Atlantic Charter

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Roosevelt and Churchill aboard the Prince of Wales

The Atlantic Charter of August 14, 1941 is a joint declaration by the then heads of government of the USA , Franklin D. Roosevelt , and Great Britain , Winston S. Churchill , in the common principles of their international policy in the "hope for a better future for the world" were formulated.

Atlantic Conference

Under the impression of the German invasion of the Soviet Union , Roosevelt and Churchill met from August 9 to 12, 1941 in the highest secrecy on the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales in Placentia Bay off Newfoundland . Here they agreed the Atlantic Charter, which was published on August 14, 1941.

In addition, increased US arms deliveries to Great Britain and the USSR were agreed at the conference, as well as an expansion of the American security zone for these deliveries to Iceland . Discussions that mainly revolved around the situation in the Republic of China and Spain did not lead to any strategic military decisions.


A total of eight points were recorded, including: renouncing territorial expansion, equal access to world trade and raw materials, renouncing the use of force, right of nations to self-determination, closest economic cooperation of all nations with the aim of creating better working conditions, economic equilibrium and the protection of workers , Security for the peoples from tyranny, freedom of the seas, disarming of nations to ensure a system of permanent security.

Two of the points relate directly to a world organization. The declaration was signed on September 24, 1941 by the Soviet Union and nine [ exile ] governments of occupied Europe, namely Belgium, Greece, Yugoslavia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Czechoslovakia and representatives of Free France . The Atlantic Charter thus became the fundamental document for the United Nations . It had the goal of a better world order in compliance with international law and, above all, the right of peoples to self-determination to establish a state . A certain style of the fourteen-point plan of Woodrow Wilson can not be denied.

Several points of the charter were disputed between Roosevelt and Churchill. Point three, for example, contradicted England's dominance in the Commonwealth , which did not provide for individual states to leave this group. Point four stood in the way of the British Commonwealth's trade isolation from the outside world. Churchill agreed to the charter with the caveat that Great Britain would not allow its application to the Commonwealth. The USSR later claimed, on a case-by-case basis, particularly in Poland and the Baltic States, to decide whether the Atlantic Charter should be applied to its area of ​​interest.

Point two of the Charter contradicted the ideas of the governments-in-exile of the countries occupied by Axis troops, which had their own drafts of the future borders of their states after the war. They made reservations. The Polish government saw its claims to Danzig , East Prussia and Upper Silesia in danger. Yugoslavia wanted to revise the Italian border with Slovenia in its favor and to preserve Trieste. Czechoslovakia was concerned with the Sudetenland.

Wording (German translation)

Atlantic Charter of August 14, 1941

The Atlantic Charter of August 14, 1941

The President of the United States and Prime Minister Churchill, representing His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, consider it their right to propose some general principles of their countries' policies, principles upon which their hope for a better future for the world is based establish.

  1. Your countries do not seek any enrichment, either in territorial or in any other respect.
  2. They do not want any territorial changes that are not in accordance with the wishes of the peoples concerned, expressed in full freedom.
  3. They respect the right of all peoples to give themselves the form of government under which they wish to live. The sovereign rights and autonomous governments of all peoples who have been deprived of them by violence are to be restored.
  4. Without neglecting their own obligations, they will advocate free entry for all states, large and small, victor and defeated, to world trade and to those raw materials that are necessary for their economic well-being.
  5. They strive for the closest cooperation of all nations in the economic field, a cooperation, the aim of which is to bring about better working conditions, an economic balance and the protection of workers.
  6. They hope that after the final annihilation of Nazi tyranny, a peace will be created that allows all peoples to live in complete security within their borders and that enables all people in all countries to live their lives free from fear and need spend.
  7. This peace is intended to enable all peoples to have free navigation on all seas and oceans.
  8. They are convinced of the need for all the peoples of the world to renounce the use of arms for practical as well as moral reasons. Since no peace can be maintained in the future as long as the land, sea and air forces of nations that have threatened or may threaten to attack foreign territory can be used for the purpose of attack, they will last until a comprehensive and permanent system is created general security the disarmament of these nations is necessary. They will also support all measures that are suitable for easing the overwhelming arms burden of the peace-loving peoples.

Adopted by the Inter Allied Council on September 24, 1941

In its 2nd meeting at St. James's Palace in London on September 24, 1941, the Inter Allied Council adopted the general principles of the Atlantic Charter with the following resolution:

“The governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and representative of General de Gaulle, the 'Leader of the Free French', have taken note of the statement made by the President of the United States and Prime Minister Churchill for His Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom recently. You hereby declare your consent to the general political principles set out in that declaration and your intention to work to the best of your ability to achieve them. "

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Raoul Jacobs: Mandate and Treuhand in Völkerrecht , Universitätsverlag, Göttingen 2004, p. 59.
  2. Anita Prazmowska: Britain and Poland, 1939-1943 - The Betrayed Ally . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1995, p. 93 .
  3. ^ Source of translation: The world since 1945. Materials for d. History Lessons , ed. by Herbert Krieger, part 1. Diesterweg, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1983, p. 1.
  4. ^ Ernst Sauer: Grundlehre des Völkerrechts , 2nd edition, Verlag Balduin Pick, Cologne 1948, pp. 399-400.


  • Frank Costigliola: Roosevelt's Lost Alliances. How Personal Politics helped start the Cold War . Princeton University Press, Princeton 2012. ISBN 978-0-691-15792-4 . (Pp. 127-141).

Web links

Commons : Atlantic Charter  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files