On this day 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs his Lend-Lease program. Lend-Lease gave Roosevelt the power to “sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of” military resources as he deemed necessary in defense of the United States.
Primarily, the program was a means of aiding Great Britain in its war effort against Hitler’s Germany. Fittingly, Roosevelt used this simply illustration:
“Suppose my neighbor’s home catches fire, and I have a length of garden hose four or five hundred feet away. If he can take my garden hose and connect it up with his hydrant, I may help him to put out his fire.”
This captures the essence of what Roosevelt outlined in what he called the “three institutions indispensable to Americans.”
The basis for his program is clear in his State of the Union address from just two years prior:
“Storms from abroad directly challenge three institutions indispensable to Americans, now as always. The first is religion. It is the source of the other other two—democracy and international good faith.
Religion, by teaching man his relationship to God, give the individual a sense of his own dignity and teaches him to respect himself by respecting his neighbors.
Democracy, the practice of self-government, is a covenant among free men to respect the rights and liberties of their fellows.
International good faith, a sister of democracy, springs from the will of civilized nations of men to respect the rights and liberties of other nations of men.”