On the outbreak of the Second World War on 1 September 1939, the United States was still in the throes of the Great Depression. Its military institutions hardly reflected those of a great power. Its army rested somewhere between those of Bolivia and Thailand in terms of its size. Its army and naval air forces were just beginning to acquire modern aircraft. And its Navy, undoubtedly the best prepared of the services, could at best maintain a defensive posture to defend the Western Hemisphere from external maritime threats. Only its separation by two great oceans from the conflicts boiling over in Asia and Europe allowed the United States its arrogant sense of being removed from world affairs. The geographic removal from the world's trouble spots also allowed substantial numbers of American politicians, and the electorate that supported them, to believe that the United States could remain safe and secure. As late as July 1941, when Nazi panzer divisions had already captured Smolensk two-thirds of the way to Moscow and with Japan threatening war in the Pacific, the Congress of the United States renewed the draft, which had only begun the previous year, by a single vote.