Trade Agreements World War 2

Trade Agreements in World War II: A Brief Overview

World War II was a significant turning point in global politics and economics. The outbreak of the war in 1939 had a profound impact on international trade, leading to the formation of numerous trade agreements and organizations that have shaped the course of history. In this article, we will explore some of the most important trade agreements of World War II and their significance.

Lend-Lease Act

The Lend-Lease Act was one of the most crucial trade agreements during World War II. This act was signed into law by President Roosevelt in March 1941, and it allowed the United States to lend or lease armaments and other supplies to its allies, without requiring payment. The act gave the United States an opportunity to support its allies without entering the war, which enabled the country to maintain its neutrality during the early stage of World War II.

Atlantic Charter

Another significant trade agreement during World War II was the Atlantic Charter. The Charter was signed in August 1941 by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill on board the HMS Prince of Wales. The Charter outlined eight principles for the post-World War II world, including free trade and economic cooperation. The agreement was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the formation of the United Nations after the war.

Bretton Woods Agreement

The Bretton Woods Agreement was a crucial trade agreement that created the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. The agreement was signed in July 1944 by 44 countries at a conference held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The goal of the agreement was to establish a stable international financial system after the war. The agreement established fixed exchange rates and the US dollar as the standard currency for international transactions.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was a trade agreement signed in October 1947. The agreement aimed to eliminate trade barriers and promote free trade among its member countries. The GATT played a critical role in boosting international trade and economic growth after World War II. GATT was the precursor to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which was established in 1995.


In conclusion, World War II led to the creation of numerous trade agreements, many of which still have a significant impact on international trade today. The Lend-Lease Act, Atlantic Charter, Bretton Woods Agreement, and GATT were some of the most important agreements that emerged from the war. These agreements enabled greater economic cooperation and helped to lay the foundations for a more stable and prosperous post-war world.