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For his sake, they gathered: the Casablanca Conference to stop Hitler

A turbulent time demanded a call for unity. This time, the world leaders of the time gathered, sat as one with their respective military chiefs and aides and chose to stand as one against one man's will on his nation. History long remembers this day as the Casablanca Conference January 1223, 1943, meeting during World War II in Casablanca, Morocco, between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and their respective military chiefs and aides, who planned future global military strategy for the western Allies. Though invited, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin declined to attend (the war was at his gates).

The work of the conference was primarily militarydeciding on the invasion of Sicily (after completion of the North African campaign) rather than an immediate invasion of western Europe, apportioning forces for the Pacific theatre and outlining major lines of attack in the Far East, and agreeing on the concentrated bombing of Germany.

Roosevelt and Churchill also found time to discuss nuclear bomb research, to consider competing claims between Henri Giraud and Charles de Gaulle for the leadership of the French war effort against the Axis powers, and, most important of all, to demand an unconditional surrender from Germany, Italy, and Japan.

The most notable developments at the Conference were the finalization of Allied strategic plans against the Axis powers in 1943, and the promulgation of the policy of unconditional surrender. But on the final day of the Conference, President Roosevelt announced that he and Churchill had decided that the only way to ensure postwar peace was to adopt a policy of unconditional surrender.

The President clearly stated, however, that the policy of unconditional surrender did not entail the destruction of the populations of the Axis powers but rather, the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.

The Casablanca Conference took place just two months after the Anglo-American landings in French North Africa in November 1942. At this meeting, Roosevelt and Churchill focused on coordinating Allied military strategy against the Axis powers over the course of the coming year. They resolved to concentrate their efforts against Germany in the hopes of drawing German forces away from the Eastern Front, and to increase shipments of supplies to the Soviet Union. 

While they would begin concentrating forces in England in preparation for an eventual landing in northern France, they decided that first they would concentrate their efforts in the Mediterranean by launching an invasion of Sicily and the Italian mainland designed to knock Italy out of the war. They also agreed to strengthen their strategic bombing campaign against Germany. Finally, the leaders agreed on a military effort to eject Japan from Papua New Guinea and to open up new supply lines to China through Japanese-occupied Burma.

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Casablanca Conference Franklin D. Roosevelt Germany Henri Giraud Joseph Stalin


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