Angel Portillo

Why Today Matters

Why Today Matters is written by Berryville resident Angel Portillo. Portillo is an undergrad at University of Arkansas, seeking his bachelor's degree in History. His column appears in the Tuesday Midweek edition of Carroll County News. He can be reached at aporae@gmail.com.


Aug. 21, 1945: The end of a program that lent a big hand

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Last week's article talked about the official day that World War II ended. Well, today, this article will focus on a vital program that essentially helped win the war. This program is the Lend-Lease Program. It was officially ended on Aug. 21, 1945 by President Truman. However, by this time the Lend-Lease Program had already accomplished its goal.

So what was this Lend-Lease Program and why am I saying it was so important in winning World War II? First of all, we need to review some quick facts about the war.

Officially it started in Sept. 1, 1939. By 1940, however, Germany had already defeated France. This left Great Britain fighting alone and with desperate need of supplies. The U.S. was still looking back 25 years ago when it got involved in the turmoil of the "Great War." The nation was determined to stay neutral and stay out of the conflict.

Winston Churchill, the prime minister of England, had been begging Congress for help, but his attempts had been null. Finally, during the Battle of Britain in January 1941, it seemed like the English were going to be absorbed into the Nazi Regime.

This pushed Franklin D. Roosevelt to ask Congress to approve the Lend-Lease Program. Congress almost unanimously supported this plan, and it gave FDR power to lend money and weapons to Great Britain, so it could defend itself from the terrible Nazi menace.

This program was not only intended for Great Britain, but also to the Soviet Union, the conquered France, and the struggling China, who was waging a war against the Japanese. In all, $50.1 billion was given to these nations. In today's world that amount equals $647 billion!

By the end of the year 1941, the U.S. would be forced to enter the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. The money and supplies the U.S. provided to its allies through the Lend-Lease Program was significant.

The truth was that Germany was overpowering Europe and the aid the U.S. provided helped these countries to defend themselves.

The entrance of the United States would also be to their advantage. By the time the Lend-Lease Program was shut down on Aug. 21, 1945, it had done its deed.

Thanks to the Lend-Lease Program, the Nazi Regime was brought down, and it did not win World War II.