Sunday, March 11, 2012
March 11, 1941, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Bill into effect, providing military supplies and other forms of assistance to the Allies fighting Germany and Japan, particularly Great Britain, even before the United States officially enters World War II. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had warned that Britain cannot pay up front for military aid—which would have precluded it from receiving any under U.S. law—so FDR proposes the Lend-Lease Program that allows more flexible payment options. By this time, France has surrendered to Germany and the Lend-Lease Program serves to greatly boost morale in the U.K. The program is also a key step toward the United States eventually entering World War II.
Last Thursday, a panel of senior U.K. lawmakers warned of a potential loosening of military ties between the United States and Britain as Washington shifts its focus away from Western Europe. Recently, U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to change the U.S. military’s focus to the Asia-Pacific region as a result of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down. A panel of U.K. lawmakers urged British PM David Cameron to “reflect deeply on the long term implications” of the U.S. shifting its attention away from Europe.