Stalin himself recognized that without this help "we would have lost the war"

The figures of the American and British aid that prevented the defeat of the USSR in the WWII

The official Soviet propaganda, first, and now Russian nationalism have been attributing to the USSR the merit of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The Nazi-Soviet joint parade of 1939 in Poland that some deny, in video
The Myth of Polish Cavalry Charges Against Tanks in September 1939

A war that started with Germany and the USSR as allies

Esos discursos oficiales suelen olvidar, ante todo, que la Segunda Guerra Mundial empezó con la invasión conjunta de Polonia por parte de Alemania y la URSS, que escenificaron su alianza y su victoria contra el Ejército Polaco con un desfile conjunto germanosoviético en la localidad polaca de Brześć Litewski (hoy Brest-Litovsk, en Bielorrusia). La alianza entre nazis y soviéticos no se limitó a esa invasión, sino que además los partidos comunistas fieles a Moscú boicotearon el esfuerzo bélico aliado contra Alemania. La cosa cambió con la invasión alemana de la URSS en junio de 1941. Stalin se vio traicionado por su antiguo aliado y se tuvo que enfrentar a él. ¿Pudo haberlo hecho en solitario?

Those official speeches often forget, first of all, that World War II began with the joint invasion of Poland by Germany and the USSR, which staged their alliance and victory against the Polish Army with a Soviet-German joint parade in the Polish town of Brześć Litewski (today Brest-Litovsk, in Belarus). The alliance between Nazis and Soviets was not limited to that invasion, but also communist parties loyal to Moscow boycotted the allied war effort against Germany. Things changed with the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941. Stalin was betrayed by his former ally and had to face him. Could he have done it alone?

Stalin recognized that without this help "we would have lost the war"

This question was answered by Stalin himself: " The most important things in this war are the machines.... The United States is a country of machines. Without the machines we received through Lend-Lease, we would have lost the war.", said the Soviet dictator at the Tehran conference in November 1943 before British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin Roosevelt, referring to the Lend-Lease Act approved by the US to send that aid.

In his memoirs, the fellow Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev stated: "I want to talk about the words of Stalin, which he repeated several times when we had "free talks" between us. He said directly that if the United States had not helped us, we would not have won this war: face to face with Nazi Germany, we would not have resisted their onslaughts and we would have lost the war. Nobody officially touched on this here, and I believe that Stalin left no written trace of his opinion anywhere, but I state here that you noticed this circumstance several times in conversations with me.".

Marshal Zhukov's words on the importance of American aid

What volume did that American aid have for Stalin himself to recognize his determining role in World War II? In 2016, a Moscow-based Russian outlet, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, published the figures for this aid on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the approval of the aforementioned Lending and Leasing Law. The article began with these words by Georgy Zhukov, Marshal of the USSR and one of the most prominent Soviet commanders of World War II:

"Now they say that the allies never helped us, but there is no denying that the Americans gave us so many goods without which we would not have been able to form our reserves and continue the war". (.. .) "We had no explosives, gunpowder. We had nothing to load our rifle cartridges with. The Americans really saved us with their gunpowder and explosives. And how much sheet steel they gave us! How could we have produced our tanks without American steel? But now they make it seem like we have plenty of all of that.Without American trucks we wouldn't have had enough to fire our artillery".

The figures of American aid to the USSR

These are the figures of American aid to the USSR listed by the Rossiyskaya Gazeta:

  • More than 14,000 planes (8,000 of them transported from Alaska).
  • 12,700 tanks.
  • 44,000 jeeps.
  • 375,883 trucks.
  • 8,071 tractors.
  • 1,541,590 blankets.
  • 331,066 liters of alcohol.
  • 15,417,000 pairs of military boots
  • 106,893 tons of cotton.
  • 2,670,000 tons of petroleum derivatives.
  • 4,478,000 tons of food.

The Rossiyskaya Gazeta also pointed out that this aid began to be sent to the USSR in August 1941 and cost the US great losses, because when the German submarines discovered the supply routes, they began to attack the USSR. ships that carried it. The German Navy sank some 80 ships carrying this American aid to the USSR."Russia'S Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II" (Lexington Books, 2004), Albert Loren Weeks cites these materials at the American aid to the USSR:

  • 427,284 trucks.
  • 13,303 combat vehicles.
  • 35,170 motorcycles.
  • 2,328 artillery service vehicles.
  • 1,911 steam locomotives.
  • 66 diesel locomotives.
  • 9,920 flatcars.
  • 1,000 dump cars.
  • 120 tank cars.
  • 35 heavy machinery cars.

