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The US Sent Over $200 Billion of Military Equipment & Food Aid to the USSR Starting Prior to US Entrance into WWII 1941 – 1945.
American women worked in factories during World War II, and along with children and seniors worked in Victory Gardens after work. Thus, the USA was able to send the equivalent of over $215 Billion in aid to the Soviet Union (Russia), as “lend-lease”. The equivalent of $205 Billion remains unpaid to this day. Some American women were in the military, as well.
America is a capable can-do country which has been constantly suckered and bled dry by Russia for over one hundred years.
In the 1940s, 80 years ago, “To free men to fight, women on the homefront took jobs that were previously dominated by men, such as welders, mechanics and aircraft assembly workers.” https://www.defense.gov/News/Feature-Stories/story/Article/2128446/during-wwii-industries-transitioned-from-peacetime-to-wartime-production/
Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, CA,loc.gov .
“USAF: These four female pilots leaving their ship, Pistol Packin’ Mama, at the four engine school at Lockbourne AAF, Ohio, are members of a group of Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) who have been trained to ferry the B-17 Flying Fortresses. L to R are Frances Green, Margaret (Peg) Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn”
“Washington, D.C. Workers in a large victory garden on Fairlawn Avenue, Southeast Horne, Joseph A. photographer 1943 June, Farm Security Administration/Office of War”
“Washington, D.C. A resident of the Southwest section and her Victory garden Part of Lot 678 (51) Names Horne, Joseph A. photographer, June 1943, Farm Security Administration/Office of War” https://www.loc.gov/item/2017861302/
From 1941 through 1945, the U.S. sent $11.3 billion, or approximately $215 billion in Jan. 2023 dollars, in “lend-lease” goods and services to the USSR-Russia. The US should demand that Russia pay back the over $200 billion still unpaid. Russia only paid back the equivalent of less than 1%, half a century late (1993) with no interest. The balance is now equivalent to $205 billion in Jan. 2023 dollars. This is part of the US debt snowball. (Note that even in non-inflation adjusted dollars, Russia only paid back 6% of the lend-lease aid, i.e. $722 million of $11.3 billion and they paid half a century late.)
Furthermore, in the future, the US should give aid to Ukraine as loans, so that the US can be reimbursed through Russia’s war reparations to Ukraine. This would give the entire USA a stronger incentive to make sure that Ukraine wins and that Russia pays. Payment can be contingent upon Ukraine getting reparations. If there are no reparations paid by Russia, then the US can waive the loans to Ukraine. The US should sue Russia for the money that it’s expended up until now, as should other donor countries, plus pain and misery.
If everyone would have worked to help stop Nazi Germany earlier, then it would have saved money, as well as lives. The same is true of Putin’s Russia. It’s like cancer – it’s easier to stop before it spreads. During World War II, “In 1943 and 1944, more than 40% of US GDP was devoted to national defense.” https://www.stlouisfed.org/on-the-economy/2020/february/war-highest-defense-spending-measured. Today that would be 40% of $26.13 trillion, i.e., $10 trillion per year: https://web.archive.org/web/20230129172637/https://www.bea.gov/news/2023/gross-domestic-product-fourth-quarter-and-year-2022-advance-estimate
If the US would have helped Poland in 1939, when both the Nazis and the Soviets invaded it, then both the Nazis and Communists could have been defeated early on. And, perhaps, it would not have been necessary to fight Japan. The Nazis and Soviets were allies for two years from 1939-1941 during World War II – never forget.
Russia should pay for its crimes, not the US taxpayer. Russia should not be allowed to walk away from its debts, as it has in the past, either. In 1918, for instance, Russia refused to pay its external debt, leaving investors, including middle class French retirees, penniless. They had been misled into believing that Russia was a safe place to invest: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repudiation_of_debt_at_the_Russian_Revolution For more recently see: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2023/03/03/on-russias-refusal-to-pay-debt-london-club-debt-write-off-seemingly-endless-us-aid-to-russia-us-congressman-gilman-2000/
Russia claims to have repaid the lend-lease debt. Clearly this is false. If you bought a new car for around $1,000 in the 1940s and paid no interest and failed to pay until 50 years later, neither the car dealership, nor the bank, would consider that you paid. This is even more true if you only paid 6% of the $1,000, i.e. $60. The US should demand repayment, and use this money to reimburse itself for helping Ukraine fight Russia.
