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The Arsenal of Democracy

Aircraft Supply and the Anglo-American Alliance, 1938-1942

Gavin J. Bailey

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A critical re-examination of the conduct and outcome of Anglo-American wartime aircraft supply diplomacy

Through a series of case studies, Gavin J. Bailey reveals new details of how Britain used American aircraft and integrates this with broader British statecraft and strategy. He challenges conceptions that Britain was strategically reliant on the US and reveals a complicated, asymmetrical dependency between the wartime allies.

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1. The Anglo-American Relationship and the Need for Historical Interpretation
2. The Evolution of Transatlantic Aircraft Supply Diplomacy, 1938-40
3. The Diplomacy of Critical Dependency, 1940
4. Lend-Lease and the Politics of Supply, 1941
5. The Limits of Dependency. American Aircraft in Action, 1941-42
6. Heavy Bomber Supply Diplomacy, 1941-42
7. The Problem of Quality. The Fighter Supply Crisis of 1942
8. Collaboration and Interdependency
Appendix: RAF Air Strength by aircraft type on 3 Sep 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942
Unpublished sources cited in text

About the Author

Gavin J. Bailey is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Dundee.


Within the long history of the special relationship no moment of solidarity stands clearer than Washington's decision to aid London in the early 1940s. Or so you thought. Writing in sweeping terms, Gavin Bailey forces all who care about Atlantic relations, and aviation, to rethink just how portentous was that moment, and how intimate the Anglo-American alliance.

- Jeffrey A. Engel, Director of Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History and author of Cold War at 30,000 Feet: the Anglo-American Fight for Aviation Supremacy

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