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Russia's Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II (Book Review)

Originally published on Published Online: June 12, 2006 
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Reviewed by Michael Parrish
By Albert L. Weeks
Lexington Books, New York, 2004

A wartime cartoon in The New Yorker shows the docks of Murmansk covered with off-loaded containers and a Soviet official having trouble finding the word "spam" in the dictionary. Spam was one of the many food items sent to the former Soviet Union by the United States under the Lend-Lease Program first suggested by Winston Churchill, to which the United States contributed the major portion. The subject has been previously covered by such books as Hubert van Tuyll's Feeding the Bear (1989), but the present well-written text has the advantage of access to Russian sources, which were put to good use by Albert Weeks. The author makes a clear case that the program was a major factor in the survival of the Soviet Union and the victory over Nazism.

In two particular areas the help was indispensable. With major agricultural regions of the Soviet Union under enemy occupation, and the unsatisfactory system of distribution and transportation, to say nothing of mismanagement, the Soviet state had more than a nodding acquaintance with famine. Without Western aid, during the war the Soviet population would have been in danger of sharing the fate of those trapped in Leningrad and the earlier victims of collectivization. Even with the American aid, many Russians died from lack of food. Equally important was Lend-Lease's contribution to transportation. It would have been impossible for the Red Army to move the masses of troops and supplies on the primitive roads to the front lines without American Studebaker trucks, which also served as the launching pads for the dreaded Soviet rocket artillery. The trucks were also used for more sinister activities, including the deportation of the North Caucasus Muslims. Less satisfactory for combat were the Western tanks, inferior to the German machines and particularly disadvantaged in the open terrain of the Eastern Front. The memoirs of General Dmitri Loza, published in English in 1996, give us a vivid picture of how these tanks were employed by the Russians. American aircraft, flown by Russian ferry pilots across the vast expanse of Siberia, were put to good use by the Soviet air forces even with planes that were less than popular with Western pilots. A case in point was the Bell P-39 Airacobra, used both as a low-altitude fighter and as ground support. Its odd shape gave Soviet censors fits because it was difficult to conceal that it was the favorite mount of their second-highest-ranking ace, the future marshal of aviation, Aleksandar I. Pokryshkin.

Besides weaponry and food, Lend-Lease provided the Soviet Union with other resources, ranging from clothing to metals. With the start of the Cold War, Lend-Lease became a forgotten chapter in Soviet history and was only revived after glasnost. Now, thanks to Russian researchers and this excellent study, the West will have access to the real story. Lend-Lease provided vital help for the Soviet Union when the country was in desperate straits and made a significant contribution to the final victory. It also strengthened Josef Stalin, a fact that did not bother its chief architect, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who saw beyond the Allied victory and looked at Stalin as a counterbalance to the European colonial powers.

The victory over Nazi Germany was achieved through the economic power of the United States and the lives of millions of Soviets, who for reasons that defy logic made the ultimate sacrifice to keep in power a regime as brutal as their Nazi enemy. What the Soviet Union needed after the war was a peacetime version of Lend-Lease, in this case the Marshall Plan, which Stalin rejected. Misled by the victory, the Soviet Union under Stalin and his successors embarked on an imperial policy that would have put the tsars to shame, and one the USSR could hardly afford. Resources were deployed on military and space programs and every Third World thug, including those who had jailed the local Communists or became Soviet clients. To the USSR's eternal shame, anti-Semitism became national policy.

The "Empire of Evil" indeed had feet of clay, and its demise, unpredicted by all savants, was inevitable. The United States, on the other hand, hardly damaged by the war, managed to supplant the exhausted British, French and Dutch colonials and kept its rendezvous with destiny. The roots of the Soviet collapse, and the United States' recent attempts to make Iraq the next Switzerland, lie in the events of 1945.

79 Responses to “Russia's Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II (Book Review)”

  1. 1
    ZOOP says:


    • 1.1
      Theresa says:

      are you kidding? we helped spread communisism with our stupidity. Read The Naked Communist by W. Cleon Skousen

      • 1.1.1
        John Grooms says:

        Theresa, I hope you're kidding. Cleon Skousen was a lunatic that no serious scholar takes seriously whatsoever. Anyone who is the main influence on Glenn Beck is suspect, but Skousen really was a nutjob.

      • 1.1.2
        GJPinks says:

        Yes he was crazy because we know that the communists were wonderfull loving people and shame on any one who dares to call them for what they were. And how dare Tailgunner Joe smear them with the truth!

  2. 2
    Paul says:

    As if USSR would not hold out without that help.

    Seems like Allies have a complex on that issue. They don't like that they played a marginal role in defeat of Germany? Too bad. It was a war of Titans, and there were only two – Red Army and Wermacht.

    As for lend-lease, for example in terms of tanks, it accounted for 5% of soviet production.

    Something tells me that the author avoids showing the full picture and shows only the numbers that suit his case.

    You truly see the marginality of this help when you take both soviet pre-WW2 numbers and add soviet production numbers.

    Lend-lease helped save lives, no question about it, but it was in no way critical.

    • 2.1
      Art Hayes says:

      In tankls yes but in trucks and rail cars and locomotives it was over 50%. no lend lease less russian tanks, less russian tanks, perhaps a different out come.

