Feature

Today in history: November 4

In 1939, Congress agreed to a proposal by President Franklin Roosevelt to amend the Neutrality Act and allow nations to buy weapons from the United States

Nov. 4, 1939: With World War II underway, Congress agreed to a proposal by President Franklin Roosevelt to amend the Neutrality Act and allow nations to buy weapons from the United States. FDR's proposed changes to the Neutrality Act were clearly aimed at benefiting Britain and France, which had just declared war on Nazi Germany. Roosevelt successfully argued that U.S. neutrality laws prior to the war may have given passive "aid to an aggressor" because it denied aid to victimized nations.

A year later, after France had fallen to the Nazis and Britain stood alone — and with German U-boats threatening American ships in the Atlantic — the Neutrality Act was again amended to allow the arming of merchant vessels. In December 1941, the Act was rendered irrelevant by the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America's subsequent entry into World War II.

Quote of the Day

"Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged." — Franklin D. Roosevelt

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