Baldwin, for many years the military editor of The New York Times, earned a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the early phase of World War II. In his U.S. Naval Institute oral history, conducted in 1976, Baldwin offered insightful perspective on American ambivalence over getting entangled in the conflict—and described his personal reservations at the outset regarding the amount of aid and material the United States was supplying to Britain.
There was one period where I found myself considerably at odds with some of our policies. Remember, before we got into the war the British were trying to order more and more arms and planes from the United States, and the policy of the administration was to let them have this, even at our own expense. I didn’t think that was too good an idea, particularly in view of the situation that then existed in England, and I wrote one or two pieces which showed that we were stripping some of our operating forces in order to send material overseas. I wrote quite a few factual pieces describing what war reserves we had and what was happening to them. We gave a tremendous amount to Britain in that summer of 1940—that year of 1940–41.