      • 2.1.1
        geoduck says:

        And if that aid had gone to the Germans, as some of the plutocrats behind the 'business plot' hoped, the war would have ended very differently. Some 'Republicans' still haven't got over being on the 'wrong side'. That's the real untold story of the war: how many Republicans were Nazi sympathizers. We got rid of the ComSymps in the early '50s while importing Nazi war criminals and giving them jobs in our defense establishment.

    • 2.2
      Chris says:

      Paul, look at the facts of history and remove your bias. Did you even read the book?
      The Soviets had a huge army, but they couldn't properly be fed, clothed, transported or armed.

      Soviet Weapons Losses in 1941 (The First Six Months Of The War)

      72% of all Tanks.
      34% of all Combat Aircraft.
      56% of all Small-arms and Machine guns.
      69% of all Anti-Tank guns.
      59% of all Field guns and Mortars.

      Take it from Zhukov:
      "It is now said that the Allies never helped us . . . However, one cannot deny that the Americans gave us so much material, without which we could not have formed our reserves and could not have continued the war . . . we had no explosives and powder. There was none to equip rifle bullets. The Americans actually came to our assistance with powder and explosives. And how much sheet steel did they give us. We really could not have quickly put right our production of tanks if the Americans had not helped with steel. And today it seems as though we had all this ourselves in abundance."

      Look at the complete list of the US Lend Lease to the SU.
      If you refuse to listen to Zhukov, the Soviet's own "Super General" there will be no reasoning with you.

      • 2.2.1
        FRED says:

        This information is very interesting, could you please tell me where Zhukov said that i will use it in my history paper.

      • 2.2.2
        pzano says:

        @ FRED, for your history paper check out an interview of Zhukov by Konstantin Simonov.

    • 2.3
      Michael Crutcher says:

      I served as a Russian/Soviet specialist for the U.S. Army from 1975 through the mid-1990s. A good,portion of my training at an Army school was conducted by former Soviet citizens, one of whom had been a Red Army infantry battalion commander in WWII (The Great Patriotic War, in Soviet parlance). This individual later served in the KGB before escaping at about the time of Stalin's death. He related that he and his soldiers …"wore American-made clothing, wore American boots, ate American food, and rode in American-made 'zhdeeps and fillies.'" He believed our aid to "Russia" was critical. Other instructors related much the same story. Quantitatively, we did not give them a great deal in tonnage, but what we gave was critical, such as high octane blending agents for aviation fuel, foodstuffs that we absolutely essential (starving men don't fight well), and over 1/2 million wheeled vehicles, which were a major factor in their mobility against the largely horse-drawn German Wehrmacht.

      • 2.3.1
        Michael Crutcher says:

        Fillies should be "villies" (Willys).

      • 2.3.2
        Alan Stevens says:

        And yet, Lend-Lend still only adds up to 8% of Soviet's total GDP during the war years. 70% of this arriving between mid 1943 and 1945. If the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk all guarenteed Hitler was going to lose the war, then Lend-Lease was not decisive.

  3. 3
    Wallriks Red says:

    Zoop, it's called history, not fantasy. I am sorry your grandfather told you otherwise, but the United States contributions were important. No one is trying to have a complex, it's simply about creating a complete picture. I'm sorry that it took your nation 20 million people to win, and their efforts will forever be remembered.

  4. 4
    Lars Bars says:

    Without American aid the Russian tanks would be useless.

    American aid at the cost of American lives.

    I thank all those who gave their lives to ensure freedom.

    Thank you Mr.Weeks for your important book

  5. 5
    To be or not to be says:

    Soviet Union would survive without the lend-lease. It would be harder, but not impossible. And for the Shermans…. We know their unfortunate fate when fighting with german tanks.
    Anyway – russians should remember the help.

    • 5.1
      IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States says:

      }}} Soviet Union would survive without the lend-lease.

      It would be under the German boot for the remainder of its existence. The USSR would have a major revolution when (if) that stopped, and that would have been the end of the USSR.

      So it largely depends on how you mean "survive".

      As the quote from Zhukov said, they could not have produced their T-34 tanks (designed by an **American**, mind you — wiki it) without imported sheet steel from US factories. So they would have been overrun by the Nazis and turned into a state like France — occupied and Vichy.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Carl Kuntze says:

    I find the comment "the allies had a marginal role in the defeat of Nazi Germany." Wars are not only fought with arms and men. When we were kissing Russian ass during the first stages of Glastnoz, retired Russian diplomats, politicians, and propagandists, they were arrogantly stating, they would have eventually defeated the Germans without Allied help.
    Stalin couldn't even feed his people. Human wave charges are worthless against an adversary with no compunction about mass slaughter. Mismanaged Russian heavy industry made good armaments, but once they broke down, they were worthless. Spare parts didn't fit. Part of Lendlease were quality control engineers that trained Russian workers. Efficiency experts as they were referred to, at the time. As far as the fabled "Russian Winter," Hitler fielded his troops without winterizing his army, which would have been easily remedied
    were it not for The Fuhrers bungling priorities.

    • 7.1
      IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States says:

      Actually, we were giving them tools and heavy industry and the rest long before 1940. I can't find the article, but one of the history magazines had a long article detailing how the USA built the heavy industry of the USSR during the later 30s, including Ford building a tractor factory there which included training by US engineers.

