Cash and carry (World War II)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cash and carry was a policy by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced at a joint session of the United States Congress on September 21, 1939, subsequent to the outbreak of war in Europe. It replaced the Neutrality Acts of 1937, by which belligerents could purchase only nonmilitary goods from the United States as long as the recipients paid immediately in cash and assumed all risk in transportation using their own ships.[1] The "Cash and Carry" revision allowed the sale of military arms to belligerents on the same cash-and-carry basis.[2]

Originally presented to Congress by Senator Key Pittman (D-NV) earlier in 1939, the bill was designed to replace the Neutrality Act of 1937, which had lapsed in May 1939.[3] The bill had been defeated repeatedly by the Senate and the House on more than one occasion as Isolationists feared that passing the bill would draw the US into the conflict in Europe. However, President Roosevelt felt that further help was needed in Europe after Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. The bill passed in late October, gaining approval from the House on November 5, 1939.[4] The President gave his signature the same day.

The purpose of this policy was to allow the Allied nations at war with Germany to purchase war materials while maintaining a semblance of neutrality for the United States. Various policies, such as the Neutrality Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937, forbade selling implements of war or lending money to belligerent countries under any terms. Cash and carry ended this prohibition, while still attempting to keep U.S. interests out of the conflict. U.S. ships were forbidden from entering into conflict zones, and US passengers traveling on foreign ships were notified that they did so at their own risk.

Coming out of the Great Depression, the U.S. economy was rebounding. Further growth in manufacturing would propel the economy forward. The cash and carry program stimulated U.S. manufacturing while allowing the Allied nations, particularly the United Kingdom, to purchase much needed military equipment.

The program prevented U.S. business interests from backing the success or failure of any warring nation. Because of the conclusion of the Nye Committee, 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.[citation needed]

The "cash and carry" legislation enacted in 1939 effectively ended the arms embargo that had been in place since the Neutrality Act of 1936, and paved the way for Roosevelt's Lend-Lease program.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alan, Brinkley (2012). American history : connecting with the past (14th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. p. 715. ISBN 9780073406954. OCLC 707486718.
  2. ^ Alan, Brinkley (2012). American history : connecting with the past (14th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. p. 719. ISBN 9780073406954. OCLC 707486718.
  3. ^ Brinkley, Dougals; Rubel, David (2003). World War II: The Axis Assault, 1939-1940. USA: MacMillan. pp. 99–106.
  4. ^ Divine, Robert (1969). Roosevelt and World War II. Baltimore, MD, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 5–48.

External links[edit]