War, Peace, and Democracy in America: Series 1: Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, 1940-1942

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From the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University

The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA) was an advocacy organization formed in May 1940 to persuade the American public that the United States should supply the Allies with as much material and financial aid as possible in order to keep the U.S. out of the war. CDAAA adopted several concrete goals: the sale of destroyers to Great Britain; the release by the U.S. government of Flying Fortresses, pursuit planes, and mosquito boats to Great Britain; the passage of the Lend-Lease Bill in Congress; the use of convoys to safely escort Allied supplies; and the revision of the 1935 Neutrality Act to arm U.S. ships for defense against Axis attacks.

The wealth of CDAAA’s publications shed light on political attitudes of the time. Publications include flyers, pamphlets, cartoons, newsletters, newspaper advertisements and clippings, postcards, press releases, a syndicated column called "It Makes Sense", radio transcripts, speeches, petitions, and policy statements. The Subject Files document the many organizations with which the Committee was sympathetic, as well as the many isolationist organizations to which the Committee was opposed. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, CDAAA acknowledged that its work had come to an end, and in January, 1942, it merged with the Council for Democracy to form Citizens for Victory To Win the War, To Win the Peace. Of special interest to social and cultural historians of the prewar and early war years, as well as important for research in American history, European history, public policy studies and military history, this material is not available in any library and thus provides scholars with new primary source documents and insight into anti-isolationist activities in the U.S. before its entry into the Second World War.

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