  8. 8
    Anastasia says:

    To say that Russians won the war because of the winter – very naive.
    I even do not want to spend time talking about it…
    Lendlease helped, people, especially soldiers had some food. American Planes – they used them only in Siberia, training the new pilots,
    There were no American instructors, may be a few (not much difference for a huge country), tanks – even Germans accepted their best quality. And it was a top secret production in Ural factories where no foreigner would be aloud…
    It is time to be honest. Soviets won, the rest were only touching the victory.

    • 8.1
      IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States says:

      1 ) Anyone who doesn't ack that the russian winter, which first freezes the lubricating oils so critical to the proper functioning of meshing surfaces, as well as turning normal steels to brittleness, followed by the russian springs which turn unpaved roads to 3 foot deep mud is talking through their hat. Clearly, you're a troll.

      2) As quoted above Zhukov acked the sheet steel alone kept the tank production going, which was necessary because until 1944 or so Russian tankmen were a complete joke. If they didn't have probably the best tank (for its time) ever to exist, they would have been easily beaten by the best tankMEN ever to exist, the Germans in 1941. That tank, by the way? Based on designs by an AMERICAN.

      3) Zhukov, again, noting that the Russians would have STARVED without the food aid sent.

      The Soviets inarguably did the HEAVY LIFTING. This commentary is in no sense to denigrate their massive contribution. But don't kid yourself. If it weren't for the USA's massive production capabilities, Germany and Japan would probably still own half the world.

      Contrast: in 1942, Japan could produce 7 million tons of steel a year. The USA could produce 100 million — and THAT was with its Depression equipment, the heck with what it could produce by war's end.

    • 8.2
      Kent Crawford says:

      A quick and dirty look at just the first-line aircraft provided to the Soviet Union:

      4924 P-39 used as 'tank busters'
      2421 P-63 used as 'tank busters'
      2316 P-40 various marks [low level fighter]
      376 DB-7 type light bombers
      3125 A-20 light bombers
      862 B-25 medium bombers
      203 P-47 fighters [high altitude fighter]
      2952+ Hawker Hurricane fighters dispatched from UK

      This is not an immaterial number of combat aircraft!

  9. 9
    Albert says:

    As the book points out. All of Russians first-class aviation gasoline was supplied by the USA. A great deal of food was american. Their boots, most of the uniform material was as well. Plus rubber for the their tires, all their aluminum, fully 1/3 of their munitions, over 500,000 trucks which were all far better than any Russian produced during the war (about 200,000). The 9000 or so tanks supplied by the allies were a small amount but helped. Upgunned (76mm) Shermans were a big part of the Russian drive through the Balkans, where hundreds of them participatedm and had a measure of success. Aerocobras, P40s, C-47 and A-20's (18000+) all considerably assisted the Russian war effort. Almost all telephone communication was over american phones late in the war. The Russians produced 92 locomotives during the war. They got 2000 through lend-lease. The numbers go on and on, but a picture of the value of lend-lease should start making itself clear.

    The western allies had far more than a marginal role in defeating the Germans. This role was to tie down the majority of manufactured items being in the west and not in the east.

    Well over half the luftwaffe was engaged in the west from 1942-45, and 75% of german aircraft casualties were against the Western Allies. each U-boat cost 5 million marks to build. The Germans built over 1000. A panther tank cost 117 thousand marks. That means about 40,000 german tanks were not built so that the Germans could wage the war of the atlantic. Think 40,000 panthers might have made a difference on the eastern front? Each V2 rocket cost in labor and material, the same as 3.5 fighter planes. The germans launched over 3000 V2's. Do the math on that.

    The British and Americans deployed over 20,000 heavy bombers against the Germans, suffering horrendous casaulites, and also doling out great destruction. The Russians never developed one.

    There were also 10000 heavy caliber anti-aircraft guns defending the reich. Do you think those would have shored up German defenses in the east?

    What would have happend if Rommel's Africa corps and the 30+ german divisions in France would have been in the don bend in the fall of 1942 protecting Stalingrad, instead of waiting for the British and Americans to land? What would have happed if the 400,000 good troops station in Norway could have helped Army Group North capture Leningrad? What would have happened if the 30+ divisions fighting in Italy and the Balkans for the Germans could have been freed to fight against the Russians in the south? What would have happed if in 1944, the german armies trying to hold the Allies out of France would have been sent to BelaRussia in prior to Bagraton?

    The Germans were never really able to muster much more than half their real strength against the Ruissias. They were fighting a technological war against the brits and americans that required a huge effort from a manufacturing standpoint to counter. Russians give the allies no credit for tying down so many German resources and destroying so many others (30% of total production in 1944) with their strategic bombing campaign.

    I suppose if I lost 25 million peple in the war, I might feel the same way. But that would be ignoring the real facts regarding the relative contribution of the Western Allies in the defeat of the German nation.

    • 9.1
      floyd 777 says:

      Your absolutely right and even tho the Russians tried to take the credit for defeat of Germany the truth is out, they are the main reason World War II
      started with their hidden plans to attack Germany and take control of
      Euorpe after Germany did all the work and wore down allies. It is sad that
      millions of normal Russian civilians had to die. But in the end Stalin got what he deserved. I fail to see how millions of people to this day can allow
      any dictator to make them slaves to his desires. Any country that fails to
      stand up for their own freedom and dignity deserves what happens to them
      the United States has helped and saved so many countries over the decades only to now be inbebted to them or be mocked by them.

