History of United Nations (UN) Part I

By | August 8, 2021

The beginnings of the UN: Based on the Atlantic Charter of August 14, 1941, on January 1, 1942, 26 states fighting against the Axis powers united to form the United Nations in the “Washington Pact”. At their Moscow conference the foreign ministers of China, Great Britain, the USSR and the USA decided on November 1, 1943, after the overthrow of the Axis powers, to create a world organization for the maintenance of international peace. The 1944 Dumbarton Oaks Conference drafted a constitution for the proposed organization. During their talks in Yalta in February 1945, W. Churchill, F. D. Roosevelt and J. W. Stalin made efforts to clarify contentious issues (including voting mode and the right of veto in the Security Council). At the conference in San Francisco (California) from April to June 1945, which was open to all powers that had declared war on Germany before March 1, 1945, the substance of the draft drawn up by the great powers was slightly modified; Finally, on June 26, 1945, 51 nations adopted the UN Charter (in force since October 24, 1945). The powers that stood against the Allies in the Second World War should initially remain excluded from the UN organization as “enemy states” and should not be allowed to invoke the Charter (enemy states clause). In January 1946 the General Assembly and the Security Council met for their first meeting in London. The UN replaced the League of Nations which was dissolved on April 19, 1946. Note: according to Abbreviationfinder, United Nations is also known as UN.

Cold War and Decolonization: The history of the UN was initially v. a. determined by the Cold War and the process of decolonization. Due to the rivalry between the two world powers, the USA and the Soviet Union, the East-West conflict prevented the creation of the peacekeeping system of a world police force. While the disputes in the Security Council were characterized by the veto, especially by the Soviet Union, the General Assembly increasingly became the venue for propaganda battles that took place after 1955 BC. a. Allies were sought among the non-aligned states. Only the nuclear stalemate and the subsequent beginning of the détente led to joint proposals by the world powers, for example for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The process of decolonization changed the UN quantitatively and qualitatively and led to that the number of members tripled and that the group of industrialized countries compared to the developing countries has lost a lot of weight in the GA. The UN is increasingly using the latter as a forum to draw attention to the unequal distribution of wealth in the world. As a result, since the 1970s, efforts to create a new, fairer world economic order that should soften the north-south divide and curb the accelerated consumption of natural resources have been in the foreground. The UN underwent a significant change in 1971 when the US gave up its unconditional support for the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China received its seat on the Security Council and in the General Assembly of the UN.

In keeping with its mission to promote and secure peace in the world, the UN has endeavored to resolve conflicts since it was founded. In essence, during the East-West conflict, the UN had to limit itself to mediating activities, e. B. since 1948 in the various crises of the Middle East conflict, 1960 in the Congo and 1964 in the Cyprus crisis, 1965/66 in Kashmir, 1988 in Angola or 1989/90 in Namibia.

After the end of the East-West conflict: 1989/90, v. a. the then President of the USSR, M. Gorbachev, called for a global political upgrading of the UN. US President G. Bush promised a new world order with a greater role for the UN. With a quick and consistent intervention in the Gulf War (1990/91) indicated a renaissance of the Security Council, but soon, v. a. in Somalia, there were setbacks in peace policy. Different historical ties and military assessments as well as diverging political interests of the Permanent Security Council members severely restricted the mandates for the operations of the UN peacekeeping force in the former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). The air strikes by NATO against the former Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 (“humanitarian” intervention without a direct mandate from the Security Council) also set a dubious precedent for pushing the UN aside.

Reform efforts and new security policy challenges: The limited ability of the UN to act in crises has triggered reform requests and proposals on various sides. The aim of reforming the UN or the UN system as well as the system of special institutions from within is v. a. the improvement of the financial situation as well as the acceleration of the decision-making processes of the individual bodies. The then General Secretary B. Boutros-Ghali specified the necessary measures for peacekeeping and conflict prevention in his Agenda for Peace in 1992. In order to better meet the demands of the international community and to meet the challenges of the new century more effectively and efficiently, the Secretary General K. Annan, who had been in office since January 1, 1997, proposed in July 1997(Re-elected in 2001 for a second term until the end of 2006) proposed numerous measures in his report “Renewing the UN: A Reform Program”. These focus among other things. on the following priorities: creation of a new leadership and management structure and culture, stronger coordination of the activities of the main departments and special bodies, ensuring solvency by setting up a loan fund from voluntary contributions, amalgamation of individual departments of the secretariat, review of the workforce, reduction of administrative costs, increased UN engagement in post-conflict peacebuilding and in the fight against crime, drug trafficking and terrorism, expansion of human rights activities, promotion of disarmament. At the »Millennium Summit« (under the motto »The UN and the 21st Century«) around 150 heads of state and government discussed global problems of mankind for the first time in the history of the UN in 2000 and finally committed to the fight against them by setting specific targets by 2015 Poverty, war and AIDS, to protect the environment and to renew the UN. The Millennium Summit also discussed the submission of an independent expert group (Brahimi Report), which had analyzed the weaknesses of the existing system of UN peacekeeping and contained a comprehensive catalog of recommendations for far-reaching structural and operational improvements. Implementation then began gradually. the The World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (South Africa) in August / September 2002 was the largest UN conference to date, at which around 40,000 participants from over 190 countries adopted an action plan to solve global problems.

History of United Nations 1