Cash and carry (World War II)

Cash and carry (World War II)

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Cash and carry was a policy requested by U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a special session of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 on September 21, 1939, as World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was spreading throughout Europe. It replaced the Neutrality Acts of 1936. The revision allowed the sale of materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 to belligerents, as long as the recipients arranged for the transport using their own ships and paid immediately in cash, assuming all risk in transportation. The purpose was to hold neutrality between the United States and European countries while still giving aid to Britain, exploiting the fact that Germany had no funds and could not reliably ship across the British-controlled Atlantic. Various policies forbade selling implements of war or lending money to belligerent countries under any terms. The U.S. economy was rebounding at this time, following the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, but there was still a need for industrial manufacturing jobs. The cash and carry program helped to solve this issue and in turn Great Britain benefited from the purchase of arms and other goods.

This program also prevented U.S. businesses interests backing the success or failure of any warring nation. Because of the conclusion of the Nye Committee
Nye Committee
The Nye Committee, officially known as the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, was a committee of the United States Senate which studied the causes of United States' involvement in World War I...

, which asserted that United States involvement in World War I was driven by private interests from arms manufacturers, many Americans believed that investment in a belligerent would eventually lead to American participation in war.

U.S. shipping interests were forbidden from entering into conflict zones.

This act also made sure that the U.S. did not give away all its supplies and rations.


Despite its success, this policy soon left the Allies (especially China) short on cash and this forced U.S. leaders to revise the plan. The revised plan was known as the Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 program, in which the European allies didn't have to pay cash or arrange transportation any longer. Instead, the U.S. would demand payment at a later time.

In keeping with the Monroe Doctrine
Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of the United States introduced on December 2, 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention...

, the U.S. did not actively participate in the war until both Japan and Germany declared war on the U.S., after which they switched from allied assistance to active engagement.

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