    • 9.2
      jorge feldmann says:

      tanks a lot ¨albert¨.i wait for that moment.i fight against everyone for 50 years.i write zillion of letters.the soviet union never put their flag in the top of the reichtag without the lendlease act.sorry for my bad i make a trip to berlin with my studebaker. jorge

    • 9.3
      achola says:

      What was the role of lend-lease in securing allied victory? specifically how did each specific aid help secure allied victory.

    • 9.4
      geoduck says:

      Thanks for the Reality Check. There are too many armchair generals with an emotional investment in the Reds or the Blacks.

      To all you trying to figure out how the Germans could have won if only the Republicans had succeeded in making Roosevelt a figure head in 1933 with the 'business plot', Edward had never met Wallis and Rudolf Hess had found that bloody airstrip in 1941…..

      Face it, if the Soviet Union had surrendered The US would have still won the war because we had the atom bomb and were willing to use it. The Germans should give thanks to the Russian soldiers that conquered them because it saved most of Germany from being turned into radioactive slag.

      • 9.4.1
        geoduck says:

        In short: The UK and US kept Russia in the war, not the other way around.

      • 9.4.2
        IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States says:

        Geoduck: Yep. That's the main thing.

        The Russians, with their 20 million dead, did cost Germany the cream of their experienced fighting core so that the ones the Americans and the Brits were facing in 1944 were all recent levies, making THEIR job easier.

        This was definitely a TEAM effort, and no single nation was the sole cause of a win.

        Without British resolve to stand their ground against the Germans, the lack of England to use as a staging area would have made Fortress Europe MUCH more difficult a nut to crack, AND would have made it far easier to shift some of those resources defending Europe to the eastern front — since the timing would have taken far longer and been much more difficult.

        Further, the UK's utility as a staging ground for bombing missions against German factories certainly helped significantly in reducing German military output, in a degree and steadiness that could not have been done from Africa.

        If Britain falls, then so, too, does Russia.

        So all three — the USA, the Brits, and the Russians all EACH played a VERY significant part in the defeat of the German war machine.

  10. 10
    Joe Deegan says:

    I think the Russians have always been given too much credit for the German defeat. So many academics are pro Soviet, it is like a propaganda machine. The Trucks and Locomotives we sent to the USSR were of tremendous importance, especially when compared to the small numbers of these items they made themselves. Trucks and Trains move troops.
    The Luftwaffe was unable to properly support the German troops in Russia because they had to defend the skies over their own country, because of the Western Allies.

  11. 11
    daavid s hovda says:

    Stalin himself admitted that the communications and equipment from england and the usa , was the deciding factor in the reverses of the stalingrad era. before the commo equipment came for the t- 34s and the infantry, where they could effeciently operate and coordinate.they the russian army was running around like chickens with there heads cut off. the werhmact just outguned and out manuvered aroung and through them. and took thousands and thousands of prisoners.. the German generals said themseves that the russians sure learned the art of war fast!!! I wonder why and by whom.wenst came the help. probably the stingers!!! Remember Afgan!!! one teck would destroy a whole army!!!

  12. 12
    Tim says:

    Lend Lease didn't save the USSR from defeat – the Soviets would have won the key battles of Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad without it.

    Lend Lease made the gigantic Red Army more efficient by improving its logistics and communications. A more efficient army can build up supplies and troops for an offensive more quickly than an inefficient one. Lend Lease made the 'Russian steamroller' roll faster by reducing the time needed to build up stockpiles of food, fuel and ammunition near the launching point of the next offensive.

    So without Lend Lease, the Soviet timetable would have suffered delays, meaning the Red Army would take longer to reach Berlin. Impossible to say exactly how much longer, but I think the delay would be measured in months rather than weeks, although not in years.

    Imagine the Red Army reaching Berlin 6 months later. Imagine the defeat of Germany delayed by only 6 months – that means the first atomic bomb would have been used on Germany instead of Japan.

  13. 13
    MK says:

    Yes, because we should have just let the Nazi's run wild. That is a great idea. We helped start the Cold War by being buddies with the Germans about 10 minutes after the war ended. Do any of you really know anything about WW2?

  14. 14
  15. 15

    [...] of Democrats (and some Republicans) before him who gave U.S. aid and military technology to the Soviet Union, Red China, and other nations in the Communist bloc during the Cold [...]

  16. 16

    [...] of Democrats (and some Republicans) before him who gave U.S. aid and military technology to the Soviet Union, Red China, and other nations in the Communist bloc during the Cold [...]

  17. 17
    FDR says:

    without commie loving FDR
    russia and china never would have been a threat to anybody
    therefore, stalin and mao slaughtered millions of their own people
    and top the list of mass murderers
    FDR must be so proud to have enabled them

    • 17.1
      Jean says:

      FDR should have been ashamed of himself for taking from our own people to "give" Russia any and everything they ask for. When I was
      in service in Montana, I watched thousands of planes given to Russia.
      They came to the base, trying to order us to do things (unlike FDR)
      I don't take ordering, never have. Also thousands of planes loaded
      with supplies delivered to them while they were having week long drunken parties.

