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The United Nations
Global History and Geography IV
Formation of the United Nations
Officially came into
existence on October
24, 1945 when the UN
Charter was ratified by a
majority of the original
51 Member States
Day now celebrated
each year around the
world as
United Nations Day
Aims of the United Nations:
Keep peace throughout the world.
Develop friendly relations between nations.
Work together to help people live better lives
• eliminate poverty, disease and illiteracy in the
• stop environmental destruction
• encourage respect for each other's rights and
To be a centre for helping nations achieve
these aims
Principals of the United Nations
All Member States have sovereign equality.
All Member States must obey the Charter.
Countries must try to settle their differences by
peaceful means.
Countries must avoid using force or threatening to
use force.
The UN may not interfere in the domestic affairs of
any country.
Countries should try to assist the United Nations.
Early International Organization
The International Telecommunication Union
was founded in 1865 as the International
Telegraph Union
The Universal Postal Union was established in
1874. Both are now United Nations specialized
Foundation Building
In 1899, the International Peace Conference
was held in The Hague to elaborate
instruments for settling crises peacefully
• Sought to prevent wars and codified rules of
• Adopted the Convention for the Pacific Settlement
of International Disputes
• Established Permanent Court of Arbitration, which
began work in 1902
The Predecessor:
The League of Nations
Founded immediately after the First World War
Originally consisted of 42 countries
• 26 were non-European
• At its largest, 57 countries were members
• Created because people in France, South Africa, the UK
and the US believed a world organization of nations could
keep the peace and prevent war
An effective world body seemed possible
• communications were better
• increasing experience of working together in international
• Coordination and cooperation for economic and social
progress were becoming important
Two Basic Aims of League
1. It sought to preserve peace through collective
Disputes referred to the League's Council for
arbitration and conciliation
If necessary, economic and then military
sanctions could be used
In other words, members undertook to defend
other members from aggression
2. Aimed to promote international cooperation in
economic and social affairs
The Covenant of the League of Nations
“In order to promote international cooperation and to
achieve international peace and security by the
acceptance of obligations not to resort to war, by the
prescription of open, just and honorable relations
between nations, by the firm establishment of the
understandings of international law as the actual rule
of conduct among Governments, and by the
maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for
all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized
peoples with one another, Agree to this Covenant of
the League of Nations."
Ineffectiveness of the League
As the Second World War unfolded, it became
clear that the League had failed in its chief aim
of keeping the peace.
Had no military power of its own
Depended on its members' contributions
Members not willing to use sanctions,
economic or military action
Moral authority was insufficient
Big Powers Failed to Support League
The United States never joined
Germany was a member for only seven years from
The USSR was a member for only five years from
Japan and Italy both withdrew in the 30s
League then depended mainly on Britain and France,
who were hesitant to act forcefully
Signed in London on 12 June 1941
• Agreement “to work together, with other free
peoples, both in war and in peace”
Each representative pledged not to sign a separate
peace document and declared: "The only true basis of
enduring peace is the willing cooperation of free
peoples in a world in which, relieved of the menace
of aggression, all may enjoy economic and social
security…. “
Ten days later, Hitler launched his attack against the
Soviet Union.
The Atlantic Charter of 14 August
British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and US President
Franklin D. Roosevelt met aboard the USS Atlanta
First indication that the two powers would strive for creation
of a new world organization once peace was restored
Announced "certain common principles … of their respective
countries … for a better future for the world:
• the need for a secure peace
• the abandonment by all nations of the use of force
• theRoosevelt
disarmament of aggressors
• the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security
and the Prince of
Declaration of the United Nations
January 1, 1942
"to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in
the … Atlantic Charter"
 Representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to
continue fighting together against the Axis Powers
 signed a declaration whose preamble called for subscription
 explicitly referred to need for promoting respect for human
rights on an international basis
Phrase "united nations" was first used
 coined by FDR to express the unity of the signatory nations
in their determination to withstand the onslaught of the
Axis powers
 Declaration subsequently signed by 21 additional
Conference of Allied Ministers of
Met in London in the Fall of 1942
Drafted plans for a United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO)
Formed the basis for a conference held in 1944
which drafted UNESCO constitution
United Nations Conference on
Food and Agriculture
Spring 1943
Held in Hot Springs, Virginia
Set up Interim Commission on Food and
Drew up a Constitution for the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO)
FAO formally organized in October 1945
Moscow Declaration
October 30, 1943
Constructed blue print of a new world body (General
Assembly) to replace the League of Nations
Met at a time when victory seemed in sight
• "the necessity of establishing at the earliest
practicable date a general international
organization based on the principle of sovereign
equality of all peace-loving States, and open to
membership by all such States, large and small, for
the maintenance of international peace and
Reaffirmed at the Tehran Conference December 1943
United Nations Relief and
Rehabilitation Administration
Created in November 1943 by an agreement
signed by 44 nations (Washington D.C.)
Set up to provide assistance to victims of war
Formally first U.N. agency to come into being
Operated until 1949 when its functions were
divided among other agencies
• FAO, UNICEF, International Refugee
Bretton Woods Agreement
July 1944
730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations gathered at
the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New
The United Nations Monetary and Financial
• Basis for the establishment of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (IBRD)
• Articles of agreement came into force in December 1945
Dumbarton Oaks Conference, Washington,
August 21st to October 7th, 1944
First big-power
meeting convoked to
make concrete plans of
the structure and
functioning of the world
Delegations offered widely differing
proposals, but eventually reached
Favored a strong role for the General
Assembly in which all member states
would be represented (most
Agreement that a small Security
Council should be "primarily
responsible for the maintenance of
international peace and security"
That the big powers should have the
right of veto in that body
Deadlock developed over a Soviet
proposal that a big power might
exercise this right in disputes in
which it was itself involved
Yalta Conference, February 1945
"Yalta formula" - compromise proposed by US and rejected by
the USSR at Dumbarton Oaks
 provided that if any of the Big Five powers was involved in a
dispute, it would not have the right to veto Security Council
recommendations for peaceful settlement of the issue but
would be able to veto a Security Council decision to invoke
sanctions against it
 Agreement
of the Trusteeship: formed to oversee
by Prime
Churchill,of dependent territories to be placed under
and system as a successor to the League of
mandate system.
On 25 April 1945, delegates of 50 nations met
in San Francisco for the United Nations
Conference on International Organization.
Delegates drew up the 111-article Charter,
which was adopted unanimously on June 25,
1945 in the San Francisco Opera House
Next day, they signed charter in the Herbst
Theatre auditorium of the Veterans War
Memorial Building
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Established in 1945 by the UN Charter whose seat is at The
Hague, Netherlands
Principle judicial organ of the United Nations
• began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent
Court of International Justice
Has jurisdiction over all cases referred to it by parties
concerning matters within the Charter and over various treaties
or conventions in force
Submission of states is based on their consent, thus no force to
submit to cases
The Charter provides that Members of the United Nations may
entrust the solution of their differences to other tribunals
United Nations Day
October 24, 1945
The United Nations charter was ratified by the five
permanent members of the Security Council and the
majority of other 51 signatories, and comes into
The day is celebrated each year as United Nations
January 10, 1946, the First General Assembly, with
51 nations represented opens in Central Hall,
Westminster, London.
First Official Meetings January 1946
Security Council meets for the first time in
London, adopting its rules of procedure.
General Assembly adopts its first resolution.
• Main focus: peaceful uses of atomic energy and
the elimination of atomic and other weapons of
mass destruction.