What Was the Importance of the Atlantic Charter?

The Atlantic Charter resulted from a meeting between U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt, and the British prime minister Winston Churchill. The charter served as a public representation of the solidarity between their two countries against the Axis powers during WWII.

The meeting took place in Newfoundland on August 9 and 10 in 1941. It occurred in response to the geopolitical situation at that point in the war when German forces were encroaching upon British interests and assets. Both parties discussed their specific goals for the outcome and aftermath of World War II. The result was the Atlantic Charter which outlined eight common principles to which both countries would adhere.

Each side also had its own personal reason for attending the meeting. Roosevelt wanted the American people to be in favor of the United States backing the Allies while Churchill wanted America in the war. Both parties failed to accomplish these adjectives until later in the war.

Churchill urged his cabinet to agree to the Charter, which encouraged decolonization in the Third World and the abandonment of Imperial Preference in favor of freer trade agreements. Churchill was worried how this would affect his image, but decided the main purpose of the Charter was more important. That purpose bound the United States and Great Britain more closely together. U.S. support offered hope and encouragement to the British public throughout the war.