      • 17.1.1
        IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States says:

        Ummm, the realities are that it was needful at the time. The REAL problem was Truman's early naivete in dealing with Stalin, and FDR's own illness/weakness before that.

        Both allowed Stalin far too much leeway in post-war events being planned at Yalta and Pottsdam, for Eastern Europe, and Stalin, ever the evil genius, took considerable advantage of this.

      • 17.1.2
        Ben says:

        He should hardly be ashamed of himself. The fact is that the vast majority of Germans died fighting on the eastern front, against the Soviets, If German forces had not been so depleated on the western front by this massive collision on the east it is unlikely that the Allies would have won the war. Yes America provided vast economic support, but this was needed, it is not an act to be ashamed of, but hugely practical, by supplying the state Germany was most focused on, they increased their own chances of winning.

  18. 18
    Harvey says:

    Germany was defeated by the combined efforts of the allies. Although the Russians gave the lion's share of blood, without the various contributions of lend-lease, air assault on Germany, and stretching the Germans to the breaking point their effort would have been in-vain. Consider what was given the Russians, what Germany had to devote the Atlantic campaign, the air campaign (Luftwaffe aircraft and AA 88s), not to mention Germans and other axis guarding against second front, and the fact that once the second front materialized, the Germans countered with the bulk of the motorized resources and the allied contribution should be self-evident.

  19. 19
    Elena says:

    This is the most idiotic book to date!
    Anyway, why the author did not tell us about military, raw materials and financial help the US was giving Hitler's Germany till the end of 1944?

  20. 20
    gerogero says:

    usa didnt give germany that much and after 1942 ger had to pay for all ressources they get from the us. in addition to alberts list germany had such projects as the atlantic wall or graf zepellin which cost them alot of ressources and manpower. in other words soviet union would not have defeated germany without any help. russians are militarists so there is no wonder they dont accept it

  21. 21

    [...] so long for the monster to die of its deformities due mostly   to Western support,   including vital   lend-lease aid during World War II. Having been handed the eastern half   of Europe, the Soviet empire was [...]

  22. 22

    [...] wie er ihn nannte, einfach ignorierte, während er das kommunistische Land durch die Ausweitung wichtiger Pachtgeschäfte ökonomisch über Wasser [...]

  23. 23

    [...] supplied to Russia but Russia PRODUCED 51 000 aircraft in WW2 of which 11 000 alone were bombers. THIS book says differently though. In the end it seems that it depends to whom you speak. Russians say [...]

  24. 24
    Edward says:

    Who gets credit for winning the war?? Really? Who gives a crap. We won. The allies, the USA, USSR, FRANCE and BRITAIN. Russia gave 23 million people. 6 Million Jews dead! Millions of others dead all over Europe, Asia, Africa, the South Pacific and on and on. All for an insane regime intent on dominating the world. Are we really still having a who is better than who contest over it? This is why we had the cold war to begin with! USSR won the eastern front through shear force of will and the highest cost of human life ever! But it would not have been possible without the invasion of France and the massive bombardment by Allied Air Forces in the west. The USA contributed massive amounts of economic and military aid. This while fighting a two front war! Britain fought alone in the west for longer than they should have. France was occupied. Could any one of our nations defeated the German onslaught alone? I don't know.

    • 24.1
      IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States says:

      I think America may have succeeded in winning with nuclear weapons, since the Germans had abandoned their efforts, and Japan's was ludicrously unfunded. The USA would have been able to turn out dozens fairly quickly within a year or so after the first ones, and Germany could not have matched that by producing one that quickly… After that, Berlin, Tokyo, Dresden, Munich — all gone. Game over. But it wouldn't have been pretty either way.

  25. 25
    Dave says:

    I thik the U.S and the British have a Major role in helping out Soviet union they lost the war with out of thelp in 1942-43 And all these Studebakers and Locomotives where Watchable in the 1947-48 In Poland,Hungary and other countrys that they Occupied and Slaughtered and the Poor Russian soldier has after 1945 not enough food the occupation army soldiers told the civilians that they have not enough food some times " they sellled boots or knives and others stuff too civilians too get food sooo important was the lend Lease canned spam and Tuchonka…

  26. 26
    Trouble says:

    Can anyone answer as to how much aid this cost the US taxpayer in 1945 and 2012 dollars? As well, did the USSR pay us back, or did I hit the nail on the head as to the real reason for the Cold War, money owed and never repaid???

  27. 27
    Trouble says:

    In July 1945, Stalin noted in a letter to U.S. President Harry Truman,

    " The agreement on whose basis the United States of America provided the Soviet Union with weapons, strategic materials, and foodstuffs under the terms of Lend-Lease throughout the war in Europe played an important role in, and to a considerable degree helped bring about, the successful conclusion to the war against our common enemy, Hitler's Germany.

    It should also be noted that the movement of goods under Lend-Lease was, incidentally, two-way. The USSR supplied the United States and Britain with machine tools, anti-aircraft guns, armament factory equipment, strategic raw materials, and precious metals, while performing such services as forwarding certain military intelligence. From the first months of the war, the Soviet Union shipped substantial amounts of manganese, chrome, asbestos, and platinum to the United States as payment for the goods supplied under Lend-Lease.

