Updated: Nov 19, 2021
To celebrate the upcoming launch of our first course, A Guide to Model UN, we’re doing a deep dive into the United Nations and its related organizations. Sign up to our mailing list to keep updated on all of our articles and upcoming courses!
The United Nations was officially formed on October 24, 1945, with the aim of having the nations of the world work together to maintain peace following the horrors of World War II. But how was such an important and influential organization actually created?
Prior to the formation of the United Nations, the sustaining of world peace fell on the League of Nations. The League of Nations was founded out of the Paris Peace Conference following World War I and was the first international organization of its kind, with the purpose of maintaining world peace. However it had many weaknesses, and the world's nations were not fully represented as many nations decided against joining, left shortly after joining, or were not welcome to join because of political stances. Crucially, one of the world's most powerful nations, the United States of America, refused to join all together, which meant the power of the organization was very limited.
The weaknesses within the League of Nations failed to prevent the start of World War II in 1939, one of the main reasons for the organization's existence. By 1941, a number of governments had already been exiled by the Axis powers, made up of an alliance led by Japan, Germany and Italy. It became clear that the nations needed a better way to discuss solutions to problems and to hold each other accountable for their actions. A number of countries within the Allied forces gathered with representatives from the exiled governments to sign The Declaration of St. James Palace, a commitment to fight against the Axis powers, which still serves as the outline for world peace relations today:
“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; It is our intention to work together, and with other free peoples, both in war and peace, to this end.”
Along with this declaration (signed by representatives from Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand the Union of South Africa, and exiled governments Belgium, Cz