviets from Iran ate much of the resources of this path also. During Stalingrad the arms flowing up from Iran helped a great deal. Until this, Lend-Lease had little effect on the war at large. This was the fall of '42. The German army was already bogged down. The war had been lost by Germany.

    Again most of the weapons shipped to the Russians were equipment Western armies had little use for. Water cooled machine guns, WWI era field pieces, and other left over equipment made up most of the early shipments. When the British figured out the Tetrach and Harry Hopkins tanks were worthless they shipped the bulk of them to the USSR.
    A factory that builds trucks cannot build tanks. The Soviets had already put priority one on tank and AFV production. The radios and trucks the US and UK provided were mere gravy.
    The German offensive of '42 was in no way the crushing blow the operations of '41 had been. The fuel, supply, and transport problems faced by the Germans doomed the '42 offensive to failure, not particularly the actions of the Red Army. In March of '42 Soviet medium tank production was already double of German production, let alone the light tanks which were being built in droves.
    American radios,trucks, and especially trains allow the Soviets to use the Germans foundering supply problem to their advantage, putting a supply infrastructure in place, and allowing for Soviet advances.
    Without Lend Lease the Soviets at worse, might, and I stress, might, lose at Stalingrad. This still means the Germans hold Stalingrad in the Winter of '43. But at this point what would the Germans do with it? Things were already going bad elsewhere. A total lack of Lend Lease would probably prolong the war, the Soviets not being able to gather the resources they would need for the large long advances on the East Front, but neither could the Germans. The East Front could be a terrible stalemate.
    The most overlooked part of Lend Lease was locomotives, rail, and rolling stock. Of all the track laid, locomotives put in service, and rolling stock used nearly 90% of it came from the US. This infrastructure was built throughout '43 and '44 for the great pushes on Germany. Without it the USSR may have not been able to deliver the death blows to Hitlerite Germany. Again though, the Germans had already lost the war at this point, barring alien invasion.

    [ 29 October 2001: Message edited by: talleyrand ]
     
  10. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Thank you everyone for your responses!

    Now that everyone has stated their opinions of Lend-Lease, can I ask everyone for their opinions regarding the second part of my question?

    If Germany had defeated Britain before attacking the Soviet Union, what do you think would have been the outcome? If the full might of the Wehrmacht had been put up against the Soviet Union! No Lend-Lease, no Western Front, no threat of a Western Front, just one on one, between the great ones!!!

    Cheers dudes!!! [​IMG] :D [​IMG] ;)

    Jon Fitzgerald
    Calgary,AB,Canada
     
  11. Lord Lovat

    Lord Lovat Member

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    every countreis profit from war eh. well no one did as much as usa rhanks to things like lend lease. and some countries profit from the war, if any was extremle poor and of litle comfort when how much was lost is taken into account, Poland for one. briatain and france were hardly better off for it.
     
  12. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    Actually, the US recieved less than 1% of the total bill for lend-lease. The US spent somewhere around $20 Billion, in 1942 dollars, on lend lease shipments. This figure is the total of all lend-lease. Britain herself recieved more Lend-Lease goods than the USSR did, plus goods shipped to China, France, etc.
    How America made great profit from this, I fail to see. The US footed the bill.
     
  13. Lord Lovat

    Lord Lovat Member

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    ur right britain recived way more than russia britain and her commonwealth got nearly $30 billion about 10 billlion was repaid ussr got about $11 billion and repaid about a third

    [ 30 October 2001: Message edited by: Lord Lovat ]
     
  14. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    For Jon, Tally and L. Lovat:

    Jon: Many thanks--i'll try to get the photos sent to Otto later this week.

    Tally: There were lend lease shipments going to Russia before 41. My grandfather was one who sailed to many ports in the late 1930's and early 1940s. He did go to about 50 or so countries before the outbreak of the war.

