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This Day In History: Churchill & Roosevelt Discuss War & Peace At The Arcadia Conference

December 22, 2016

This day in history, December 22, 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt met in Washington D.C. for a series of meetings on a unified Anglo-American war strategy and a future peace during World War II.

The purpose of the meeting was war planning by the British leader, Churchill and the American President Roosevelt as well as their Chiefs of Staff and other political leaders from both countries. Now that the United States was directly involved in both the Pacific and European wars, it was incumbent upon both Great Britain and America to create and project a unified front.

Toward that end, Churchill and Roosevelt created a combined general staff to coordinate military strategy against both Germany and Japan and to draft a future joint invasion of the Continent. Roosevelt also agreed to a radical increase in the U.S. arms production program. The 12,750 operational aircraft to be ready for service by the end of 1943 became 45,000, the proposed 15,450 tanks became 45,000, and the number of machine guns to be manufactured almost doubled to 500,000.

Among the momentous results of these U.S.-Anglo meetings was a declaration issued by Churchill and Roosevelt that enjoined 26 signatory nations to use all resources at their disposal to defeat the Axis powers and not sue for a separate peace. This confederation called itself the “United Nations.” Lead by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union, all 26 nations declared a unified goal to “ensure life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve the rights of man and justice.”

Decisions made at the conference included a confirmation of policy to Germany First, as well as the establishment of a Combined Chiefs of Staff to direct the entire Allied military endeavor. British General Wavell was appointed to control operations in the East. Plans were also made for a buildup of U.S. forces in Britain prior to a land invasion of Europe, and the continuation of bombing offensives in Europe.