MOSCOW, 11 Mar – RIA Novosti. The Lend-Lease program, initiated by the US leadership during the Second World War, seriously helped the Soviet Union, but did not become a key factor in the defeat of Nazi Germany – Washington transferred most of the weapons to the USSR after a radical change in the Second World War, the scientific director of the Russian military-historical Society Mikhail Myagkov.
Exactly 80 years ago – on March 11, 1941, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a law to ensure the protection of the United States, better known as the “Lend-Lease Act” (from the English lend – “lend” and lease – “lease”) providing assistance to the allied countries in the anti-Hitler coalition in the form of supplies of military equipment, ammunition, fuel, raw materials and food. In total, during the operation of the program, aid was provided in the amount of about $ 50 billion at the rate of that time. “Of course, the assistance provided by the United States and other Western allies under the Lend-Lease program played a large role in the overall victory, but it was not decisive. It should be noted that most of the supplies to the Soviet Union were made only after a radical turning point in World War II. Aid before the Moscow and Stalingrad battle was minimal and could not meet the Soviet Union's needs for food and ammunition, “he said. Myagkov.
Lend-Lease in numbers
According to Myagkov, a radical change in the Great Patriotic War was achieved primarily due to the heroism of Soviet soldiers and the work of Soviet industry. This is evidenced by the figures – the supply of weapons under Lend-Lease amounted to only 4% of the total military production of the USSR during the Second World War (including supplies of tanks – 12%, combat aircraft – 13%, artillery systems – 2.7%, small arms – 0.75%).
The distribution of aid under Lend-Lease in financial terms speaks volumes – of the $ 50 billion spent by Washington, about half of the funds were allocated to Great Britain, while the USSR, which suffered the heaviest losses in World War II, accounted for about 10 billion.
The quality of the supplied weapons also sometimes left much to be desired – neither the United States nor Great Britain felt a strong desire to supply the Soviet Union with their advanced developments. For example, the USSR never received from Washington the strategic bombers B-17, B-24, B-29, which were at that time the best in the world, although it has repeatedly expressed its interest in acquiring them.
At the same time, the historian noted that it would be undeserved to belittle the help of the West in World War II – at the final stage of hostilities, Lend-Lease supplies seriously accelerated the advance at the front and helped to quickly defeat the Third Reich.
Such types of raw materials presented to the USSR as oil products, automobile and aviation fuel made a significant contribution to the combat capabilities of the Red Army. The amount of aluminum and copper supplied under Lend-Lease was about 45% of Soviet production, and half of machine tools and equipment.
Myagkov also recalled the famous Studebaker trucks handed over by the allies, the number of deliveries of which together with Willys and Ford cars amounted to 480 thousand units – more than the Soviet auto industry built during all the years of the war. In addition, the USSR received 1,900 steam locomotives from the allies.
Probably one of the most important elements of Lend-Lease support for the Soviet Union was food aid, which totaled five million tons: canned meat, grain, egg powder, biscuits, chocolate – everything that was needed for a soldier soldering.
The second front is more important than stew
According to Myagkov, a much more serious support, thanks to which the Second World War would have ended earlier, and the USSR would have suffered much less losses, would have been the timely opening of the second front by the allies. Roosevelt, would have opened a second front in 1942, then such expenses would not have been required, the war ended faster and our losses turned out to be much less. in the north of France, “the source said.
The historian is also puzzled by the fact that the lend-lease envisaged the return of the surviving equipment back to the United States, or the payment of material compensation, the dispute about the amount of which with the USSR, “who paid a huge price for world peace”, went on throughout the Cold War and was settled only in the post-Soviet period (2006) – Washington “knocked out” about $ 700 million from Moscow, while initially demanding $ 2.6 billion.
The historian explained these and other controversial points in the Lend-Lease program by the fact that the USSR was never a friendly country for the Western elites. The alliance with Moscow was a forced measure to overcome the “greater evil” – Hitler, the fate of the Soviet people in the United States and Great Britain was not worried (which cannot be said about ordinary soldiers and citizens of Western countries). “Oddly enough, the new anti-Russian sanctions and program Lend-Lease of the 1940s fit into a single logic – to make decisions exclusively in the interests of the United States, as required by the current moment.As then, and now America acts like a pragmatic Uncle Sam, who, having got rid of the Nazi threat with our help, tried on the role of the world gendarme and has not abandoned it to this day, “the agency's interlocutor noted.
In support of his words, Myagkov recalled how little time (less than a year) passed between the general triumph over Nazism and Winston Churchill's Fulton speech, which marked the transition of the Western world to the Cold War with the USSR. 75 years of the Great Victory