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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060
American Defense Service 1939-1941
Two days after the start of World War II in Europe, President
Roosevelt ordered the Navy to organize a neutrality patrol to
report and track any belligerent air, surface, or underwater forces
approaching the United States or the West Indies.
With the fall of France in June 1940, Germany gained valuable
U-boat bases to press the attack against British lifelines, and
possibilities were raised of German occupation of French territories
in the Western Hemisphere. Assigned additional responsibilities
in defense of this hemisphere, the U.S. Navy began the escort
of convoys to Iceland. U-boat attacks on the convoys brought American
destroyers into combat.
The Battle of the Atlantic, on which the survival of Great
Britain and the projection of the United States' power overseas
depended, continued until VE-Day, almost four years later.
15 July 1996