Anglo-American Pitfalls

Roosevelt and Churchill aboard HMS Prince of Wales.

IF the Declaration of the Atlantic, signed by the President of the United States and by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and released to the world on August 14, 1941, is taken merely as a restatement of the democratic faith in international relationships, nine-tenths of its significance will be lost. The ideas are not particularly new nor is the language unduly inspired. Its true significance lies in the identity of the signatories and in the place where it was signed. The Declaration marks, in effect, the assumption by the two great English-speaking democracies of the leadership of the free world. It serves notice that, when the victory has been won, the ideas that will be dominant in the world will be the faiths and the aspirations and the doctrines that are common to Britain and America. The fact that its only date line is "The Atlantic Ocean" is as significant as the signatories. Nothing could have more dramatically demonstrated the change that has come over the rôle of the Atlantic in the popular thinking of both countries. The ocean is no longer a barrier, a moat, a gap in space. It is a highway, a meeting-place, a common avenue of approach. Implicit in every line of the Declaration is the proclamation that hope for the world's future -- the only hope -- lies in the continued collaboration of the Oceanic Commonwealth of Free Nations.

To the overwhelming majority of Englishmen, and to very many thousands of Americans, this recognition by both nations of their common needs and common responsibilities is the great good that is coming out of the evil of the war, just as for their fathers (and the thought is a warning) the League of Nations was the offset that could be made against the misery of the last war. It is an inspiring picture -- two great nations, each satisfied with what it has got, and therefore devoid of any aggressive intention, joining together to police the

Loading, please wait...

This article is a part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, please subscribe.

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.