    We cannot, of course, use the same scale to weigh the goods provided under Lend-Lease against the loss of life incurred by Soviet citizens in paving the way to victory over the common enemy. This was, incidentally, emphasized more than once during and after the war years by prominent government figures in the United States, Britain, and other countries."

    Thanks for the asbestos! We appreciate the mesothelioma! I'm going to estimate it cost the US taxpayer roughly $5 Trillion in 2012 dollars, perhaps even double that amount. The volume of gasoline/diesel was enormous. Please deposit to the US Treasury the sum of 360 Million pounds of gold and we can settle this debt. Have a nice day Russia.

  28. 28
    Pop says:

    Russia also stayed out of that whole pacific thing till damn near the end. Russians tend to forget that the allies were fighting two global wars at once while they sat most of the pacific theatre out!

    • 28.1
      IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States says:

      }}}} Russia also stayed out of that whole pacific thing till damn near the end.

      BWAAAAhahahhahhaaaa… one reason we dropped the bomb WAS to *stop* the Russians from "getting into it". Had we blockaded or invaded, the notion of the Russians demanding occupation of half of Japan for taking over a village or two in Hokkaido wasn't settling well with the US government, and one can understand why.

      • 28.1.1
        masshole says:

        "to *stop* the Russians from "getting into it"…..

        Russians refused to help the Allies in Asia when the Allies WANTED the help. They were discouraged from entering only after the theater was all wrapped up.

      • 28.1.2
        Brian says:

        Russia can hardly be blamed for not taking on the Japanese when it was engaged in a brutal and all-consuming struggle for its existence with the Nazis. Stalin promised the US that that the USSR would enter the war against Japan 90 days after the end of the war with Germany, and that's exactly what happened, to the day. This was one of the very few promises Stalin ever kept in his life, and no doubt his motivation was strictly based on realpolitik. He wanted a share of post-war Asia, Japan in particular. Fortunately, Truman was adamant that no portion of Japan would be occupied by the USSR, with the exception of a few far-northern islands, notably Sakhalin.

        In spite of the cost in terms of post-war Communist influence in Asia, it must have seemed like a pretty good deal to Roosevelt and Truman at the time. There were more than a million Japanese troops on the mainland, and if they had been able to return to Japan absent a Soviet threat, they would have made what was shaping up to be a ghastly level of casualties during the invasion of Japan even worse. Of course in hindsight we know that the atomic bomb worked, and relieved us of the need for an invasion (although it should be noted that many historians think the Soviet declaration of war was actually as influential or even more influential in the Japanese decision to surrender than the atom bombs).

        By the way, I categorically reject the revisionist notion that the US dropped the bomb not to win the war but to scare the Russians, to position us better in the coming contest with the USSR for superiority. That may have been a peripheral effect, and Truman and his advisers must have been aware of it, but they dropped the bomb to end the war.

  29. 29
    Marc Jansen says:

    Lend lease was vital to the Soviet Union in communication equipment, transportation, food, clothing, ammunition, and to a lesser extent tanks and plains.
    Still the great error of the Germans was not to have an agreement with Japan on who was to be attacked first! No doubt those 40 plus Siberian divisions were critical in the winter of 41; Among countless others!
    As for the T34, a great tank whose suspension system was designed by and offered to the Americans but rejected. So we all can point with pride to our nations contributions.
    As for the Sherman, though not as good a fighting vehicle as the T34, the 4,000 plus gave the Red Army and its crews good service!
    No one would deny the Soviets rightful clam as to being the Bearer of the largest role in defeating the Nazi's regardless how you review the war. Still, the great contribution and indispensable at that was the allies and especially Americas lend lease role.
    I always find it surprising that Americas greatest contribution in the war is never hardly mentioned; That being the genius and innovation of its logistics!

  30. 30

    [...] the only nation that has repaid all of it's loans to us from WW2, and that just a few years ago.…ook-review.htm America saved the free world's bacon. Our constitution and bill of rights are also the [...]

  31. 31

    [...] Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II" might prove to be a good read.…ook-review.htm There is plenty of evidence that LL pushed Russia ahead if you read more about LL aid to Russia [...]

  32. 32
    Brian says:

    My general reaction to this discussion is that most of those who contributed seem unaware of the ebb and flow of the historical debate over the relative contributions of the USSR and the Western Allies to the defeat of Germany. During the first 20 or 30 years after the war, the Allied contribution was somewhat overplayed, as if D-Day and the bombing campaign had been the decisive factors in Germany's defeat. Then revisionists took the debate to the other extreme, as if the US and Britain had done virtually nothing. Weeks' book sounds like a useful effort to regain something like perspective.

    The bottom line, though, is that the power of the Wehrmacht was broken in Russia, and it happened before the Western Allies engaged the Germans in Europe. Indeed, one could argue that Germany's defeat was probable, if certainly not inevitable, by December, 1941, when the Germans were stopped and rolled back by Zhukov's counterattacks around Moscow. And this was before more than a fraction of the Lend Lease aid had reached the USSR.

    This is not to say that the loss of 20 or 30 German divisions in North Africa was not a body blow to the Nazis, or that the resources diverted to contesting the air war were not important, or that the necessity to station troops in Western Europe because of the threat of invasion was not critical to Russia's victory. As one commentator suggests, if most of those divisions had participated in Operation Barbarossa, the outcome of the war would have been different.

