The Arsenal of Democracy, Version 2.0

Fighting a war without actually fighting. In the defense of democracy, we need to go all in.

Steve Jones


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy surveys damage near Kyiv, April 4, 2022. (Photo, Office of the Ukraine President.)

In December 1940, the United States was the only major world power not yet involved in World War II. After Americans watched German aggression in 1939 and 1940, and Japanese imperial expansion in the western Pacific, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced congress to approve a peacetime draft and military appropriations. He suspected the war would come to the U.S., and he did not want the country to be ill-prepared as it had been in 1917.

Then, in March 1941, FDR convinced congress to approve the Lend-Lease Act. The act meant that the United States would produce all types of military equipment — tanks, aircraft, trucks, weapons, munitions, and more — that American allies needed to fight the Axis powers.

Just because the U.S. was not in the war did not mean that it couldn’t support its friends who were. FDR understood the United States could unleash its industrial might to free up its allies to concentrate on fighting.

“We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the…