The group advocated American military materiel support for 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 supported the Lend-Lease Act; they opposed the various Neutrality Acts of the late 1930's and sought their revision or repeal.
The CDAAA disagreed strongly with another powerful group, the America First Committee, who advocated complete neutrality and non-intervention. The America First Committee believed that the U.S. should not get involved in foreign conflicts.
After Hitler 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 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 Clark M. Eichelberger (National Director), Adlai Stevenson, U.S. Rep. Claude Pepper (D-Fla), newspaper editor William Allen White, and Hollywood screenwriter and activist Philip Dunne, .