    Maybe the best way to resolve this debate is to consider that keeping the USSR in the war was the West's number one strategic priority, and that Lend Lease, the air war, the North African campaign, and the threat of invasion, kept the USSR in the war. Although estimates vary, the Red Army may have lost as many as 13 – 14 million killed (not just casualties, but killed, missing forever, or captured, which for Soviet prisoners was pretty much a death sentence). Would the US, which was averse to casualties, or Britain, with the hideous casualties of WWI in mind, have been willing to sustain such carnage? Of course, Western armies were more careful of the lives of their soldiers in any case, and relied more on technology than on human wave attacks, so their casualty rates would surely have been lower than those of the USSR. Nevertheless, I doubt the US and Britain would have been willing or able to defeat the Wehrmacht if the USSR had been knocked out of the war in 1941 or 1942. And given that the bomb was not even tested until July, 1945, my guess is that if the USSR had not continued to fight, there would have been a truce or a peace settlement, and a kind of Cold War between the Western Allies and Germany would have been the result.

    One last observation, particularly directed at the Roosevelt haters….FDR got every single one of the fundamental strategic decisions of WWII right. He saw that Germany could not be defeated if the USSR were knocked out, so he did everything he could to keep the Russians in the war. Those who talk about how he appeased Stalin should ask themselves how many of those 13,000,000 dead Soviet soldiers they would be willing to replace with dead Americans and Brits. Roosevelt saw that to engage Germany in the West would take an invasion, and that would in turn require that Britain be preserved as the base for such an invasion, so he did everything he could to save Britain. He forced Churchill to accept an invasion of France, instead of the peripheral operations of which the architect of the Dardanelles campaign was so enamoured. FDR recognized that the US contribution would not be just an enormous army, but a huge Navy and the orderly expansion of American industrial production, and he brought that about. He saw that, however corrupt and worthless the Chinese army was, it helped tie down a million Japanese troops who could otherwise be engaged in killing Americans, so he put up with a lot of crap to keep China in the war. And finally, he bet a gigantic amount of money and scientific, technical, and manufacturing resources on the development of an utterly untested and even unimagined new weapon, the atomic bomb.

    Franklin Roosevelt was a strategic genius. We can argue about his post war decisions on another occasion, but no individual contributed as much to America's complete victory in WWII.

    • 32.1
      Warbuff says:

      I agree with most of your big points. Very good arguments. One exception, even if Rommel and the Africa Korp were participating in Barbarrossa it would not have made a decisive factor. Korp is smaller than an army. 80% of all German units participated in Barbarrossa so the 3 divisions of Rommel, although very well trained and equiped, would not have made a big difference. Possibly in the Ukraine, since Runstedt did not have sufficient force. Even then Guderian would have to have helped in September.

      I like the threads. Very good discussion. The author of main article has an agenda, very bold claims. Lend Lease odviously helped, but to say Germany would have won, Im afraid he is not informed.

  33. 33
    Warbuff says:

    What is not mentioned in this article is that Soviet industry on its own produced more tanks and artillery than the rest of the WORLD combined. The Soviet army faced 66% of the German army and the entire armies of Hungary Romania Finland and Bulgaria even after D-Day.I am afraid the author is giving us some feel good patriotic talk. If you notice the author does not mention what % did Lend Lease comprise of Soviet war output nor the % of German forces the Allies faced. Or the nail in the coffin, what % of total axis forces in Europe the Allies faced.

  34. 34
    Alan Stevens says:

    "The victory over Nazi Germany was achieved through the economic power of the United States and the lives of millions of Soviets, who for reasons that defy logic made the ultimate sacrifice to keep in power a regime as brutal as their Nazi enemy."

    That's a really daft statement. They made the ultimate sacrifice to stop the Nazis killing and enslaving them. They fought for Stalin because they were in the Red Army. Who else were they going to fight for, Churchill?

  35. 35
    Alan Stevens says:

    I'll be surprised if the proper source for this quote is found. Although it appears on various discussion forums, whenever someone asks for a citation, there's a deafening silence. The quote first appears in an Axis History Forum post dated 6th May 2012.

    The poster, Marcelo Jenisch, also states \utterances of G. Zhukov, recorded as a result of eavesdropping by security organs in 1963,\ he then produces the alleged quote.

  36. 36

    [...] Quote: Originally Posted by Camp Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register to forum by clicking here to see images. Quote: Originally Posted by Unkotare Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register to forum by clicking here to see images. Quote: Originally Posted by Camp Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register to forum by clicking here to see images. The Soviet's would have annihilated the combined allied forces even if those forces combined with the German forces in 1943. Utter nonsense. Back it up. Beginning of 1943, Soviets vs. Western Allies. Let'a see numbers. "Without Western aid, during the war the Soviet population would have been in danger of sharing the fate of those trapped in Leningrad and the earlier victims of collectivization. Even with the American aid, many Russians died from lack of food. Equally important was Lend-Lease's contribution to transportation. It would have been impossible for the Red Army to move the masses of troops and supplies on the primitive roads to the front lines without American Studebaker trucks, which also served as the launching pads for the dreaded Soviet rocket artillery. " "Besides weaponry and food, Lend-Lease provided the Soviet Union with other resources, ranging from clothing to metals. With the start of the Cold War, Lend-Lease became a forgotten chapter in Soviet history and was only revived after glasnost. Now, thanks to Russian researchers and this excellent study, the West will have access to the real story. Lend-Lease provided vital help for the Soviet Union when the country was in desperate straits and made a significant contribution to the final victory. It also strengthened Josef Stalin, a fact that did not bother its chief architect, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who saw beyond the Allied victory and looked at Stalin as a counterbalance to the European colonial powers." Russia's Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II (Book Review) [...]

