Eight Points of the Atlantic Charter Signed by Churchill and Roosevelt

A Vision for a Post-World War II World

Franklin D. Roosevelt. Getty Images

The Atlantic Charter (August 14, 1941) 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 in Context

According to the United Nations website:

"Coming from the two great democratic leaders of the day and implying the full moral support of the United States, the Atlantic Charter created a profound impression on the embattled Allies. It came as a message of hope to the occupied countries, and it held out the promise of a world organization based on the enduring verities of international morality.

That it had little legal validity did not detract from its value. If, in the ultimate analysis, the value of any treaty is the sincerity of its spirit, no affirmation of common faith between peace-loving nations could be other than important.

This document was not a treaty between the two powers. Nor was it a final and formal expression of peace aims. It was only an affirmation, as the document declared, “of certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they based their hopes for a better future for the world.”

Eight Points of the Atlantic Charter

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.
  1. Self-determination was a right of all people.
  2. A concerted effort would be made to lower trade barriers.
  3. The importance of the advancement of social welfare and global economic cooperation were recognized as important.
  4. They would work to establish freedom from fear and want.
  5. The importance of freedom of the seas was stated.
  6. They would work towards postwar disarmament and the mutual disarmament of aggressor nations.

Impact of the Atlantic Charter

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.