    He did take lend lease goods to Russia, (unofficially) in 1939-1040. These were things like tractors-rubber tires, medicines etc. The proof I have is in his many many letters to my grandmother and my mother, his telegrams and his ships log.

    In 1939, Lend lease goods were shipped to the UK, and transferred to Uk ships or the US ships had UK flags on their masts. This really incensed the Germans, because they knew we were in their opinion, we were illeaglly transporting goods to nations they were at war with.

    The first ship that my grandfather was on that was torpedoed was in 1939 or 1940. This ship was on its way from the UK to the USSR with American lendlease goods on board--MILITARY goods at that.

    My mother told me this story many times. That on this voyage that his ship was sunk, before he sailed out of New York, my mother gave him her toy doll made of porcelin, to my grandfather, to keep as good luck during the trip. Well, this doll is now at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean, and has been since sometime in 1939 or 1940.

    During this incident, when all survivors were in lifeboats--the German uboat responsible for sinking his ship, approached his lifeboat. The Germans were looking for the ships Captain.

    My granfather was the ships Captain, and had changed into a regular ratings uniform. Supposedly at that time--supposedly, there was an order to all uboat commanders that they were to capture ships captains who survived the sinkings of their ships.

    Being that my grandfather is Norwegian, and also meaning that he was from an occupied country--meant that if he was captured--he would be shot as a traitor--by the Germans.

    This is why he changed uniforms. Anyway, the Germans approached, and asked who and where the ships Captain was, and were told that he went down with his ship. The Germans believed it, and after questioning these men--gave them some provisions and radioed their position and left. (I havent thought of this in a loooooooong time)

    For L.Lovat: True, the USA did profit from the war. Here is what we actually had a profit on: 1) The use of military bases in England, and a few elsewhere. 2) Jobs were created at home and abroad.

    One thing that seems to be "forgotten" here is the fact that, the USA has forgiven all the debts that France, and elsewhere have not bothered to pay on nor tried to pay for--from ww2. And just who pays for these debts??--THE US TAXPAYER pays for these debts.

    The USA did make SOME financial profit from the war as EVERYONE else did. A business sells a product needed elsewhere and wallah--they made more money. That is the only profit made and was by manufacturers of these products that were BOUGHT by the US Govt and given FREELY to forign Govts.

    Yes--we gave the UK 50 Destroyers from ww1, this was so we could have military bases in England and the UK. The 50 Destroyers deal was done because England really needed some bolstering of her position and this was probably the best way to do it--to help bolster the RN, as they were for a good portion of the war, the UKs most vital service. They needed ships more than food.

    May I ask you--where and what exactly did you hear about the USA gaining huge amounts of profit and from what? the US taxpayer paid dearly for all of the lend lease sent.

    Im not trying to insult you but just trying to make sure the full facts are known. ;)

    [ 30 October 2001: Message edited by: C.Evans ]
     
  15. Lord Lovat

    Lord Lovat Member

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    i never meant the usa profited majorly in a finacail sense but they did profit more than any other county. after ww2 america emereged as the new global superpower where as some one like britian lost its role in the world it was battered, in debt lost its empire and economy was in ruins france had to set about reconstructing irs country almost from scratch whereas amerca just went from streght to strengh and most certanly wasnt out of pocket thats wot i meant
     
  16. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Lend Lease was a significant contribution to the Soviets and the number one item that contributed to their victories was the deuce and half truck. Once received in great numbers, it gave them optimum mobility allowing their infantry to keep up with the tanks. The Germans at this stage were limited to foot and horses. Without these trucks, the Germans would have had time allotted to perform short withdrawals and saved many more men from the gulags.

