After a war, many people say, “We’ve had enough. We don’t want to go to war ever again.” At different times in the past, leaders on countries have tried to get other leaders to agree on ways to keep wars from starting. There have been several efforts to set up an organization of nations. Such organizations sometimes worked for a while, but none lasted very long. None ever included all of the nations of the world.
During World War II, the leaders of the United States and other nations decided something had to be done to try to prevent new warsfrom starting. Millions of people had been killed since World War II began in 1939. Millions more had been uprooted from their homes by the fighting. As the war continued, so did international discussions about trying once more to set up a new organization of nations.
The result of these discussions came in 1945, when representatives from fifty countries met in San Francisco, California. Even though World War II had not yet ended, they worked to plan an organization that they hoped would prevent World War III. They wrote a charter that describes how the new organization would work. By October 24,1945, many countries had signed the charter. A new organization, the United Nations, or UN, was born. The Declaration, which is signed by twenty-six countries, set forth the war aim of the Allies. The Allies were all the nations fighting against Germany, Italy, and Japan. The Declaration was signed on January 1,1942. Three years later, the term United Nations was used again, this time as the name of a new international organization for world peace.
Its purposes, as written in the UN charter, are:
- To keep peace among the nations of the world.
- To build trust and friendship among nations.
- To help nations solve international problems.
- To provide a center where nations can work together.
The charter also says that all member nations are equal. They are supposed to settle their arguments in a peaceful manner, without causing danger for other nations. If one country threatens peace, the UN can vote to send troops there to keep the peace.
The UN has three main parts: the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Secretariat.
The General Assembly meets every yearat UN headquarters in New York City. It decides what the UN will or will not do. It can do only those things what the UN charter gives it power to do. Every member of the UN has one vote in the General Assembly. For new countries to join the UN, the Security Council must first recommend them. Then the General Assembly must vote on whether they may join. At UN headquarters, the General Assembly meets to seek peaceful solutions to international problems.
The Security Council meets year-round at the UN building. It has fifteen members. Five of them are permanent: the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain, and France. The other ten are chosen by the General Assembly to serve for two-year terms. The Security Council’s main job is to keep peace throughout the world. It can vote to send troops to keep the peace. But if any one of the five permanent members votes against taking a certain nation, the UN cannot take that action.
The Secretariat carries out the decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Secretary-General is the head of the Secretariat. One job of the Secretary-General is to bring up problems for the Security Council to study. Another is to prepare the budget of the UN. A budget is a schedule of how money is to be spent and where it will come from. All of the other members are supposed to share the costs of running the UN.
The UN has three other parts that are somewhat less important in the day-to-day work of the organization. These are the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the International Court of Justice. There are also many other groups working through the UN that are not officially part of the UN. The World Health Organization is one of these special groups.
note: originally posted at Exposeknowledge.com under the same author.