The ATLANTIC CHARTER was a pivotal policy statement issued during
World War II
World War II on 14 August 1941, which defined the Allied goals for the
postwar world. The leaders of the
United Kingdom and the United States
drafted the work and all the Allies of
World War II
World War II later confirmed
it. The Charter stated the ideal goals of the war – no territorial
aggrandizement; no territorial changes made against the wishes of the
people, self-determination ; restoration of self-government to those
deprived of it; reduction of trade restrictions; global cooperation to
secure better economic and social conditions for all; freedom from
fear and want; freedom of the seas; and abandonment of the use of
force, as well as disarmament of aggressor nations. Adherents of the
Atlantic Charter signed the
Declaration by United Nations
Declaration by United Nations on 1 January
1942, which became the basis for the modern
United Nations .
Atlantic Charter set goals for the postwar world and inspired
many of the international agreements that shaped the world thereafter.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the postwar
independence of European colonies, and much more are derived from the
* 1 Origin
* 2 Content and analysis
* 3 Origin of the name
* 4 Acceptance by Inter-Allied Council and by
* 5 Impact on the
* 6 Impact on imperial powers and imperial ambitions
* 6.2 Poland
* 7 Participants
* 8 See also
* 9 Notes
* 10 Bibliography
* 11 External links
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt and
Winston Churchill aboard HMS Prince of
Wales in 1941
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill drafted the
Atlantic Charter at the Atlantic
Conference (codenamed Riviera) in
Placentia Bay , Newfoundland . They
issued it as a joint declaration on 14 August 1941 at Naval Station
Argentia although the
United States would not officially enter the War
until four months later. The policy was issued as a statement; as such
there was no formal, legal document entitled "The Atlantic Charter".
It detailed the goals and aims of the Allied powers concerning the war
and the postwar world.
Many of the ideas of the Charter came from an ideology of
Anglo-American internationalism that sought British and American
cooperation for the cause of international security. Roosevelt's
attempts to tie Britain to concrete war aims and Churchill's
desperation to bind the U.S. to the war effort helped provide
motivations for the meeting which produced the Atlantic Charter. It
was assumed at the time that Britain and America would have an equal
role to play in any postwar international organization that would be
based on the principles of the Atlantic Charter.
Churchill and Roosevelt began communicating in 1939; this was the
first of their 11 wartime meetings. Both men traveled in secret;
Roosevelt was on a ten-day fishing trip. On 9 August 1941, the
British battleship HMS Prince of Wales steamed into
Placentia Bay ,
with Churchill on board, and met the American heavy cruiser USS
Augusta , where Roosevelt and members of his staff were waiting. On
first meeting, Churchill and Roosevelt were silent for a moment until
Churchill said "At long last, Mr. President", to which Roosevelt
replied "Glad to have you aboard, Mr. Churchill". Churchill then
delivered to the president a letter from King
George VI and made an
official statement which, despite two attempts, the movie sound crew
present failed to record.
CONTENT AND ANALYSIS
Winston Churchill 's edited copy of the final draft of the
charter Printed copy of
Atlantic Charter distributed as propaganda
Atlantic Charter made clear that the
United States was supporting
United Kingdom in the war. Both the USA and UK wanted to present
their unity, regarding their mutual principles and hopes for a
peaceful postwar world and the policies they agreed to follow once the
Nazis had been defeated. A fundamental aim was to focus on the peace
that would follow, and not specific American involvement and war
strategy, although American involvement appeared increasingly likely.
The eight principal points of the Charter were:
* no territorial gains were to be sought by the
United States or the
* territorial adjustments must be in accord with the wishes of the
* all people had a right to self-determination ;
* trade barriers were to be lowered;
* there was to be global economic cooperation and advancement of
* the participants would work for a world free of want and fear;
* the participants would work for freedom of the seas ;
* there was to be disarmament of aggressor nations, and a common
disarmament after the war.
Although Clause Three clearly states that all peoples have the right
to decide their form of government, it fails to say what changes are
necessary in both social and economic terms, so as to achieve freedom
Clause Four, with respect to international trade, consciously
emphasized that both "victor vanquished" would be given market access
"on equal terms." This was a repudiation of the punitive trade
relations that were established within Europe after World War I, as
exemplified by the
Paris Economy Pact .