    Second part, initially not change but it would depend on if Hitler would have repeated his mistake and declared war on the U.S. If so, I think the U.S. would have put the Pacific as a higher priority and the war in Europe would have not ended in 45 but perhaps in 47. This is assuming there was no lend lease. I believe Churchhill was the Soviet's advocate on this. My 2 cents worth
     
  17. Cliff Weirmeir

    Cliff Weirmeir Member

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    A big hello to you all, you don't hear from me often but in this case, I see alot of things being mentioned here as going to Russia on lend lease, why has the Canadian Valentine tank not been mentioned anywhere here....We here in Canada sent 1,390 of very manoeuverable little things over to the Soviet Union they were smaller and much lighter than the T-34 but served with there purpose very well in supporting the Infantry attacks....again just my thoughts..
     
  18. Ron

    Ron Member

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lord Lovat:
    i never meant the usa profited majorly in a finacail sense but they did profit more than any other county. after ww2 america emereged as the new global superpower where as some one like britian lost its role in the world it was battered, in debt lost its empire and economy was in ruins france had to set about reconstructing irs country almost from scratch whereas amerca just went from streght to strengh and most certanly wasnt out of pocket thats wot i meant<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The US came out a superpower because it had the industrial strenght to build war materials for itself AND for it's allies...thus fighting with and profiting from it's own production. Countries like Britian and France did not have the ability to produce like the US so thus were customers of US goods...and were put into debt by there own production.
    Not to mention the fact that Britian and france suffered from bombings (especially france obviosly) The US suffered nothing in that respect.
    It really comes down to this...the US had the ability to produce vast amounts of military goods..it would be VERY humane for the US to just "donate" these items...but if that were the case eventually the US's economy would fall if it constantly put out without income.
    Thanks to US production, after france was liberated...it fought the germans out of it's country along with her US and British allies with mostly American equipment. Thanks to US mass production and selling of equipmemt, in this case to France. Also don't forget the US liberty ships that "fed" Britian.
    The war was won basiclly because of the US's ability to manufactor on a mass scale...it would not have been able to keep that pace up without killing it own economy without actually selling the equipment.
     
  19. Ron

    Ron Member

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    oh and as for who would win Germany or Russia...hmm
    i think the Soviets would have won but the war would have lasted much longer. The germans would have captured Moscow..but the Soviets would never surrender just because Moscow was captured...i think overtime...the vastness of Russia and the neverending supply of Men would have slowly ground the germans to a halt.
    Eventually the germans would slowly be pushed back as the soviets grew in strength.
    The only way for the germans to have won was to destroy the Soviets ability to produce weopons..whether this would have been realistic i don't know enough to say. But for the germans to win they would need to kill their industry. Otherwise the soviets would eventually have overwhelmed them.
     
  20. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    Those shipments prior to '42 were not Lend Lease. They were Cash and carry. Russia had to pay for the merchandise prior to delivery.
    One thing to point out, after September 3 1939 the Germans could sink English flag vessels at will. US vessells were protected neutral ships. Why fly the Union Jack :confused:
    The US sold and shipped goods to everyone prior to her entry in the war.
    The US forgave all Lend Lease debts in the late '40's. The repayments that were made were really of no consequence and can be written off as actual non-payments, as far more Marshall Plan money was flowing into each one of the paying countries than their debt repayments. Those Marshall plan debts were also later forgotten. The repayments were factored into a countries Marshall plan benefit, no so one actually paid. As they couldnt afford to.
    I have always heard that Russian debt repayments were token and small, not nearly a third of actual debt. Thomas in his Cold War beginnings treatise, Armed Truce, states this. If you have any more info I would like to read it, as post war relations are of great interest to me. Stalin thought it a slap in the face that the US would even ask for the money after all the Russian blood spilled on the East Front.
    The US emerged on top for a single reason.
    It was the only world power whose infrastructure, production facilities, and capital were not destroyed by the war. US native soil was shelled by a single submarine and subjected too two attempted forest fire bombs. Compare this to the damage inflicted on every other industrial nation on the planet, and those countries loss of capital and life compared to relative US losses.

    [ 30 October 2001: Message edited by: talleyrand ]
     

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