Atlantic Charter Facts

Atlantic Charter Facts
When the outcome of World War II was far from being decided and before the United States had even entered the war, the United States and the United Kingdom drafted a proposal that outlined how the post-war world should be governed, which became known as the Atlantic Charter. The idea was floated about by American President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill after World War II began in 1939. The Atlantic Charter was finally issued as a joint declaration by both leaders onboard the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales on August 14, 1941 at a British naval base in Newfoundland. The Charter was based on eight principles, which included no territorial gains for either country, lowered trade barriers, global cooperation, and a goal towards disarmament. The Atlantic Charter paved the way for later international conferences during and just after the war - such as Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam - and also for the formation of the United States. Theoretically, the United States and the United Kingdom were to play equal roles in the post-war world order, but instead the U.S. and Soviet Union became the two global power brokers after World War II.
Interesting Atlantic Charter Facts:
Although Newfoundland was a British Dominion when the Atlantic Charter was announced, it would not become part of Canada until 1949.
The Atlantic Charter was first known as the "Joint Declaration by the President and the Prime Minister." It became known as the Atlantic Charter after Churchill used the name in later speeches.
The document was not actually official - there is no copy in existence and it was never signed by either leader.
The third point of the agreement proved to be extremely problematical for the British and French empires: "All people had a right to self-determination."
Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi used the third point of the Charter to argue for his country's independence, while Churchill argued that it only applied to countries that lost their independence to the Axis powers.
Accompanying Roosevelt at the conference were admirals Ernest King and Harold Stark, General George Marshall, and advisor Harry Hopkins.
General Marshall is better known for later drafting the Marshall Plan.
Churchill was accompanied by General John Dill and Admiral Dudley Pound.
The third point of the Charter also proved to be problematic for Poland. Poland helped to regain the predominantly German "Polish Corridor," which would have been a problem if that point was enforced.
The Prince of Wales was sunk by the Japanese just a few months later on December 10, 1941 by the Japanese in the South China Sea. She was the first battleship to be sunk by aircraft and the only British battleship lost in the Pacific Theater.
The announcement of the Atlantic Charter was the first of eleven wartime meetings by Roosevelt and Churchill.
Churchill and the British hoped that the Americans would agree to play a more active role in the war, possibly even declaring war on the Axis powers, after the Atlantic Charter was announced.

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