How did the American government support England's fight against Germany before actually declaring war?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Long before the US actually was drawn into World War II, Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt thought that Germany was going to become a threat to the United States.  Because of this, he started trying to think of ways to help the British in their fight with Germany.

Some ways that he did this include:

  • The destroyers for bases deal where we gave the British some old destroyers in return for some naval bases in the Caribbean.
  • The Lend-Lease program where we "lent" them various military supplies (we said we were loaning them to get around laws prohibiting us from selling to them).
  • Using American warships to escort convoys over to near England.  The US warships weren't supposed to attack German subs, but they did radio British ships to tell them where subs were.
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

FDR promised he would give Britain "All aid short of war" in the summer and fall of 1940.  On of his first programs, in addition to the later ones mentioned above, was the "Cash and Carry" program.

Congress was reluctant to vote for aid to England because they did not want to be draw into the war.  The population  of America was isolationist, having just emerged from the Great Depression. "Cash" meant that Britain would pay for any weapons purchases in full. "Carry" meant that they would carry these weapons on their own ships, so that American ships would not be sunk, drawing us into war as well.

It worked great until Britain ran out of both cash and escort ships, and then we had to proceed to the aid steps mentioned in the previous post.