The United Nations

By Nicholas Ryer

Important People and Groups:

President Franklin D. Roosevelt-The 32nd president of the United States (1933-1945). He was the creator of the United Nations. It was FDR who convinced Wiston Churchill and Joseph Stalin to accept the United Nations as the primary vehicle for maintaining peace and security in the postwar era.

Harry S. Truman-Due to being FDR's vice president, he took over when FDR died on April 12, 1945. In June, he signed the charter that brought the United Nations into existence.

Security Council-The most important organ of the United Nations. The United States, France, Great Britain, China, and Russia/the Soviet Union, are the five permanent members with veto power and have special responsibility to maintain world peace and security. The Security Council advises the General Assembly.

General Assembly-Is based on the democratic principle of "one country, one vote," irrespective of size and power, and is a deliberative organ. It is made up of representatives from all member nations.

The UN Secretariat-An administrative body, headed by the secretary-general.

The World Court-Is the judicial body of the UN.

Important Events:

  • The United Nations was dicussed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945.
  • The UN was established later at the San Francisco Conference in June 1945.

Important Terms:

League of Nations-Failed predecessor of the United Nations, established after World War 1. It failed to organize world order on the principles of universality. The United Nations learned from the mistakes of the League of Nations.

Cold War-A period of time from 1947-1991 where there was a constant build-up of nuclear weapons and tensions. For about five decades of the cold war, the United Nations was a passive bystander, limited due to the nations not agreeing. After the end of the cold war, the United Nations became active again.


When World War 2 had drawn to a close, the United Nations was established at the San Franciso Conference in 1945 on the principle of collective security. The UN's primary purpose is to maintain or restore peace and security. The founding members established a powerful executive organ, the Security Council, that consists of fifteen members, five of which are permanent (China, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France).