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Prior to the United Nations
• League of Nations
• an organization conceived in similar circumstances
during the first World War, and established in 1919
under the Treaty of Versailles "to promote
international cooperation and to achieve peace and
• The International Labour Organization was also
created under the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated
agency of the League. The League of Nations ceased
its activities after failing to prevent the Second
World War.
“United Nations”
• The name "United Nations", coined by United
States President Franklin D. Roosevelt
• was first used in the Declaration by United
Nations of 1 January 1942, during the Second
World War.
• Representatives of 26 nations pledged their
Governments to continue fighting together
against the Axis Powers.
San Francisco, 1945
In April 1945, the nations met in San
Francisco to create a charter to be
approved by all participating nations
that would serve as the foundation of
the United Nations.
Fifty-one nations were invited to San
Francisco, representing 80 percent of
the world’s population.
San Francisco, 1945
• The delegates deliberated on the basis of
proposals worked out by the representatives of
China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom
and the United States
• The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the
representatives of the 50 countries.
• Poland, which was not represented at the
Conference, signed it later and became one of
the original 51 Member States.
October 24, 1945
• The United Nations officially came
into existence
• Charter had been ratified by China,
France, the Soviet Union, the United
Kingdom, the United States (Big Five)
and by a majority of other
Finding a Home
One of the primary issues on the
agenda for the first session of the
General Assembly was the location of
the permanent home of the UN.
The General Assembly decided to locate
the United Nations headquarters in New
York City, due in large part to a
donation of land worth $8.5 million by
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Finding a Home (cont.)
UN headquarters sits on 18 acres of
prime New York City real estate.
The UN secured an interest-free loan of
$65 million from the United States
government to pay for the costs.
The building was completed in 19
months, and the loan was repaid to the
United States government by 1982.
Finding a Home (cont.)
Although the United Nations is in New
York City, the building and the
property are considered international
No federal, state, or local officer,
whether administrative, judicial,
military, or police, may enter the UN
without special permission.
The UN has its own firefighting and
security forces, as well as its own
postal system that issues UN stamps.
Finding a Home (cont.)
Flying in front of the building are the
colorful flags of the 192 United Nations
member states.
In keeping with the mission of the UN,
materials for the headquarters were
selected from many lands so as to
include as many cultures and peoples
in the creation of the organization’s
home as possible.
Write a 4-5 sentence
summary of the history of
the United Nations.