80th anniversary of the Atlantic Charter

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Atlantic Charter, issued by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The joint historic statement spelled out the goals of the United States and Great Britain that would shape the world after the Second World War.

Churchill and Roosevelt had steamed into Placentia Bay on August 9, 1941 aboard their respective vessels, but the joint declaration itself was issued on August 14th at what was then the U.S. naval base in Argentina.

The Atlantic Charter was a statement issued on 14 August 1941 that set out American and British goals for the world after the end of World War II. The joint statement, later dubbed the Atlantic Charter, outlined the aims of the United States and the United Kingdom for the postwar world as follows: 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 co-operation 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, and disarmament of aggressor nations. The charter’s adherents signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942, which was the basis for the modern United Nations.

The charter inspired several other international agreements and events that followed the end of the war. The dismantling of the British Empire, the formation of NATO, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade all derived from the Atlantic Charter. In 2021, a document titled the “New Atlantic Charter” was signed by United States president Joe Biden and British prime minister Boris Johnson in their first meeting in Cornwall.[1]

 

Clementine, Sir Winston’s wife, was talking to a street sweeper for a while. “What did you talk about for so long?” asked Sir Winston. She smiled, “Many years ago he was madly in love with me. “Churchill smiled ironically, “So you could have been the wife of a street sweeper today. “′′Oh no, my love “, Clementine replied, “If I had married him, he would have been the prime minister today.

I do not grudge our loyal, brave people, who were ready to do their duty no matter what the cost, who never flinched under the strain of last week—I do not grudge them the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defences; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: “Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting”. And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.5 October 1938 Parliament after “Munich”.

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