Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies

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The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA) was an American political action group formed in May 1940. It was at the forefront of the effort to support a "pro-British policy" against Axis aggression, advocating American military materiel support of Britain as the best way to keep the United States out of the conflict then raging in Europe. Politically, they would be classified as being pro-intervention; that is, they strongly believed the United States should actively assert itself in the War in Europe. The CDAAA disagreed strongly with the America First Committee, the main pressure group supporting complete neutrality and non-intervention.

The CDAAA supported the Lend-Lease Act; they opposed the various Neutrality Acts of the late 1930s and sought their revision or repeal. The CDAAA was also influential in mobilizing public support for the Destroyers for Bases Agreement through six hundred local chapters and national radio addresses by individuals such as John J. Pershing and William Harrison Standley.[1]

After Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June, 1941, the CDAAA dropped the "by Aiding the Allies" from their name and became simply the Committee to Defend America (CDA). This was due to a strong aversion from many in the group to embrace Joseph Stalin and communism. They now viewed the Soviets as fellow fighters against Hitler and fascism: the Soviets were allies of immediate necessity, not true allies. The CDA always maintained an officially anti-Communist stance.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, effectively brought an end to both the CDA and the America First Committee. In January, 1942, the CDA merged with the Council for Democracy to form Citizens for Victory: To Win the War, To Win the Peace. This combined organization officially dissolved in October, 1942. The America First Committee officially dissolved four days after Pearl Harbor.

Prominent members of the CDAAA included Executive Secretary Ernest W. Gibson, Jr., Clark M. Eichelberger (National Director), Adlai Stevenson II, U.S. Rep. Claude Pepper (D-Fla), newspaper editor William Allen White, Hollywood screenwriter and activist Philip Dunne, and the historian Conyers Read.[2]


  1. ^ Pious, Richard. "Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Destroyer Deal: Normalizing Prerogative Power." Presidential Studies Quarterly. 42.1 (2012): 190–204. Print.
  2. ^ Conyers Read, 1881–1959, Papers, 1892 – c. 1952 at, accessed 30 June 2013

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