Declaration by United Nations

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Wartime poster for the United Nations, created in 1943 by the US Office of War Information.

The Declaration by the United Nations was a World War II document agreed on 1 January 1942 during the Arcadia Conference by 26 governments: the Allied "Big Four" (the US, the UK, the USSR, and China), nine American allies in Central America and the Caribbean, the four British Dominions, British India, and eight Allied governments-in-exile, for a total of twenty-six nations.

The Declaration by United Nations, on 1 January 1942, was the basis of the modern UN.[1]

Drafting the Declaration[edit]

The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization began under the aegis of the US State Department in 1939.[2] The text of the "Declaration by United Nations" was drafted by President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins, while meeting at the White House on 29 December 1941. It incorporated Soviet suggestions, but left no role for France. Roosevelt first coined the term United Nations to describe the Allied countries. Roosevelt suggested "United Nations" as an alternative to the name "Associated Powers." Churchill, accepted it, noting that the phase was used by Lord Byron in the poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Stanza 35). The term was first officially used on 1-2 January 1942, when 26 governments signed the Declaration. One major change from the Atlantic Charter was the addition of a provision for religious freedom, which Stalin approved after Roosevelt insisted.[3][4] By spring 1945 it was signed by 21 more states.[5]

The Declaration by United Nations, on 1 January 1942, was the basis of the modern UN.[6] The term United Nations became synonymous during the war with the Allies and was considered to be the formal name that they were fighting under. [7] The text of the declaration affirmed the signatories' perspective "that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world". The principle of "complete victory" established an early precedent for the Allied policy of obtaining the Axis' powers' "unconditional surrender". The defeat of "Hitlerism" constituted the overarching objective, and represented a common Allied perspective that the totalitarian militarist regimes ruling Germany, Italy, and Japan were indistinguishable.[8] The declaration, furthermore, "upheld the Wilsonian principles of self determination," thus linking U.S. war aims in both world wars.[9]

By the end of the war, 21 other states had acceded to the declaration, including the Philippines, France, every Latin American state except Argentina,[10] and the various independent states of the Middle East and Africa. Although most of the minor Axis powers had switched sides and joined the United Nations as co-belligerents against Germany by the end of the war, they were not allowed to accede to the declaration. Occupied Denmark did not sign the declaration, but because of the vigorous resistance after 1943, and because the Danish ambassador Henrik Kauffmann had expressed the adherence to the declaration of all free Danes, Denmark was nonetheless invited among the allies in the San Francisco Conference in March 1945.[1][2][3]

Text[edit]

A JOINT DECLARATION BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, CHINA, AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, CANADA, COSTA RICA, CUBA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, GREECE, GUATEMALA, HAITI, HONDURAS, INDIA, LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NORWAY, PANAMA, POLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, YUGOSLAVIA
The Governments signatory hereto,
Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Great Britain dated August 14,1941, known as the Atlantic Charter,
Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world,
DECLARE:
(1) Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents with which such government is at war.
(2) Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies.
The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism.[11]


Wartime poster for the United Nations, created in 1942 by the US Office of War Information, showing the 26 members of the alliance.
The original signatories were
Big Four Taiwan Republic of China
Soviet Union Soviet Union
United Kingdom United Kingdom
United States United States
British Commonwealth Australia Australia
Canada Canada
British Raj India

New Zealand New Zealand
South Africa South Africa

Other powers Costa Rica Costa Rica
Cuba Cuba
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
El Salvador El Salvador
Guatemala Guatemala
Haiti Haiti
Honduras Honduras
Nicaragua Nicaragua
Panama Panama
In exile Belgium Belgium
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
Kingdom of Greece Greece
Luxembourg Luxembourg
Netherlands Netherlands
Norway Norway
Poland Poland
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia
Later signatories were
1942 Brazil Brazil
Ethiopian Empire Ethiopia
Mexico Mexico
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippines
1943 Bolivia Bolivia
Colombia Colombia
Pahlavi dynasty Iran
Kingdom of Iraq Iraq
1944 France France
Liberia Liberia
1945 Chile Chile
Ecuador Ecuador
Kingdom of Egypt Egypt
Lebanon Lebanon
Paraguay Paraguay
Peru Peru
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
Syria Syria
Turkey Turkey
Uruguay Uruguay
Venezuela Venezuela

The parties pledged to uphold the Atlantic Charter, to employ all their resources in the war against the Axis powers, and that none of the signatory nations would seek to negotiate a separate peace with Nazi Germany or Japan in the same manner that the nations of the Triple Entente had agreed not to negotiate a separate peace with any or all of the Central Powers in World War I under the Unity Pact.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hoopes, Townsend, and Douglas Brinkley. FDR and the Creation of the U.N. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-300-06930-3.
  2. ^ Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley, FDR and the Creation of the U.N. (1997) pp 1-55
  3. ^ David Roll, The Hopkins Touch: Harry Hopkins and the Forging of the Alliance to Defeat Hitler (2013) pp 172-75
  4. ^ Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, An Intimate History (1948) pp 447-53
  5. ^ Edmund Jan Osmańczyk (2003). Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements: T to Z. Taylor & Francis. p. 2445. 
  6. ^ Hoopes, Townsend, and Douglas Brinkley. FDR and the Creation of the U.N. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-300-06930-3.
  7. ^ The name "United Nations" for the World War II allies was suggested by President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States as an alternative to the name "Associated Powers." British Prime Minister Winston Churchill accepted it, noting that the phase was used by Lord Byron in the poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Stanza 35). Manchester, William; Reid, Paul (2012). The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill 3. New York: Little Brown and Company. p. 461. ISBN 978-0-316-54770-3. 
  8. ^ Bevans, Charles I. Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949. Volume 3. Multilateral, 1931-1945. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1969, p. 697.
  9. ^ Bailey, Thomas A. The Marshall Plan Summer: An Eyewitness Report on Europe and the Russians in 1947. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1977, p. 227.
  10. ^ Act of Chapultepec The Oxford Companion to World War II, I. C. B. Dear and M. R. D. Foot (2001)
  11. ^ Text from "The Washington Conference 1941-1942"

References[edit]