On 24 October 1945, the United Nations officially came into existence when the UN Charter was ratified by many countries. This article will further give details about the events that led to the formation of the United Nations within the context of the IAS Exam.
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United Nations Background
- After the First World War, an inter-governmental organisation known as the League of Nations was created with the aim of maintaining peace and harmony among countries.
- It ceased to exist after the breakout of the Second World War. Amidst this war, the leaders of many countries felt the need for an international organisation that would prevent another such catastrophic war. The unimaginable horrors of the Second World War were a catapult for the formation of the UN.
- The earliest plan for a new world organisation came about in 1941 when a ‘Declaration by United Nations’ was drafted by the US President Franklin Roosevelt. The four Allied countries of USA, UK, Soviet Union and China were referred to as the ‘Four Policemen’. On 1 January 1942, leaders of the USA, UK, Soviet Union and China signed a document that was later called the United Nations Declaration. The next day, the document received signatures of 22 other countries. Later, when the number of countries swelled to 26, the term ‘United Nations’ was officially used. By March 1945, another 21 nations gave their signatures.
- The United Nations was formulated and negotiated between the international leaders at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference (officially called the Washington Conversations on International Peace and Security Organization) held at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. from August to October of 1944. The chief aims of the proposed international organisation were to maintain peace and security, to remove threats and suppress acts of aggression, to develop friendly relations among nations, to have international cooperation for solving economic, social and humanitarian problems, and to have a common centre for harmonising the actions of countries to achieve these objectives.
- In 1945, the United Nations Conference on International Organization was held in which 50 countries met at San Francisco to draw up the United Nations Charter. The Charter was signed by 50 countries on 26 June 1945. The UN came into existence when the Charter entered into force on 24 October 1945.
- The UN Declaration is given below:
- The five permanent members of the Security Council are the USA, UK, France, the Soviet Union and China. The first meeting of the UN General Assembly was held on 6 January 1946 in London. This assembly selected New York City as the headquarters of the UN. This site, along with the other UN headquarters buildings in Vienna, Geneva and Nairobi is designated ‘international territory’.
- The first UN Secretary-General was the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie.
- The five principal organs of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, the Economic and Social Council and the International Court of Justice.
- The Trusteeship Council was the sixth organ and that was suspended in 1994 when Palau acquired independence. Palau was the last remaining trustee territory held by the UN.
- The six official languages of the UN are: English, French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.
- The current Secretary-General of the UN is António Guterres of Portugal.
- The UN also works through many specialised agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank Group, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR), etc.
- India is a founding member of the UN. India was also one of the top 25 countries to contribute to the UN budget in 2016.
Also on this day
1827: Birth of Lord Ripon, Viceroy of India from 1880 to 1884. He started local self-government in India by a resolution in 1882. He is known for other pro-India reforms like the repeal of the Vernacular Press Act, the Hunter Commission, etc.
1851: Opening of the first telegraph line in India between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour.
1914: Birth of Lakshmi Sahgal, an officer of the Indian National Army.
1921: Birth of cartoonist R K Laxman.
1975: Bonded labour abolished in India by an ordinance.
1984: First metro rail service in India started in Calcutta. 1991: Death of Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai.
1997: Ragging banned in educational institutes in Kerala.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.
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