View Full Version : Atlantic Charter

26th Oct 2004, 10:27
When Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter on 14 Aug 1941 there were a number of sub-texts operating.

Roosevelt wanted colonialism to stop and Churchill wanted to bring the USA into the war, realising that, without the Americans Europe was basically doomed.

Roosevelt managed to get his way with the inclusion of point 3 - ...respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live.....

Arguably, Churchill did not get his wish as the US did not enter the war until Japan attacked them at Pearl Harbor. The US did, however, agree to throw its industrial muscle behind the UK.

Churchill argued, at Yalta, that point 3 merely referred to those countries that had come under the Nazi yoke and did not refer to British and French colonies. However, from point 3 came the United Nations and de-colonisation etc. Nevertheless, pragmatism won the day at Yalta with an agreement between the US, UK and Soviet Union to divide up Europe post war. This then led to the Cold War.

It was also argued that, with the signing of the Atlantic Charter, Hitler brought forward his 'final solution' for the Jews, fearing an immediate entry into the war by the US. Apparently his 'final solution' was scheduled to take place after hostilities had ceased. Additionally, Japan saw a threat from the alliance between the UK and US and tried to have a similar pact with the US. The US rebuffed the Japanese efforts and the result was Pearl Harbor.

So, all in all, a fairly major outcome which has shaped, and continues to shape, world events since 1941.

What would the world have been like today without the Atlantic Charter. Would the UK have succumbed to Nazi tyrrany? Would the UK still have an Emprire? Would Japan have attacked the US? Would the UN have been created? And would the world have suffered the expense and angst of a Cold War?

26th Oct 2004, 10:36
In answer to your questions:

1. No. Germany did not then, and does not even now, have a sufficiently large population, even had it drafted in conscripts from other conquered nations, to successfully garrison as large and beligerent a nation as Britain.

2. No, they would have got rid of it anyway. Empires are expensive to run and unsustainable in the long term.

3. Yes, probably. Japan was expansionist then, as it will become again, and other than some very well-informed souls at the top of her military, the Japanese people believed themselves invincible.

4. Probably not; so an own goal there. Nevermind, nobody's perfect, and it's done now.

5. Yes. This was the only way to preserve the military-industrial complex and thereby the way of life and standard of living of all of us, under the economic system which prevailed then and continues now.

26th Oct 2004, 12:25
A mass invasion by sea however, may not have been necessary. In British wartime cabinet documents released in 1998, it was revealed that after the failure of the British Expeditionary Force in France and its evacuation at Dunkirk, Winston Churchill had lost support in the cabinet and in Parliament. Had the Royal Air Force been defeated by the Luftwaffe, Churchill would have been replaced as Prime Minister by Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, who was known to be in favour of peace negotiations with Germany rather than face a civilian bloodbath on British soil.

The political rather than the military nature of the invasion plan (Operation Sealion) at this time is suggested by the extraordinary timing that Hitler imposed. Planning an invasion and assembling a fleet and appropriate forces in a month was clearly a practical impossibility but timing was an essential part of the game of bluff that Hitler was playing. When the British realised what was coming their way their will to resist would crumble.

From mid July the Luftwaffe stepped up the military pressure by attacking the channel ports and shipping to establish command of the Straits of Dover, while German heavy guns were installed around Calais to bombard the Dover area where the first shells started to fall during the second week of August.

By the end of July the Royal Navy had to pull all its larger warships out of the channel because of the threat from German aircraft. But by the end of July neither the threat of imminent invasion nor offers by Germany of 'honourable' peace had done the trick. It appeared that Germany would actually have to execute one of the most difficult military operations imaginable: an invasion, launched across at least 20 miles of water, culminating in a landing on a fortified and desperately defended coast line.

It was immediately clear that this could not even be attempted until the Royal Navy - still one of the most formidable fighting forces in the world - had been either destroyed or diverted and after the Royal Air Force had been eliminated.

The first reaction of Hitler and the German high command, when it appeared that a real rather than a bluff invasion would have to be organised, was to change the schedule. On the last day of July Hitler held a meeting at the Berghof.

He was told of the difficulty in obtaining barges suitable to carry invasion troops and about the problems of massing troops and equipment while the German navy argued for the invasion front to be reduced from the proposed 200 miles (from Lyme Regis in the west to Ramsgate in the east) and for a postponement of the invasion until May 1941.

Hitler rejected these requests that, if granted, would have undermined the invasion as a political threat, but the start date was postponed to September the 16th. There is evidence that, during this meeting, Hitler decided that the invasion of England was effectively a bluff operation and that resources should be diverted to the east in preparation for the invasion of the Soviet Union.

But, for the bluff to work, the build-up for invasion had to continue and Britain had to be kept under military pressure. So, after the 31 July meeting it was decided that the Luftwaffe should tighten the screw by attempting to clear the channel of British warships and the skies over southeast England of British aircraft.

Hermann Goering saw no problems. The attack was due to start immediately, but bad weather delayed the German air offensive against Britain until 12 August.

Theoretical wargames were conducted at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst after the war. They assumed that the Germans had total air superiority and concluded that the Germans were able to establish a beachhead in England by using a minefield screen in the English Channel. I believe it also assumed that a second landing would have been made in the Republic of Ireland allowing for an invasion of North West England and South West Scotland.

The only tactic that would have saved Britain would have been if the Royal Navy had been able to breach the minefield screen and cut off supplies to German troops in England, and they were then isolated and forced to surrender.

Britain's Empire would have become an Anglo-German trading bloc, rivaling American domination and threatning the US's position.

26th Oct 2004, 14:28
Churchill, a hard-line incompetent in many ways, was NOT the King's first choice for PM to succeed Chamberlain, it was Halifax, who in a controversial dialogue and series of interviews was more humble than Churchill and thought it a great responsibility and basically said 'I am not worthy' and Churchill was accepted only to lose an election to the Socialist Labour Gov't Ally before the war even ended.

FDR, who criticised everyone elseís imperialism and colonies while justifying his, didnít care from the start. He wasnít stupid, nor really naive. He knew that Japan would hurt the British and others infinitely more than America. FDR knew that sacrificing the Allies resource base would not only make America the most powerful single ally, but that those allies would then have to buy from America now instead, and America would profit all the more. We now know from released records that all the European Allied Staffs had very mixed feelings about how America got into the war.

Re Sea-Lion, I've said it many times before, Hitler's direction was East, not West, it has been written already many years before in Mein Kampf, like so many other of his deeds.

Anywayz, IF Sea-Lion supposed to be a serious plan, even than I don't think Sealion would've succeeded. Regardless of air supremacy over the landing-zone approaches, the Luftwaffe was still learning how to attack naval units and not only inexperienced but ill-equipped for the job at this point. Remember how unsuccessful they were at Dunkirk. The Royal Navy Home Fleet would fight tenaciously and suicidally if need be against the Bismark, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and assorted Deutschland pocket battleships. Even if the Germans on the beaches did meet up with the paratroops and secure the beachheads, even ill-equipped, the British, especially the Scots, are a tenacious and stubborn people. Their army wouldn't give in and their populace would remain an extreme liability behind the lines requiring far more monitoring and guarding against than the Germans have experienced in France or elsewhere. Eventually reinforcements from the Far East and Mediterranean would arrive to defend Britannia even if it meant losing Suez, at least temporarily. The ivasion would be a hundred times more difficult than France.