Catalyst for coalition : the Anglo-American supply relationship, 1939-1941
This thesis explores the Anglo-American supply relationship, 1939-1941, and the ability of these two nations to wage a coalition war immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Organisationally, the first chapters of the thesis look at the impact of the Great War and the interwar period on this relationship. The remaining chapters are devoted to the evolution of the supply relationship between September 1939 and December 1941. The evidence found in British and American archives indicates that early supply discussions, conducted under the supervision of Arthur Purvis and Henry Morgenthau, established a common ground for Anglo-American co-operation during the early days of the Second World War. The fall of France prompted the British Government to seek much closer ties with the United States. However, in mid-1940 many senior US officials insisted that America should concentrate on its own defence against the Nazi threat because of the likelihood of Britain's defeat. By the end of 1940, the American defence planners were more confident of Britain's ability to survive, and therefore they were willing to consider the creation of Anglo-American defence plans. At the same time President Roosevelt requested Congressional approval for the Lend-Lease Act, to ensure the British Government could still acquire US war supplies even if it lacked the dollars to pay for them. Because of the inability of US industry to produce adequate war materiel for the British effort and American rearmament, representatives from the two countries were forced to work closely together to determine production and allocation priorities. Moreover, since these decisions influenced the fighting capability of British and American forces, war planners rather than civilians officials began to make these supply decisions. Subsequently, British and American officials determined that their efforts should be based on a joint strategy. Ultimately this realisation inspired the creation of the Victory Programme, which effectively acknowledged that supply needs, strategic considerations, and an overall commitment to defeat Germany and its allies were indistinguishable. Thus the supply relationship, 1939-1941, provided the foundation for the Anglo-American wartime coalition against Hitler.