Europe’s Changing Place in the World
Planning for the postwar international order began before the war ended, indeed before anyone could be absolutely certain of its outcome. In the Atlantic Charter of 1942 the United States and Britain pledged themselves ‘to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations’. In their 1942 Mutual Aid Agreement, they committed themselves not only to wartime cooperation, but to postwar reconstruction and cooperation as well. They declared themselves ready to give mutual support, to reduce restrictions on trade and to pursue policies to maintain full employment after the conclusion of the war. Other meetings followed, notably the Yalta and Potsdam conferences at which the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union agreed to cooperate in the reconstruction of Germany and the other nations of Europe. Finally in 1945 the United Nations came into being, an association of sovereign states whose 51 founding members pledged themselves ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind’.
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