30
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-30-2008: Lend-Lease

October 30, 1941

FDR approves Lend-Lease aid to the USSR

On this day in 1941, President Roosevelt, determined to keep the United States out of the war while helping those allies already mired in it, approves $1 billion in Lend-Lease loans to the Soviet Union. The terms: no interest and repayment did not have to start until five years after the war was over.

The Lend-Lease program was devised by President Roosevelt and passed by Congress on March 11, 1941. Originally, it was meant to aid Great Britain in its war effort against the Germans by giving the chief executive the power to “sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of” any military resources the president deemed ultimately in the interest of the defense of the United States. The reasoning was: If a neighbor was successful in defending his home, the security of your home was enhanced.

Although the Soviet Union had already been the recipient of American military weapons, and now had been promised $1 billion in financial aid, formal approval to extend the Lend-Lease program to the USSR had to be given by Congress. Anticommunist feeling meant much heated debate, but Congress finally gave its approval to the extension on November 7.

By the end of the war, more than $50 billion in funds, weapons, aircraft, and ships had been distributed to 44 countries. After the war, the Lend-Lease program morphed into the Marshall Plan, which allocated funds for the revitalization of “friendly” democratic nations–even if they were former enemies.

“FDR approves Lend-Lease aid to the USSR.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Oct 2008, 12:20 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6633.

On This Day

1817 – The independent government of Venezuela was established by Simon Bolivar.

1831 – Escaped slave Nat Turner was apprehended in Southampton County, VA, several weeks after leading the bloodiest slave uprising in American history.

1938 – Orson Welles’ “The War of the Worlds” aired on CBS radio. The belief that the realistic radio dramatization was a live news event about a Martian invasion caused panic among listeners.

1943 – In Moscow, a declaration was signed by the Governments of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and China called for an early establishment of an international organization to maintain peace and security. The goal was supported on December 1, 1943, at a meeting in Teheran.

1945 – The U.S. government announced the end of shoe rationing.

1953 – General George C. Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1961 – The Soviet Union tested a hydrogen bomb with a force of approximately 58 megatons.

1961 – The Soviet Party Congress unanimously approved an order to remove Joseph Stalin’s body from Lenin’s tomb.

1975 – The New York Daily News ran the headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” The headline came a day after U.S. President Gerald R. Ford said he would veto any proposed federal bailout of New York City.

October 30, 1953

Eisenhower approves NSC 162/2

On October 30, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approves National Security Council Paper No. 162/2 (NSC 162/2). The top secret document made clear that America’s nuclear arsenal must be maintained and expanded to meet the communist threat. It also made clear the connection between military spending and a sound American economy.

The paper began by warning that the Soviet Union already possessed sufficient atomic weapons and delivery capabilities to inflict a “crippling blow to our industrial base and our continued ability to prosecute a war.” While in the short-term such action by the Soviets seemed unlikely, this did not mean that the United States could afford to slacken its efforts to stockpile “sufficient atomic weapons.” In specific situations, the United States should “make clear to the USSR and Communist China…its intention to react with military force against any aggression by Soviet bloc armed forces.” Nuclear weapons should be “as available for use as other weapons.”

NSC 162/2 indicated the growing reliance of the United States on its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to communist aggression during the Eisenhower years. It also suggested that concerns were being raised about the ability of the American economy to support both a booming domestic standard of living and massive military expenditures. Its approval by the President was a definite sign of his so-called “New Look” foreign policy that depended on more cost efficient nuclear weapons to fight the Cold War.

“Eisenhower approves NSC 162/2.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Oct 2008, 12:15 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2469.

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