Roosevelt, from Munich to Pearl Harbor: A Study in the Creation of a Foreign Policy

By Basil Rauch | Go to book overview

12.
The Convoy Conundrum

AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE LEND LEASE ACT, THE CHIEF question facing Roosevelt was how to insure delivery of the cargoes of weapons and materials to Britain. Admiral Doenitz had begun to organize his increasing number of submarines in "wolf packs." As early as October 12, 1940, the President in a Columbus Day address on hemispheric defense had described the naval defenses of "this half of the world" and made what amounted to a campaign promise:

No combination of dictator countries of Europe and Asia will stop the help we are giving to almost the last free people now fighting to hold them at bay.1

In his address of December 29, 1940, Roosevelt had virtually promised that the United States would not permit the defeat of Great Britain.2 Quite apart from such promises, it was obvious that Lend Lease required delivery as well as manufacture of the goods needed in Britain and elsewhere for victory.

The equally obvious way to insure delivery was to use United States naval escorts to protect convoys of merchantmen. "Wolf pack" tactics of the German submarines made larger naval escorts necessary, and the Royal Navy was inadequate. Britain was losing the Battle of the Atlantic in the spring of 1941. Its monthly losses of merchant ships were from two to three times greater than its ability to replace them. Turning over to the Royal Navy important portions of the American fleet was "legal" under the Lend

-314-

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Roosevelt, from Munich to Pearl Harbor: A Study in the Creation of a Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Basil Rauch ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Roosevelt and the "New Neutrality 13
  • 4 - The Primacy of Foreign Danger 80
  • 5 - The Fight Against the Arm Embargo: Failure 102
  • 6- The Fight Against the Arms Embargo: Success 128
  • 7 - The "Phony" War 160
  • 8 - "Behind Walls of Sand" 193
  • 9 - "Because America Exists" 227
  • 10 - The Vichy Policy 272
  • 11 - Lend Lease 289
  • 12 - The Convoy Conundrum 314
  • 13 - America and Russia 347
  • 14 - The Atlantic Conference 358
  • 15 - Roosevelt and Japan 375
  • 16 - "Shoot on Sight" 409
  • 17 - Roosevelt and Konoye 431
  • 18 - Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor 455
  • Epilogue 494
  • Reference Notes 497
  • Index 515
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