The Allied Coalition
On December 23, 1941, reporters entered the Oval Office for a press conference. There they found a smiling FDR and a surprise guest - Winston Churchill. America's new ally had come to Washington to plot strategy. While they met, Roosevelt was also moving to cement ties to America's other new ally - the Soviet Union.
America, Great Britain, the USSR, and China formed the core of a broad international coalition fighting the Axis Powers. On January 1, 1942, Roosevelt, Churchill, Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov and Chinese Ambassador T.V. Soong met at the White House to sign a declaration pledging each "to defend life, liberty, independence, and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice..." Eventually, 22 other nations would sign the declaration. Roosevelt named this wartime coalition the "United Nations." Later he would lead efforts to expand it into a postwar international organization.