Did U.S. sell munitions to Hitler?

I was reading an interview with the great comic book writer Alan Moore who is (a) a genius and (b) a bit of an arse. Anyhow, in criticizing America as a nation of cowards and bullies and dismissing the attacks on 9/11, he notes that “we [British] had a lot more than two buildings blown up during the ‘40s when America was providing most of the munitions to Hitler…”

Any truth to this? I believe we did sell some type of arms (rockets, maybe) to the Germans after WWI, but I find it hard to believe we were giving Hitler weapons while he was trying to take over Europe.

He’s maybe-a-little-bi- partly-semi-right but, yeah, he’s basically being a horse’s arse.

The United States was officially neutral, but generally favored Britain, and made this stance clear. BY May of 1939, the U.S. was handing over under-the-table gifts to England. In 1941, Lend-Lease went into formal operation.

Now, some arms manufacturers are said to have sold items to neutral Belgium until it was attacked and conquered, and these may well have been resold to Nazi Germany. At the time, however, it wasn’t illegal and nobody much cared. Still, America had a sore point with some arms manufacturers over allegation that “they started WW1”. This wasn’t true, particularly, but they did make some big sales pitches prior to the start of hostilities.

Given FDR’s antipathy to Hitler and his desire for the US to enter the war against the Germans, I find this tough to believe. Howerver, he may be referencing the fact that some US companies had divisions in Germany, IBM and Ford both did IIRC. Those divisions continued in operation during the war in the service of the Nazis.

By the 1940s, US trade with Germany had virtually stopped. Some US companies supplied Germany with arms in the 1930s (one of the most notable cases was Dupont. One of their subsidiaries sold explosives to Germany, which were then given to the Spanish Nationalists, thereby getting around the Neutrality act). And, of course, US companies’ German subsidiaries stayed in business and producing, although, for the most part, the US office no longer had control. (Fordwerke made army trucks, even using slave labor to do so, Opel, which is a GM subsidiary, made airplanes)

This bears repeating. U.S. corporations lost entire virtually their entire European operations because of the war, though some of them later reestablished legal control and ownership.

Once the war started, the US as a national government sold no arms to the Nazis at all and it was illegal to sell arms to belligerents for private firms. Despite this FDR broke the law and provided all sorts of arms and supplies to Britain. So Moore is full of poop up to his eyeballs.

Ford was offered VW as compensation for losses to its German operations during the war. Henry turned it down, saying that the plant was worthless.

IIRC, there were people in the US arrested during and after the war for supplying Germany with weapons. I don’t think there were any large corporations involved in supplying Germany after the invasion of Poland. Large corporations, however, didn’t do themselves any favors in how they reacted to the war. At one point in the early days of the war, the head of GM described the company as being above the “petty squabbles” of nations.