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Atlantic Charter

A Vision for a Post-World War II World


The Atlantic Charter was an agreement between the United States of America and Great Britain that established the vision of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill for a post-World War II world. One of the interesting aspects of the charter that was signed on August 14, 1941 was that the United States of America was not even a part of the war at the time. However, Roosevelt felt strongly enough about what the world should be like that he put forth this agreement with Winston Churchill. The Atlantic Charter can be boiled down to eight points:
  1. The United States And Great Britain agreed to seek no territorial gains as a result of the outcome of World War II.
  2. Any territorial adjustments would be made with the wishes of the affected people taken into consideration.
  3. Self-determination was a right of all people.
  4. A concerted effort would be made to lower trade barriers.
  5. The importance of the advancement of social welfare and global economic cooperation were recognized as important.
  6. They would work to establish freedom from fear and want.
  7. The importance of freedom of the seas was stated.
  8. They would work towards postwar disarmament and the mutual disarment of aggressor nations.
This was a bold step on the part of the Great Britain and the United States. As stated it was very significant for the United States because they were not yet involved in World War II. The impact of the Atlantic Charter can be seen in the following ways:
  • The Allied nations agreed to the principles of the Atlantic Charter thus establishing a commonality of purpose.
  • The Atlantic Charter was a significant first step towards the United Nations.
  • The Atlantic Charter was perceived by the Axis powers as the beginnings of a United States and Great Britain alliance. This had the impact of strengthening the militaristic government in Japan.
  • Though the Atlantic Charter pledged no military support for the war in Europe it had the impact of signaling the United States as a major player on the world stage. This was a position that the United States would firmly hold after World War II in its efforts to rebuild a war torn Europe.

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