The United States at War, 1941-1945

By Gary R. Hess | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE

The Diplomatic Front—
Roosevelt's Vision of the
Postwar World

“War,” the German military theoretician Karl von Clausewitz wrote in the early nineteenth century, “is nothing but a continuation of politics by different means.” As that often-cited quotation underscores, a nation engages in war not as an end in itself, but to achieve political objectives. Beyond the essential objective of destroying the military power of the Axis, the United States fought World War II to change the international system.

The strength of the enemy necessitated the military alliance with Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and the other Allied nations. Each of the other powers brought their own long-term objectives into the alliance. In the Declaration of the United Nations that was signed on January 1, 1942, the members of the Allied Coalition agreed on their common purpose of defeating the Axis powers and creating a postwar world based on the principles of political freedom, economic cooperation, self-determination, and disarmament. Eventually, forty-seven nations adhered to the Declaration of the United Nations. Yet beyond that fundamental agreement, the Allied powers, especially in the relationship among

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