The Atlantic Charter was an incredibly important policy that would have an impact on the entire world from the moment it was drafted by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt in August of 1941 to the present day and beyond. The two men met in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, hence the name Atlantic Charter, during World War 2. While it is called the Atlantic Charter, it was technically a joint declaration by the two world leaders and as such not a formal legal document. A few months later the Charter would be agreed upon by all the Allied Nations. It was important both for the specifics included in the document as well as the symbolism of Roosevelt producing the Charter with Churchill. It was more of a set of goals than a specific blueprint and it contained 8 key principles:
1. Renunciation of territorial aggression 2. Opposition to territorial changes without consent of the peoples concerned 3. Support for the right of people to choose their own government 4. Access to raw materials for all nations 5. Support of efforts to improve the economic condition of people throughout the world 6. Freedom from fear and want 7. Freedom of the seas 8. Disarmament of aggressors
The Atlantic Charter was completely opposite the actions of the Axis Powers, who were expanding their territory and conquering territory all across the world. The principles set out in the Atlantic Charter would provide a basis for international cooperation and international law. It would also provide a foundation for important economic agreements throughout the world that were strong enough to withstand times when countries might oppose each other on one matter but still need to trade. It would also help in creating boundaries and dealing with the aftermath of the war. From the start of the war in Europe, the United States had maintained a neutral stance.
While Franklin D. Roosevelt himself was openly sympathic to the Allies, the American public was opposed to getting involved in a war in Europe. In order to support the Allies without violating neutrality Roosevelt redefined the actual neutrality act in the United States. Roosevelt sympathized in particular with Britain, who was having an increasingly difficult time dealing with the Germans. A few months before the Atlantic Charter was written, Roosevelt had gotten an important piece of legislation through congress that allowed the United States to give material support to Britain without charging them for it, called the Lend-Lease Act.
This had greatly pleased Winston Churchill, the co-author of the Atlantic Charter, because while he appreciated the support of the US, he needed help in the war. The Atlantic Charter provided the philosophical foundation for the Allies in World War 2 and a blueprint for the post-war world. The principles outlined in the Atlantic Charter are still important in the interactions of nations to this day.