Weeks adds that the artillery items sent by the US to the USSR (ammunition, artillery shells, landmines and various types of explosives) accounted for 53% of those consumed by the Red Army during the war.

It should be noted that the USSR was the second country that received the most aid from the US, after the United Kingdom. But in addition, the US sent aid to dozens of other countries. American aid to Free France and China had amounts that easily exceeded 1,000 million dollars at that time.

Figures on British aid to the USSR

On the other hand, the US was not the only country that sent generous aid to the USSR. The British government published in 1946 the figures of the aid sent by the United Kingdom to the USSR. I quote only some of the concepts, as it is a very long list:

  • 1 battleship.
  • 9 destroyers.
  • 4 submarines.
  • 5 minesweeper ships.
  • 9 minesweeper trawlers.
  • 7,411 aircraft (including 3,129 shipped from the US on behalf of the UK).
  • 976 aircraft engines.
  • 5,218 tanks with their corresponding ammunition, of which 1,388 were supplied by Canada.
  • 4,020 vehicles (including trucks and ambulances).
  • 323 machinery trucks.
  • 1,212 Bren armored personnel carriers (plus another 1,348 from Canada).
  • 1,721 motorcycles.
  • 20,145 tons of spare parts and maintenance equipment for Bren tanks and armored personnel carriers.
  • 4,090 tons of other vehicle parts and maintenance equipment.
  • 1,000 PIAT grenade launchers and 100,000 shells.
  • 103 Thompson submachine guns.
  • 636 Ordnance QF 2-pounder anti-tank guns and 2,807,000 shells.
  • 96 Ordnance QF 6-pounder anti-tank guns and 776,000 shells.
  • 3,200 Boys anti-tank rifles and 1,761,000 cartridges.
  • 2,487 Bren machine guns.
  • 581 Besa machine guns and 53,411,000 cartridges.
  • 20,786,000 45-inch cartridges.
  • 89,332,000 .303 caliber cartridges.
  • 1,163,000 2-inch mortar shells.
  • 162,000 2-inch mortar shells.
  • 56 130mm naval guns.
  • 2 6-inch naval guns and 2,400 shells.
  • 36 4-inch naval guns.
  • 22 QF 12-pounder naval guns and 31,000 shells.
  • 162 20mm naval guns and 882,000 shells.
  • 384 Vickers machine guns and 5,792,000 cartridges.
  • 240 Colt Browning machine guns and 1,399,500 cartridges.
  • 3,206 underwater mines.
  • 6,800 depth charges.
  • 361 torpedoes.
  • 2,000 15-inch shells.
  • 13,600 6-inch shells.
  • 26,000 .455 caliber cartridges (for revolver).
  • 359,500 cartridges of caliber .303 (for rifle).
  • 889,000 cartridges of caliber 30.
  • 4,000 2-inch rockets.
  • 303,000 smoke generators.
  • 2,204,000 signal cartridges.
  • 1,474 radar sets.
  • 4,338 radio sets.
  • 30,227 miles of telephone cable.
  • 2.000 teléfonos.
  • 400 telephone switchboards.
  • 3,013,000 meters of camouflage nets.
  • 72,000 tires.
  • 2,000 tons of aluminum.
  • 13,000 tons of copper.
  • £1,424,000 worth of industrial diamonds.
  • 100,435 tons of jute.
  • 114,359 tons of rubber.
  • 3,300 tons of graphite.
  • 28,050 tons of tin.

The fronts that the Americans and British had to attend while helping the USSR

Let us also bear in mind that while they gave all that aid to the USSR, the US almost alone sustained (with some help from Australia and New Zealand) the war in the Pacific against Japan, in addition to participate in theaters of operations in North Africa, Western Europe and Italy. In turn, the United Kingdom had to face the defense of its metropolis, in addition to participating in the theaters of operations in France, Norway, North Africa, the Mediterranean, Western Europe, Italy and the Southeast Asian. The USSR only fought against Germany, not bothering to declare war on Japan until three months after the end of the war in Europe.


Main photo, from left to right: Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin, at the Yalta Conference in February 1945.

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