UN Founding

Originating from the 14 points drafted by Woodrow Wilson in January 1918 and established after World War I, the League of Nations began as an organization to stop another war from happening. Its main goal was to maintain peace and resolve disputes through the means of negotiation, collective security and disarmament; however, the League of Nations failed in its mission. The intergovernmental organization could have been more effective if the majority of the countries had become members and had cooperated with its measures. Many countries, including the United States of America, didn’t become members of the League of Nations and others ended their membership due to reasons of conflict. The organization wasn’t influential and it didn’t have its own military power. In fact, they had to constantly depend on members to provide support, and some of the strongest countries displayed a pacifist attitude. Thus, the League of Nations was disbanded after World War II.

The League of Nations laid out the foundation for the United Nations, which is still effective today. In August of 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill held a secret meeting to establish the goals of war and pave a path towards global peace. They came up with a declaration known as the Atlantic Charter. On Jan. 1, 1942, representatives from 26 countries gathered in Washington to sign the declaration of the United Nations that endorsed the Atlantic Charter. They agreed to use their full resources to fight against the Axis Power and agreed not to make peace discreetly. Over the next few years, several meetings were held to establish a charter that described the roles of the United Nations. From April to June of 1945, representatives from the 50 states met in San Francisco to finish the charter for the UnitedNations. After the end of the war, in October of 1945, 51 members of the United Nation ratified the charter. The four main purposes of the United Nations consist of keeping international peace and security between different nations, creating friendly relationships amongst nations, providing humanitarian assistance and mobilizing countries to achieve these goals. Today the United Nations has 193 countries as members. To become a member, the Security Council of the United Nations needs to recommend the country and there has to be a two-thirds vote from the General Assembly.

The General Assembly is composed of representatives from all the member states and they each get one vote. The Security Council consists of 15 members, and they are responsible for maintaining international security and peace. Then, The Economic and Social Council is the place where the economic, social and environmental issues are debated and ideas for new policies are recommended. The Trusteeship Council’s main purpose is to supervise the 11 trusted territories, ensuring they are ready for self-government and independence. The International Court of justice is the judicial branch of the United Nations and its primary responsibility consists of resolving conflicts between countries. The Secretariat of the United Nations does the daily work of the organization. They also monitor the policies established by other organizations within theUnited Nations.

Photo: I. Seddoug

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