U.S. President Roosevelt adopted cash and carry policy in order to provide support to allied countries during World War II against Nazi Germany. Under the terms of this policy, the allies had to pay for American supplies immediately and transport them out of American territory on their ships and under their flag.
After the outbreak of World War II, the authorities of the United States did not immediately take the decision to side with one of the belligerent parties and, at first, provoked numerous discussions. The cash and carry policy was a transitional phase from America’s complete neutrality to supporting the allies in the anti-Hitler coalition.
During the 1930s, the American economy was in the Great Depression, which contributed to the popularization and dissemination of the isolationist movement. The Isolationists considered United States participation in World War I to be a significant mistake, provoked by the actions of prominent arms dealers, who benefited from international conflict. The situation in Europe began to accumulate by the mid-1930s, and the U.S. Congress decided to adopt the Neutrality Act of 1935. This act prohibited the export of any military supplies and other war-related items to any of the belligerents.
The cash and carry policy itself was introduced by the Neutrality Act of 1937. Although this act predominantly reflected the position of isolationists, it has already taken a particular step towards helping allies at war with the axis powers.
This step was that the allied states, primarily Britain and France, could purchase any non-military goods from the United States under the terms of cash and carry policy. Its definition was that the allies had to pay for the supplies immediately and transport them out of American territory on their ships and under their flag. Thus, the measure was still not direct and active support to states that were at war with the Third Reich. Still, it already indicated the position of the United States in World War II.
The cash and carry policy provision has been in force for two years after the act was adopted. President Roosevelt advocated for allied support and the removal of the arms and other military supplies embargo, but the U.S. Congress maintained isolationism for some time after that. Nevertheless, Hitler’s invasion into Poland contributed to the adoption of the Neutrality Act of 1939, which allowed the export of military goods to the allies under the same conditions of cash and carry policy.
It should be mentioned that these measures have had a number of significant consequences for the United States. America has clearly stated its position on the fight against the axis powers. The cash and carry policy of the Neutrality Act of 1939 was a prelude to a massive government lend-lease program.
It provided that the United States would contribute combat supplies, medicines, food, and other necessary deliveries to its allies around the world, including the Soviet Union and China. America officially entered World War II only after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, but it shall be claimed that it began to actively support the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition much earlier.
At the same time, another significant effect of cash and carry policy was that it was extremely beneficial to the United States economy. Advantageous policy conditions enabled President Roosevelt to initially persuade Congress to adopt it in the Neutrality Acts first in 1937, and then in 1939. Thus, the President achieved a change in the course of American policy and strengthened the country’s economy through the ability to supply arms, combat vehicles, and other supplies.