  37. 37
    GBB says:

    The T-34 was a Russian invention. I think you meant to say that the suspension that was used for the T34 was an American invention.

  38. 38
    joe hayes says:

    You guys are really funny…focusing on tanks.
    I know German soldiers who captured some Soviet soldiers in 1941. they had no shoes and wore rags tied around their feet. So we sent them 15 million pairs of boots.
    We also supplied 65% of all their military transport trucks. How can you supply an army without trucks.
    And then the huge food aid. Solzehnitsen states…\we would have all starved to death if not for our cans of American stew \\ ….. plus all the grain and oil and powdered milk etc. etc. the lists are endless.
    without those 3 items alone the Red army would have collapsed.
    Forget the cloth and clothing… the tons of raw materials used to build the tanks…and everything else. we supplied 80% of all locomotives produced in the USSR during the war. thousands of motorcycles…radio equipment used in the tanks… the list is endless.
    The Soviets would have totally collapsed likely in 1941 and in early '42 if not for the massive amounts of aid from the WEst.

    • 38.1
      Alan Stevens says:

      Lend lease supplies did not make any material difference to the outcome of the fighting prior to the launch of Operation Bagration on 22 June 1944. As it stands, it was between mid 1943 through to 1945 when 70% of the Lend Lease materials arrived on Soviet territory. However, that still only made up 8% of the USSR's total GDP. Also, by this point in the war, Hitler had lost the initiative on the Eastern Front, having suffered serious defeats at Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk, and the Wehrmacht was now in full retreat. Certainly, the increased Lend Lease supplies were a great help to Operation Bagration, which finally cleared Axis forces from Soviet territory, but there's no way Lend Lease won the war for them.

      " How can you supply an army without trucks."

      Like the Wehrmacht, the Soviet's used horses.

  39. 39
    David Chu says:

    Actually, there were 2 vital factors that helped Stalin and the Soviets turn the tide in the War on the Eastern Front during WW2.

    The first is mentioned in this article.

    The second was Japan's \guarantee\ that they wouldn't attack the Soviet Union in the East (as Japan's hands were all tied battling the Chinese, Yankees, etc.).

    It was the second factor that allowed Stalin to basically move his entire eastern armies west to face the Germans.

    • 39.1
      Alan Stevens says:

      Stalin didn't move his entire eastern armies west to face the Germans. It's a myth. Indeed, even when units were sent west, they were replaced by new formations, so the Soviets didn't really let down their guard vis-a-vis Japan.

  40. 40
    David Chu says:

    And your backup documentation(s) is???

    • 40.1
      Alan Stevens says:

      There's also this:

      "Here is a short run-down of the Soviet Forces remaining in the Far East shortly before and then after Operation Barbarossa had been launched:

      Soviet troops in the far east on 22 June 1941:

      17 rifle divisions, 1 cavalry division, 3 rifle brigades, 1 airborne brigade, and 12 fortified regions organized into five rifle corps and four rifle armies.

      Soviet troops in the far east on 1 January 1942:

      19 rifle divisions, 1 cavalry division, 2 rifle brigades, 1 airborne brigade, 2 cavalry regiments, 1 rifle regiment, and 12 fortified regions organized into four rifle corps and five rifle armies."


    • 40.2
      Alan Stevens says:

      And for further proof, here is a quote from page 155 of Colossus Reborn: The Red Army at War, 1941-1943 (Modern War Studies) by David M. Glantz (ISBN: 9780700613533):

      "When Barbarrossa started, strength in Far East stood at 32 divisional equivalents. Between July and November 1941, the STAVKA recalled 12 divisions westward from Far East and Trans-Baikal Districts, nevertheless the massive ongoing mobilization still kept Red Army strength in the Far East at a level of 39 division equivalents. Despite transferring an additional 23 divisions and 19 brigades westward in 1942 the STAVKA increased Red Army strength in the Far East to 46 division equivalents by 19 November 1942.

      By the summer of 1943 all transfer of forces westward ended abruptly…. By July 43 the strength and combat capability of fronts in the Far East had increased to 45.5 divisions. Nor this trend changed. By 1 Jan 1944 Red Army strength in the Far East and Trans-Baikal region had reached 55 division Equivalents."

  41. 41
  42. 42

    [...] the Anglo-Americans diverting key German forces (such as much of the Luftwaffe) and massively subsidising the Soviet war [...]

  43. 43

    [...] the Anglo-Americans diverting key German forces (such as much of the Luftwaffe) and massively subsidising the Soviet war [...]

  44. 44

    [...] and food to the front line do you? Or that the food that fed your soldiers was grown in Russia? Russia's Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II (Book Review) Then Stalin did a hitler after the war and turned on those who helped Russia survive the nazis. [...]

  45. 45
    Andy says:

    He means the chassis designed, the copyright bought from an American engineer named Christine.

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