Russia claimed to represent the USSR when they took their UN seat. And, decision making was located in the Russian Kremlin. This is the same Kremlin that had made economic; land grab deals and a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany from Sept. 1939-June 1941. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2022/09/28/the-nazi-germany-soviet-russia-frontier-treaty-sept-28-1939/
In 2022/2023 dollars, unpaid US lend lease averages out to over $50 billion per year to Russia, a country who hated the USA, and still hates the USA. It even included an entire tire factory. Russia calls the USA “unfriendly” and “Nazis” even though we saved them from the Nazis. The US also provided the equivalent of $315 million (2023$) to communist Russia in the early 1920s because they were starving. When it comes to Russia, no good deed goes unpunished. The more the American people have helped Russia, the more Russia has hated the United States.
This $200 billion is only lend-lease aid to the USSR, and excludes aid to the UK and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the US had food rationing and Victory Gardens to help the war effort. “War Time” (Daylight Saving Time) was implemented, as well: “In February 1942, Congress implemented a law instating a national daylight saving time to help conserve fuel and “promote national security and defense,” which is why it was nicknamed “war time.” The time zones were even known as that: Eastern War Time, Pacific War Time, etc.” https://www.defense.gov/News/Feature-Stories/Story/Article/1779177/daylight-saving-time-once-known-as-war-time In short, the American have endlessly sacrificed for the ungrateful Russian wretches. Daily Saving Time gave Americans more daylight time to work in their “Victory Gardens”, after their regular work day, while Russia was given free food.
$1 in Jan. 1942 had the purchasing power of $19.06 in Jan. 2023. Using that calculation, $11.3 billion would be around $215 Billion today: https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm. However, the estimate given of $180 million in 2016 is $223 billion today (using June 2016 and Jan. 2023). The average is $219 billion. “From 1941 through 1945, the U.S. sent $11.3 billion, or $180 billion in 2016 dollars, in goods and services to the Soviets”. https://share.america.gov/america-sent-equipment-to-soviet-union-in-world-war-ii/
This support to the USSR was over a period of less than four years, because the Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany from September 1939 until June of 1941, and Victory in Europe Day was early May 1945.
The US Government requested that the USSR pay back a mere 11.5%, but only got the equivalent of approximately 1%, with no interest, half a century later.
The Kremlin (USSR) agreed to pay only $722 million or around half (56%) of the $1.3 billion lend lease repayment which was requested. The requested $1.3 billion repayment was only 11.5% of the original amount, and $722 million is only 6% of $11.3 billion. However, it had so devalued by the time that Russia paid it, that they only paid the equivalent of around 1%.
“The Lend-Lease debt was renegotiated in an agreement in 1972 that wrote down 90% of the debt…” https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RL30617.html
In 1972 the USSR paid $48 million. At the time, the total debt of $11.3 billion, adjusted for inflation, would be $28.91 billion ($28,900 million). So, they paid only 0.166% and $28,852 million ($ 28.85 billion) remained unpaid, adjusted for inflation (1972 dollars). In 1942 dollars they only paid 0.42% of the debt and 11,252 million ($11.2 billion) of debt remained in 1942$. $48 million was only 6% of the $722 million that Russia eventually paid. $28,852 million ($ 28.85 billion) remained unpaid adjusted for inflation (1972 dollars).
