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Today in History, June 26th

Today in History, June 26th

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  • AmyW AmyW's Avatar 06-26-06 | 09:21 AM
    June 26, 1945[/SIZE]

    [SIZE="3"]In the Herbst Theater auditorium in San Francisco, delegates from 50 nations
    sign the United Nations Charter, establishing the world body as a means of
    saving "succeeding generations from the scourge of war." The Charter was
    ratified on October 24, and the first U.N. General Assembly met in London on
    January 10, 1946.Despite the failure of the League of Nations in arbitrating the
    conflicts that led up to World War II, the Allies as early as 1941 proposed
    establishing a new international body to maintain peace in the postwar world.
    The idea of the United Nations began to be articulated in August 1941, when U.S.
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
    signed the Atlantic Charter, which proposed a set of principles for
    international collaboration in maintaining peace and security. Later that year,
    Roosevelt coined "United Nations" to describe the nations allied against the
    Axis powers--Germany, Italy, and Japan. The term was first officially used on
    January 1, 1942, when representatives of 26 Allied nations met in Washington,
    D.C., and signed the Declaration by the United Nations, which endorsed the
    Atlantic Charter and presented the united war aims of the Allies.In October
    1943, the major Allied powers--Great Britain, the United States, the USSR, and
    China--met in Moscow and issued the Moscow Declaration, which officially stated
    the need for an international organization to replace the League of Nations.
    That goal was reaffirmed at the Allied conference in Tehran in December 1943,
    and in August 1944 Great Britain, the United States, the USSR, and China met at
    the Dumbarton Oaks estate in Washington, D.C., to lay the groundwork for the
    United Nations. Over seven weeks, the delegates sketched out the form of the
    world body but often disagreed over issues of membership and voting. Compromise
    was reached by the "Big Three"--the United States, Britain, and the USSR--at the
    Yalta Conference in February 1945, and all countries that had adhered to the
    1942 Declaration by the United Nations were invited to the United Nations
    founding conference.On April 25, 1945, the United Nations Conference on
    International Organization convened in San Francisco with 50 nations
    represented. Three months later, during which time Germany had surrendered, the
    final Charter of the United Nations was unanimously adopted by the delegates. On
    June 26, it was signed. The Charter, which consisted of a preamble and 19
    chapters divided into 111 articles, called for the U.N. to maintain
    international peace and security, promote social progress and better standards
    of life, strengthen international law, and promote the expansion of human
    rights. The principal organs of the U.N., as specified in the Charter, were the
    Secretariat, the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social
    Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Trusteeship Council.On
    October 24, 1945, the U.N. Charter came into force upon its ratification by the
    five permanent members of the Security Council and a majority of other
    signatories. The first U.N. General Assembly, with 51 nations represented,
    opened in London on January 10, 1946. On October 24, 1949, exactly four years
    after the United Nations Charter went into effect, the cornerstone was laid for
    the present United Nations headquarters, located in New York City. Since 1945,
    the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded more than ten times to the United Nations
    and its organizations or to individual U.N. officials, most recently to both the
    organization as a whole and Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2001