Atlantic Charter

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 17, 2022, 8:35

The Atlantic Charter was signed and delivered by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 14th August 1941. The two leaders met on the ship USS. Augusta in Placenta Bay, Newfoundland, to sign the Atlantic Charter, a broad statement of British and US war aims.

What is the Atlantic Charter?

Atlantic Charter 1941 refers to a statement issued by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on both countries' goals after the conclusion of World War 2 (1939-1945). Both state leaders were accompanied by several high-ranking military officers, including naval and air services officers.

The Charter covered many aims, notable of which were no territorial aggrandisement, self-determination, restoration of self-government, revocation of trade restrictions, etc. The Charter was followed by the Declaration by the United Nations, which led to the foundation of the United Nations. It was signed by the Charter's adherents.

The Atlantic Charter laid the basis for several other global agreements and events, such as the formation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the British Empire's dismantling, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Following the principles laid by the Atlantic Charter, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and United States President Joe Biden signed the New Atlantic Charter' on 10th June 2021.

What are the Eight Common Principles of the Atlantic Charter?

The following are the eight Common Principles' declared in the Atlantic Charter -

  1. No country would seek territorial or other aggrandisements.
  2. No country would seek territorial changes unless the native people desired so.
  3. The people of both countries can freely select the type and form of government they want. Moreover, both countries will ensure that the self-government and sovereign rights of forcibly deprived people will be restored.
  4. All States, irrespective of their political status or size, will get access to trade and raw materials required for economic prosperity.
  5. Both countries would encourage strong ties among all countries in the economic field primarily to ensure professional labour standards, social security, and economic advancement.
  6. After demolishing Nazi tyranny, both countries would ensure that all nations could dwell safely within their boundaries, where people could live without fear.
  7. People must be able to travel through high seas and oceans without any obstruction.
  8. All nations must ideally renounce weapons or force for spiritual and realistic reasons. This also includes disarmament.
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Atlantic Charter 1941 - After Effects

The Atlantic Charter was signed with noble intentions but did not produce many fruitful results.

For instance, the US President had expected that the Charter would motivate American citizens to support the Allies (Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union).

However, Americans were not much impressed with the Charter until the Pearl Harbor attack by the Axis forces in December 1941. Additionally, the Americans also did not openly warn Japan to stay out of British properties in Southeast Asia.

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Finally, the third clause of the Charter would give rise to the demands for decolonisation in Great Britain's colonies. Irrespective of the arguments against the Atlantic Charter 1941, it played a pivotal role in shaping consensus for a more humane post-war era.

Although the Charter was not binding on any party, it brought the US and the UK closer to considering the Axis powers aggressive. In addition, it laid the foundation for many Third World countries, such as Algeria, Vietnam, etc., to seek independence from colonial rule.

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FAQs on the Atlantic Charter

Q1) What is the Atlantic Charter 1941?

Atlantic Charter 1941 refers to a statement issued by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on both countries' goals after the conclusion of World War 2 (1939-1945).

Q2) When was the Atlantic Charter signed?

The Atlantic Charter was signed and delivered by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 14th August 1941.

Q3) Where was the Atlantic Charter signed?

The Atlantic Charter was signed by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt when they met on the ship USS. Augusta in Placenta Bay, Newfoundland.

Q4) What were the notable principles of the Atlantic Charter?

The Atlantic Charter covered many aims, notable of which were no territorial aggrandisement, self-determination, restoration of self-government, revocation of trade restrictions, etc.