Thus, $28.85 billion ($28,852 million) had remained unpaid in 1972 dollars. In 1993 they paid an additional $674 million. However, the purchasing power of $1 in June 1972 was $3.46 in June 1993, so the debt would have been $99.8 billion in 1993 dollars ($99,800 million) so $99,126 million ($99.1 billion) of debt remained in 1993. Therefore, as of their final debt payment in 1993, they had paid the equivalent of less than 1% of the initial debt. Previously, this blog estimated the amount and came up with almost the exact number, but generously allowed that maybe they had paid the equivalent of 1.5%. However, less than 1% seems to have been right. Furthermore, due to inflation, the value of the amount unpaid has increased between April 2022 and December 2022, and even since this post was first drafted with Jan. 2023 data having come available. https://web.archive.org/web/20220420103014/https://www.rbth.com/defence/2016/03/14/lend-lease-how-american-supplies-aided-the-ussr-in-its-darkest-hour_575559 https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm
A June 1993 dollar had the purchasing power of $2.06 in Dec. 2022; $2.07 in Jan. 2023 (supposedly, but inflation appears to be higher than admitted by the calculator), so the remaining unpaid debt equivalent is $204 billion in Dec. 2022 ($205 billion in Jan. 2023$). Recall that this has been carried as part of a snowballing US government debt, as well.
$1 in June 1942 equaled $8.86 in June 1993 so $11.3 billion in 1942 was like $100 billion or 100,118 million in 1993. 100,118 x 0.99 = $99,117 million in June 1993 is $203,723.19 in Dec. 2022; $205 billion in Jan. 2023.
The US should never have given the lend-lease to the USSR, either. They should have simply allowed the two evil empires to simply fight each other to the death.
“America sent gear to the USSR to help win World War II
By Lauren Monsen –
Apr 29, 2020
Even before the United States entered World War II in December 1941, America was sending arms and equipment to the Soviet Union to help it defeat the Nazi invasion.
Although in August 1939 the Soviet Union and Germany had signed a nonaggression treaty, Germany’s June 1941 invasion of the USSR brought their alliance to an end, forcing the Soviets to confront the Nazis as enemies. President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced Congress the U.S. should provide military aid to nations “vital to the defense of the United States.”
“We cannot, and we will not, tell [them] that they must surrender, merely because of present inability to pay for the weapons which we know they must have.”
Under the Lend-Lease Act, enacted nine months before the U.S. entered the war, Washington dispatched war supplies to Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union. While the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. disagreed in other areas, the threat Hitler posed to the world brought them to a common objective.
Technically, the U.S. lent these materials. As Roosevelt told cost-conscious Americans: “Suppose my neighbor’s home catches fire. … If he can take my garden hose and connect it up with his hydrant I may help him to put out his fire. Now, what do I do? I don’t say to him before that operation, ‘Neighbor, my garden hose cost me $15; you have got to pay me $15 for it.’ I don’t want $15 — I want my garden hose back. In other words, if you lend certain munitions, and munitions come back after the war, you are all right.”
Ultimately, the U.S. did not seek or expect much in the way of monetary repayment. Some wartime debts were later settled at a greatly reduced rate, but Lend-Lease was mostly a grant by the United States, the nation Roosevelt called the “arsenal of democracy” to its partners against Nazism and fascism.
Equipping the Red Army
After Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, America sent the first convoys with goods to the Soviet Union by August.
The scope of the aid is detailed by Russia Beyond, an online publication of Russia’s state newspaper (Rossiyskaya Gazeta), and also by many historians, including U.S. policy analyst Albert L. Weeks in his 2004 book Russia’s Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the USSR in World War II.
In the final tally, America sent its Russian ally the following military equipment:
* 400,000 jeeps and trucks
* 14,000 airplanes
* 8,000 tractors
* 13,000 tanks
And these supplies:
* More than 1.5 million blankets
* 15 million pairs of army boots
* 107,000 tons of cotton
* 2.7 million tons of petroleum products (to fuel airplanes, trucks, and tanks)
* 4.5 million tons of food
Americans also sent guns, ammunition, explosives, copper, steel, aluminum, medicine, field radios, radar tools, books and other items.
