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The Atlantic Charter was a pivotal moment in the history of World War II and the international order. On August 14, 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt met aboard the battleship HMS Prince of Wales off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. There, they issued a joint statement, known as the Atlantic Charter, outlining their shared vision for the post-war world. This document would have a profound impact on shaping the international order in the decades to come.

the atlantic charter


The Atlantic Charter was primarily a statement of principles, rather than a formal treaty. It consisted of eight clauses, outlining the allies’ shared goals for the post-war world. These principles included:

Self-Determination: The charter affirmed the right of all people to choose their own form of government and live free from fear and want. This principle would become a cornerstone of international law and the basis for decolonization in the years to come.

Free Trade: The allies committed to promoting economic cooperation and international trade, with a view to achieving greater prosperity for all. This principle was critical to rebuilding the war-torn economies of Europe and Japan in the post-war period.

Collective Security: The Atlantic charter affirmed the need for collective security arrangements, in which nations would work together to prevent aggression and maintain peace. This principle would be embodied in the creation of the United Nations and the establishment of a rules-based international order.

Disarmament: The charter called for the disarmament of all nations to the lowest possible levels, consistent with national security. This principle was intended to reduce the risk of future wars and build trust between nations.

Freedom of the Seas: The Atlantic charter affirmed the principle of freedom of the seas, which had been a contentious issue in the lead-up to World War II. This principle ensured that all nations would have access to vital shipping lanes and resources, promoting economic cooperation and stability.

No Territorial Aggrandizement: The charter pledged that no territorial changes would be made without the consent of the people concerned. This principle was intended to prevent the kind of territorial aggression that had led to World War II.

Non-Interference in Domestic Affairs: The Atlantic charter affirmed the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other nations. This principle was intended to promote respect for national sovereignty and prevent the kind of interventionism that had led to conflict in the past.

Global Cooperation: The charter called for the establishment of a broader framework for global cooperation, which would promote the well-being of all nations and peoples. This principle reflected the allies’ belief in the importance of international cooperation in addressing global challenges.

The Atlantic Charter was not a binding treaty, but rather a statement of principles. Nonetheless, it had a profound impact on shaping the post-war international order. Its principles were incorporated into the United Nations Charter, which would serve as the basis for international law and the promotion of peace and prosperity in the decades to come.


  1. https://www.britannica.com/event/Atlantic-Charter
  2. https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/atlantic-charter
  3. https://www.historyonthenet.com/what-was-the-atlantic-charter

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"The Atlantic Charter: A Blueprint for Post-War International Order" History on the Net
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June 12, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/the-atlantic-charter-a-blueprint-for-post-war-international-order>
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