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In 1941, Senator (and future President) Harry Truman famously said, "If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany." General Patton wanted to re-arm defeated German troops and join them in sending the Red Army back to Russia at the very end of the original war.

Such a result might have been achieved by scaling back, or even "turning off" the flow of "Lend Lease" aid to the Soviet Union after it started winning the war at the battle of Kursk. The enormous Soviet advances of 1943-44 were greatly assisted by American trucks, fuel, and other supplies. Without this aid, it might have taken the Soviet Union until mid-1945, instead of mid-1944, to regain her pre-war frontier. Meaning that the Americans could have been the first to arrive in Berlin, and perhaps Warsaw or even points further east.

Did anyone in the U.S. military or government advocate such a "Machiavellian" policy? Were there people who counterargued that keeping up the flow of Lend Lease aid would save American lives?

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The bit about Patton was in his biopic and seems in character. The rest I'd have trouble believing, but I think in this case that makes this a good question, so +1. –  T.E.D. May 12 '13 at 23:29
A few remarks for now: (1) You really need to add sources for the Truman and Patton quotes. (2) Even of these two quotes are correct, it is anachronistic to deduce from 1941 (before USA entered the war) and from after the end of the war (when the Cold War was setting in) about actual wartime attitudes and policies. (3) Having said that, I do want to point out that Lend-Lease was very much of an evolving policy; I don't know much about the Soviet angle but the book I am reading now (The last 1,000 days of the British Empire) shows how complex was the USA-UK Lend-Lease relationship. –  Felix Goldberg May 13 '13 at 7:48
Cntd. basically, the Americans sort of wanted to be reimbursed by the British towards the end of the war for some of the stuff they have lended; the British had a rather different impression that the stuff was given for free as part of a joint effort. Who was right? Hard to tell, because the relevant agreements were either vague or oral or both... (It gets more complex than that but that's the upshot; also, I don't know if a similar dynamic existed vis-a-vis the Soviets. Probably not, but maybe some US officials expected reciprocity of sorts from the Soviets too). –  Felix Goldberg May 13 '13 at 7:51
@FelixGoldberg: Very good point. Complexity of Lend Lease dynamics probably meant that the U.S. didn't have a clear policy re Soviet Union. Basically an answer, and probably an upvotable one, in itself. –  Tom Au May 13 '13 at 12:19
@TomAu from my reading there was a clear policy from the Lend Lease program, but there was active sabotage from the US Army who appropriated a lot of the earmarked material for themselves until about 1943. –  jwenting May 14 '13 at 9:47

1 Answer 1

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/BigL/BigL-5.html lists Lend Lease provisions by the US to the USSR only for 1941 through 1943, not for '44 and '45 (if any), as the data was taken from a 1944 congressional report. It does show a steady increase for those 3 consecutive years though, not a decline or flattening out for 1943.
From the total deliveries also mentioned to the USSR, subtracting from those the totals up to 1944, I can however conclude that there was no decline (deliveries in 1944 and 1945 combined totaled more than those from 1941-1943 combined, though the focus seems to have shifted from aircraft and armoured vehicles to trucks and utility vehicles).
The website is specific to the US program of course, and does not mention the British aid to the USSR in the same period.

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Here is the list of convoys in 1944 which include their tonnage. However, this doesn't answer the question. The question is whether a reduction was seriously considered not whether it actually happened. –  Schwern Aug 23 at 3:59

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