The U.S. even transported an entire Ford Company tire factory, which made tires for military vehicles, to the Soviet Union.
From 1941 through 1945, the U.S. sent $11.3 billion, or $180 billion in 2016 dollars, in goods and services to the Soviets”.
[$1 in January 1942 is $18.90 Dec. 2022, which would then be $214 billion; $180 billion in 2016 is $222 billion today.]
“The difference it made
In a November 1941 letter to Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Josef Stalin wrote:
“Your decision, Mr. President, to give the Soviet Union an interest-free credit of $1 billion in the form of materiel supplies and raw materials has been accepted by the Soviet government with heartfelt gratitude as urgent aid to the Soviet Union in its enormous and difficult fight against the common enemy — bloodthirsty Hitlerism.”
At a dinner toast with Allied leaders during the Tehran Conference in December 1943, Stalin added: “The United States … is a country of machines. Without the use of those machines through Lend-Lease, we would lose this war.”
Nikita Khrushchev, who led the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, agreed with Stalin’s assessment. In his memoirs, Khrushchev described how Stalin stressed the value of Lend-Lease aid: “He stated bluntly that if the United States had not helped us, we would not have won the war.”
Unearthing a forgotten story
The former Museum of the Allies and Lend-Lease, in Moscow, offered physical evidence of America’s contributions to the Soviet war effort.
When the museum opened in 2004, the son of Soviet Marshal K.K. Rokossovsky donated his father’s American-made World War II Willys jeep. The museum displayed the still-operational vehicle and even took it on occasional driving trips. The museum also showcased a unique collection of uniform buttons carrying Soviet symbols on the front and stamped “Made in Chicago” on the back.
The museum is no longer active, but its former director, Nikolai Borodin, remains dedicated to publicizing the Lend-Lease story. In addition to military aid, he says, the U.S. sent food, clothes and toys to Russian civilians.
Under Lend-Lease, “whatever was asked for was received,” he says.
In his May 9, 2005, remarks at a Moscow parade honoring the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory against Nazi Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin honored Russian sacrifices — the U.S.S.R. suffered more casualties than any other force engaged in the war — and acknowledged Allied help in winning World War II.
Putin noted that “61 nations and almost 80 percent of the world’s population” were affected by the war in some way, and Allied help was integral to defeating Hitler.
“Dear friends, we never divided the victory into ours and someone else’s,” Putin said. “We will always remember the assistance from the Allies: the United States of America, Great Britain, France and other nations of the anti-Hitler coalition, [plus] German and Italian anti-fascists.”
Decades earlier, addressing the U.K. House of Commons shortly after Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill hailed the late president for ensuring the delivery of U.S. aid to the Allies during the largest armed conflict in human history.
Roosevelt, Churchill said, “devised the extraordinary measure of assistance called Lend-Lease, which will stand forth as the most unselfish and unsordid financial act of any country in all history.”
American leaders, for their part, were well satisfied that the Lend-Lease program helped achieve their objective: the defeat of Hitler.
Russia claims to have repaid the debt. Clearly this is false. If you bought a new Ford for around $1,000 in the 1940s and paid no interest and failed to pay until 50 years later, neither the car dealership, nor the bank, would consider that you paid. This is even more true if you only paid 6% ($60) 50 years late. Furthermore, you couldn’t buy much of a used car for $1,000 in 1993, and certainly not for $60. Here are the prices of cars in the 1940s: https://www.thepeoplehistory.com/40scars.html And, in the 1990s: https://www.thepeoplehistory.com/90scars.html
While this blog strives to be accurate, always double check our calculations, and anyone else’s, if you need it for a purpose other than general interest.
The point is that Russia owes the US big time! And, this isn’t the only unpaid aid that we’ve given them. And, while some European aid to Ukraine is actually loans, the United States has been giving grants.
On Russia’s Refusal to Pay Debt; London Club Debt Write-Off; Seemingly Endless US Aid to Russia – US Congressman Gilman (2000)
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