Allied Conferences 1941-1945

A common language, history, and culture bound the United States and the United Kingdom closer together than any other nation. Helping to cement that friendship was the close relationship of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill.

Churchill, whose mother was American, and Roosevelt, the scion of a patrician New York family, developed mutual respect that overcame disagreements and fostered close personal communications.

Throughout the war, security of communications was a major concern, but through telegrams and face-to-face meetings, top-level Allied strategy was hammered out in a series of meetings known as the “Big Two” meetings.

Meeting off the coast of Newfoundland on August 9-12, 1941, Roosevelt and Churchill proclaimed the Atlantic Charter, the basis of Allied resistance throughout the war. In the charter the two nations agreed not to sue for a separate peace, not to alter borders without the consent of the people affected; to promote self-government; to grant all nations, including the Axis, access to raw materials after the war; to ensure worldwide economic security; and to encourage postwar disarmament. The Atlantic Charter became the basis of the United Nations Charter in 1945.

At the Atlantic Conference, the two leaders agreed to meet regularly to discuss strategy. These meetings were a factor in the “Germany First” strategy, as both leaders saw Germany as the primary threat.

Conferences were held between Roosevelt and Churchill in Washington, D.C., from December 22, 1941 - January 14, 1942 (Arcadia Conference); June 25-27, 1942; and May 11-17, 1943 (Trident Conference). Other conferences were held at Quebec from August 10-24, 1943 (Quadrant); and September 12-16, 1944 (Octagon.) These conferences allowed Churchill and Roosevelt to agree on commanders for major operations, allocate resources, discuss developing events, and develop the cooperative spirit that the Allied Armies operated under for the remainder of the war.