Only two clauses expressly discuss national, social, and economic
conditions necessary after the war, despite this significance.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
When it was released to the public, the Charter was titled "Joint
Declaration by the President and the Prime Minister" and was generally
known as the "Joint Declaration". The Labour Party newspaper Daily
Herald coined the name Atlantic Charter, but Churchill used it in
Parliament on 24 August 1941, and it has since been generally adopted.
No signed version ever existed. The document was threshed out through
several drafts and the final agreed text was telegraphed to London and
Washington. President Roosevelt gave Congress the Charter's content on
21 August 1941. He said later, "There isn't any copy of the Atlantic
Charter, so far as I know. I haven't got one. The British haven't got
one. The nearest thing you will get is the radio operator on Augusta
and Prince of Wales. That's the nearest thing you will come to it ...
There was no formal document."
The British War Cabinet replied with its approval and a similar
acceptance was telegraphed from Washington. During this process, an
error crept into the London text, but this was subsequently corrected.
The account in Churchill's The Second World War concludes "A number of
verbal alterations were agreed, and the document was then in its final
shape", and makes no mention of any signing or ceremony. In
Churchill's account of the
Yalta Conference he quotes Roosevelt saying
of the unwritten British constitution that "it was like the Atlantic
Charter – the document did not exist, yet all the world knew about
it. Among his papers he had found one copy signed by himself and me,
but strange to say both signatures were in his own handwriting."
ACCEPTANCE BY INTER-ALLIED COUNCIL AND BY UNITED NATIONS
The Allied nations and leading organisations quickly and widely
endorsed the Charter. At the subsequent meeting of the Inter-Allied
Council in London on 24 September 1941, the governments in exile of
Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, and Yugoslavia, as well as the Soviet Union, and
representatives of the
Free French Forces
Free French Forces , unanimously adopted
adherence to the common principles of policy set forth in the Atlantic
Charter. On 1 January 1942, a larger group of nations, who adhered to
the principles of the Atlantic Charter, issued a joint Declaration by
United Nations stressing their solidarity in the defense against
IMPACT ON THE AXIS POWERS
World map of colonization at the end of the Second World War in
Axis powers interpreted these diplomatic agreements as a
potential alliance against them. In Tokyo, the Atlantic Charter
rallied support for the militarists in the Japanese government, who
pushed for a more aggressive approach against the U.S. and Britain.
The British dropped millions of flysheets over Germany to allay fears
of a punitive peace that would destroy the German state. The text
cited the Charter as the authoritative statement of the joint
commitment of Great Britain and the U.S. "not to admit any economical
discrimination of those defeated" and promised that "Germany and the
other states can again achieve enduring peace and prosperity."
The most striking feature of the discussion was that an agreement had
been made between a range of countries that held diverse opinions, who
were accepting that internal policies were relevant to the
international problem. The agreement proved to be one of the first
steps towards the formation of the
United Nations .
IMPACT ON IMPERIAL POWERS AND IMPERIAL AMBITIONS
The problems came not from Germany and Japan , but from those of the
allies that had empires and which resisted
United Kingdom , the Soviet Union
Netherlands . Initially it appears that Roosevelt and
Churchill had agreed that the third point of Charter was not going to
Asia . However Roosevelt's speechwriter Robert E.
Sherwood noted that "it was not long before the people of
Burma , Malaya , and
Indonesia were beginning to ask if the Atlantic
Charter extended also to the Pacific and to
Asia in general." With a
war that could only be won with the help of these allies, Roosevelt's
solution was to put some pressure on Britain but to postpone until
after the war the issue of self-determination of the colonies.
Public opinion in Britain and the Commonwealth was delighted with the
principles of the meetings but disappointed that the U.S. was not
entering the war. Churchill admitted that he had hoped the U.S. would
finally decide to commit itself.
The acknowledgement that all people had a right to self-determination
gave hope to independence leaders in British colonies .
