Before the United Nations organization was formed we lived in a world of uncertainty where any misunderstanding could lead to a massive world war. Since the United Nations was formed, many issues have been resolved and a number of new groups have been created to make the world more peaceful. The United Nation’s intentions are aimed for the future race of people. Their hope is that one day we can all set aside our differences and live together as one. Human kind has fought many wars over a variety of issues; however, the advent of a unified international organization has changed the world and set goals for humanity’s future.
The United Nations was established in the aftermath of a devastating war to help stabilize international relations and give peace a more secure foundation. However, the beginning of this organization did not start off smoothly. The original establishment was named the League of Nations. Nevertheless, the League of Nations was unable to seek its purpose. The group’s main goal was to promote general peace throughout the world. As Woog explained, the league’s primary goal was to be able to sit down and discuss issues instead of battle (22). The league was weak mostly because the United States did not join the group and it also did not have its own troops. Thus it had no real power beyond moral and economic issues. The group was doomed for failure. It was not capable of promoting peace and there were small wars breaking out and a potential threat of another large war to come.
The League of Nations could do very little once the Nazis were victorious in the German elections. They could not halt Germany’s open aggression and rearmament. By the mid-1930s the nations abandoned any hope for the League’s success and soon after World War II began.
“Long before World War II even broke out, it was clear that a new organization—more powerful, more persuasive, and more respected than the League of Nations—was needed. That organization was the United Nations” (Woog 31). The decision for a new alliance was actually thought about during World War II. It was a meeting at St. James’ Palace in London that brought together representatives from the different nations involved with the war. Then shortly after British prime minister, Winston Churchill and US president, Theodore Roosevelt came together and signed a Inter-Allied pact. American diplomat Clark Eichelberger said:
Somehow, millions of people in the world tonight, hearing of the Roosevelt-Churchill Conference, feel that they have been snatched from the brink of disaster and their feet put upon the road to victory and world organization. It will be a long road, entailing many hardships—even, as Mr. Churchill predicted for his country, blood, sweat, toil, and tears. But it is the only road that will lead to victory and permanent peace. It is the road that the American people, with other brave nations, must travel (qtd. in Woog 33).
On New Year’s Day 1942 the new Allies signed a pledge of mutual support, the Declarations of United Nations. In that document it stated the 26 signers were “convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence, and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as other lands.” 51 countries established the United Nations also known as the UN on October 24, 1945 with the intentions of preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security.
Once the representatives agreed on the Declaration of United Nations they knew they had to get organized if they did not want this group to fail like the League of Nations. The basic structure incorporated a General Assembly that would include delegates from all the member nations, a smaller Security Council made up of both permanent and rotating members and a Secretariat that would be responsible for the organization’s day-to-day, internal administration. Other factors for setting up this organization was to find an appropriate place for the headquarters. After puzzling over a perfect location, the United States offered to host the headquarters. They decided on New York City. They started off in Hunter College but the space was not adequate and the members had to stay in hotels. They found it too much trouble to even work, so they decided to move the group to another part of New York City. The headquarters that still stands today was finished in 1952. In the building items from all around the world symbolize that the building complex itself is truly international, and filled with many diverse cultural objects.
Once the group was finally organized they could get to business. The General Assembly’s regular sessions began annually in the autumn and usually lasted about two months. In addition it may of met in special sessions or in special emergency sessions. The accomplishments of the United Nations are outstanding and the numerous things they have done, greatly affect our world. They started out just encouraging the spread of peace around the world but they also were involved in many other events. The other function was to improve the daily life of the world’s population through environmental, social, and economic programs. The problems of food and famine, shelter, population control, economic development, drug abuse, health care, and the special problems of the environment, children, women, and the elderly are closely connected to the problems of peacekeeping. By addressing them, the UN could attack the roots that often lie at the base of armed conflict. The UN did this with the help from thousands of regional and governmental agencies, as well as such private organizations. Together, they formed a network of assistance programs around the world.
Major accomplishments of the UN are varied and range from setting up groups for education to ending wars. The first resolution the UN tackled was the peaceful uses of atomic energy and the elimination of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction. Other milestones were the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation, Treaty on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, conventions for the Rights of the Child, and working with the tribulations in the Middle East. The United Nations has won many Nobel Peace Prizes for their outstanding work and progress.
These achievements and many others encourage people to promote and praise the United Nations. Without the UN the world would be a bigger place full of confusion and hatred. The efforts of this world organization have improved global life for all of its citizens and will continue to do so for many years to come. We need to abide by the principles of the UN charter: maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, cooperate in solving international problems, promoting respect for human rights, and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations if we wish to solve many of the problems facing our world today and for years to come.
Altschiller, Donald. The United Nations’ Role in World Affairs. New York; H.W. Wilson, 1993.
United Nations. Basic facts about the United Nations. New York: United Nations,
Un Milestones. Online. http://www.un.org. Internet. 23 March 2001.