Seventy-Five Years after the Destroyer Deal

The past tells us how to face our threats today. On September 2, 1940, America transferred fifty old destroyers to Britain during one of the two particularly dangerous periods in the Battle of the North Atlantic. France had fallen two months earlier, and its navy, the fourth largest in the world, was on the sidelines. Italy, with the fifth largest navy, had entered the war against Britain, and until the attack on Taranto in November 1940, the Royal Navy was outgunned in the Mediterranean Sea. Japan, with one of the three great navies, might lurch at any time toward Singapore and Hong Kong and Australia.

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  • tom_billesley

    “The fifty World War I vintage destroyers we gave Britain
    Four-funnel destroyers out of mothballs, 43 to RN and 7 to RCN.
    They weren’t exactly given away – USA received 99 year rent-free land rights for military bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, Bahamas and the Caribbean.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      What the fuck is it with Brits and Lend Lease? You are as bad as the Russians!
      They received an actual 90% discount on everything they used and still they bitch about it.

      • tom_billesley

        This was before Lend-Lease. The point is that it was a mutually advantageous deal, not a gift it appeared in “The Thinker” article

        • Drunk_by_Noon

          Yes, and it was the Brits that dictated the bases!
          Churchill WANTED an American presence in those locations because it freed up the Royal Navy that was guarding those bases to operate elsewhere.
          Virtually all of them we gave up immediately after the war (1949) too .
          We even handed back our Newfoundland base in the mid 1960’s.

          • tom_billesley

            Oh. I didn’t realise Churchill hornswoggled FDR.

          • DD_Austin

            The americans also wanted their cargos to reach Britain
            because that if they didn’t Britain wouldn’t buy them.
            Lend Lease wasn’t generous, it wasn’t a “gift” the UK bankrupted itself buying from the US before “lend lease”

            Ending those sales would have crashed the economy and
            FDR re-election

            The US wasn’t not altruist about anything it did, everything it did was in it’s own self interest. FDR and his socialist crew undermined the UK as much as possible, at every opportunity, Don’t be fooled by WSC’s ass kissing

            We got nothing to thank the US for, we also got nothing to
            condemn them for, they were an independent rival nation
            as much responsible for the fall of the British Empire as
            Germany

            One may as well condemn the vandals and goths for
            the sack of Rome.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            “We got nothing to thank the US for, we also got nothing to
            condemn them for, they were an independent rival nation
            as much responsible for the fall of the British Empire as
            Germany”

            Wow, I thought I was reading the Guardian for a moment.
            Yeah, an immediate 90% discount is America’s way of war profiteering at the expense of England.

            You ran yourself broke in WWI and then plunged headlong into WWII with no realization of what you were really doing.
            You know, we could have sold all we wanted to Germany at a 0% discount, while insisting you resettle all of the Jews in Palestine (Hitler would have been all over that deal), and then just EVICTED you from all of your bases, and saved a lot of American, European, Jewish and yes even British lives in the process.

          • Alain

            Yes, the Americans were very instrumental in destroying the British Empire. In fact that was a particular goal at the time.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Your “Empire” peaked BEFORE WWI even started.
            By the way, how did we destroy your empire?
            I’m really curious how we did that.

          • DD_Austin

            90% discount of what price? If it’s price inflated to 1000% it means nothing.

            The US still made a massive profit on both wars, until they were dragged into fighting by the germans

            Actually the US did sell to germany, barred entry to jews
            but did not backstab the allies, while they were fighting
            tyranny like you suggest and Madison did.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            “90% discount of what price? If it’s price inflated to 1000% it means nothing.”
            And your evidence for that IS?

          • DD_Austin

            Thompson machine gun

            $209 in 1939
            $ 70 in 1942

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Wow, they got cheaper when they hit mass production.

          • Minicapt

            Argentia was handed back in 1994. And there was no discount.

            Cheers

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            That particular base (Argentia) was decommissioned in 1973 and handed back to the Canadian government in 1975.
            Ernest Harmon Air Force Base in Newfoundland was closed in 1966.

          • Minicapt

            Nope.

            Cheers

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Yes, there WAS a 90% discount!

            “Congress had not authorized the gift of supplies delivered after the cutoff date, so the U.S. charged for them, usually at a 90% discount. Large quantities of undelivered goods were in Britain or in transit when Lend-Lease terminated on 2 September 1945. Britain wished to retain some of this equipment in the immediate post war period. In 1946, the post-war Anglo-American loan further indebted Britain to the U.S. Lend-Lease items retained were sold to Britain at 10% of nominal value, giving an initial loan value of ¬£1.075 billion for the Lend-Lease portion of the post-war loans.”

            Kindleberger 1984, p. 415.

  • canminuteman

    Back then 50 destroyers was a useful addition, but a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the Royal Navy. Now they would be lucky if they could muster a dozen destroyers/frigates.

    • tom_billesley

      They have more admirals than ships.

  • Brett_McS

    The Muslim country, Indonesia, is the major potential threat to Australia. Our armed services train against it, even though no one ever speaks its name during the exercises. When the Soviet Union broke up the Indonesians went to the former eastern block countries (East Germany etc) and basically bought all their warships and created their own, huge, navy. The only problem was … these were cold water ships; they had no air con and no room to fit air con. They were useless in tropical waters, so they just sit there, rusting away,