The Americans were insistent that the charter was to acknowledge that
the war was being fought to ensure self-determination. The British
were forced to agree to these aims but in a September 1941 speech,
Churchill stated that the Charter was only meant to apply to states
under German occupation, and certainly not to the countries who formed
part of the
British Empire .
Churchill rejected its universal applicability when it came to the
self-determination of subject nations such as British
India . Mahatma
Gandhi in 1942 wrote to President Roosevelt: "I venture to think that
the Allied declaration that the Allies are fighting to make the world
safe for the freedom of the individual and for democracy sounds hollow
so long as
India and for that matter
Africa are exploited by Great
Britain..." While self-determination was Roosevelt's guiding
principle, he was reluctant to place pressure on the British in regard
India and other colonial possessions as they were fighting for
their lives in a war in which the
United States was not a participant.
Gandhi refused to help either the British or the American war effort
against Germany and Japan in any way, and Roosevelt chose to back
India was already contributing significantly to the war
effort, sending over 2.5 million men (the largest volunteer force in
the world at the time) to fight for the Allies, mostly in West Asia
and North Africa.
Churchill was unhappy with the inclusion of references to peoples'
right to "self-determination" and stated that he considered the
Charter an "interim and partial statement of war aims designed to
reassure all countries of our righteous purpose and not the complete
structure which we should build after the victory." An office of the
Polish Government in Exile
Polish Government in Exile wrote to warn
Władysław Sikorski that if
the Charter was implemented with regard to national
self-determination, it would make the desired Polish annexation of
East Prussia and parts of German
Silesia impossible, which
led the Poles to approach Britain asking for a flexible interpretation
of the Charter.
During the war Churchill argued for an interpretation of the charter
in order to allow the
Soviet Union to continue to control the Baltic
states , an interpretation rejected by the U.S. until March 1944.
Lord Beaverbrook warned that the
Atlantic Charter "would be a menace
to our own safety as well as to that of the Soviet Union." The U.S.
refused to recognise the Soviet takeover of the Baltics, but did not
press the issue against Stalin when he was fighting the Germans.
Roosevelt planned to raise the Baltic issue after the war, but he died
in April 1945, before fighting had ended in Europe.
* Prime Minister
* General Sir
John Dill , British Army
* Admiral Sir
Dudley Pound , Royal Navy
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
* Admiral Ernest J. King , US Navy
Harold R. Stark
Harold R. Stark , US Navy
George C. Marshall
George C. Marshall , US Army
* Presidential adviser
* US Ambassador to Great Britain and
Soviet Union W. Averell
* List of
World War II
World War II conferences
* ^ Langer and Gleason, chapter 21
* ^ Cull, pp. 4, 6
* ^ Cull, pp 15, 21.
* ^ A B Gunther, pp. 15–16
* ^ Weigold, pp. 15–16
* ^ Gratwick, p. 72
* ^ Stone, p. 5
* ^ O'Sullivan and Welles
* ^ Stone, p. 21
* ^ Wrigley, p. 29
* ^ "President Roosevelt\'s message to Congress on the Atlantic
Charter". The Avalon Project. Lillian Goldman Law Library. 21 August
1941. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
* ^ Churchill, p. 393
* ^ Lauren, pp. 140–41
* ^ "Inter-Allied Council Statement on the Principles of the
Atlantic Charter". The Avalon Project. Lillian Goldman Law Library. 24
September 1941. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
* ^ "Joint Declaration by the United Nations". The Avalon Project.
Lillian Goldman Law Library. 1 January 1942. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
* ^ Sauer, p. 407
* ^ Stone, p. 80
* ^ Borgwardt, p. 29
* ^ Bayly and Harper
* ^ Louis (1985) pp. 395–420
* ^ Crawford, p. 297
* ^ Sathasivam, p. 59
* ^ Joseph P. Lash, Roosevelt and Churchill, 1939-1941, W. W.
Norton & Company, New York, 1976, pp. 447–448.
* ^ Louis, (2006), p. 400
* ^ "Second World War Memorials". Commonwealth War Graves
Commission . Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved
14 August 2013.
* ^ Prażmowska, p. 93
* ^ Whitcomb, p. 18;
* ^ Louis (1998), p. 224
* ^ Hoopes and Brinkley, p. 52
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