History of the United Nations

UN General Assembly,By SA, CC 3.0

UN General Assembly,By SA, CC 3.0

History of the United Nations

This article will discuss the origins and the history of the United Nations. It will look at what caused the formation of the United Nations. Namely, it will examine the historical context that led to the creation of the United Nations, the actual creation of the international organization itself, any discussions and debates regarding the United Nations during its early formation, as well as its expanding role in international relations. The article will also link to other pages within the website where we provide a greater discussion of elements of the United Nations such as the General Assembly, the Security Council, the various human rights bodies such as ECOSOC, the International Court of Justice within the United Nations, etc…

In order to understand the place of the United Nations in international relations, it is critical that one grasps not only the historical buildup to the establishment of the United Nations, but also the prevailing international relations concepts, and how these said concepts shaped international affairs. The United Nations itself was formally established following World War II. However, its presence in the international system was meant to challenge prevailing norms in international relations, norms that were establishing centuries prior.

History of Sovereignty and the State

Prior to the formation of the United Nations, the international system operated under the idea of state sovereignty. The idea of state sovereignty was first initiated in 1648. A number of European powers came together in attempts to end various conflicts such as the Thirty Years War. The primary agreement that outlined the conditions of the end of the Thirty Years War was the Peace of Westphalia/Treaty of Westphalia. This document’s key contribution to international relations today is the notion of sovereignty; various power actors agreed that the state system should be the way territories were governed. Furthermore, it was not the right of outside actors to dictate how each state was to govern its own domestic and foreign affairs. This concept took off, and as we see, is the primary organized form of political systems was adopted throughout the world (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate & Pease, 2014). Again, this idea of establishing the idea of sovereignty with relation to the state was due to the conflicts the prior wars caused; it was the hope that this idea of state sovereignty, along with separation of state entities, would stop further bloodshed (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014).

Some have pointed out the political nature of the establishment of sovereignty in the mid 1600s. At least some of this comes from the idea that not all leaders of these different states actually had the ability to control their own domestic situations. However, as Weiss, Forsythe, Coate & Pease (2014) explain, “All states were said to be sovereign equals, regardless of their actual “power”–meaning capability to influence outcomes. They had a right to control policies within their jurisdictions even if they did not have the power to do it. Framed in the language of the abstract state, sovereignty enhanced the power of those persons making up the government that represented the state” (7).

However, as we shall later in the later discussions on the United Nations with regards to sovereignty, just because sovereignty is an understood underlying principle that is said to lay as the foundation to international relations, it does not mean that the concept has always been followed; even during the early formation of the underlying understanding and agreement of the principle of sovereignty, states were in violation of this principle, a concept labelled “organized hypocrisy” (Krasner, 1999, cited in Weiss, Forsythe, Coate & Pease, 2014). Furthermore, sovereignty, to the leaders who were governing their states, also meant that they were free to rule as they pleased. (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014). As we shall see, the United Nations and the international law that derived from the United Nations became one of the biggest challenges to the idea of state sovereignty (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014). One has to remember that international organizations are comprised of states, who all have varied interests (Puchala, Laatikainen, & Coate, 2007). And even today, whenever there are idea of intervening in some state’s domestic policies (such as for grave human rights violations, for example), some states continue to hold onto the idea of state sovereignty as a protection from that outside state. In fact, this idea of the United Nations and the ‘Responsibility To Protect’, versus the issue of state sovereignty continues to be one of the greatest tensions between the United Nations as an international organization and various state leaders, for as Weiss, Forsythe, Coate & Pease (2014) explain, “[w]orld politics consists, in large part, of managing the contradictions between conceptions of state sovereignty, on the one hand, and the desire for improved security, human rights, and sustainable human development, on the other” (11). This has been the biggest issue with regards to the United Nations, namely that of sovereignty versus what some see as international liberalist principles of such rights. (Puchala, Laatikainen, & Coate, 2007).

History of Cooperation

One other motivation for the formation of international organizations such as the League of Nations (which we shall discuss below), and later the United Nations has been how to deal with the system of anarchy in international affairs. In the 1800s, in the case of Europe, there existed a series of institutions that looked to somewhat challenge the notion of an independent state system. This was done by reference to international law, and was an effort to limit the behavior of states when they were doing something that was contrary to ideas of security in the international system. So, this idea of a “concert” of states coming together was playing out in Europe during this period; “[f]or example, the Congress of Vienna that ended the era of the Napoleonic Wars brought together the representatives of the four major victorious powers of the Quadruple Alliance–Austria, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia–plus France, the defeated foe, to attempt to reconstruct the European political landscape and to deter future aggression” (Puchala, 2007: 25). The idea is that states, working together, could be able to bear the burden of security in the international system. Sadly, there were many times when these states used their “concert” not to promote peace, but rather to plan for their imperialist actions (such as 1878 and the Berlin Conference where the colonialists negotiated with one another in dividing the territories in Africa) (Puchala, 2007).

This idea of a “conference” of states continued into the early 1900s. It has been pointed out that “Between 1850 and the outbreak of the First World War, more than 100 international conferences, most of them European in scope, were held to sort diverse issues. Some of them actually did this, and many of them resulted in the formation of more permanent bodies that began to look like modern international organizations” (Puchala, 2007). A great example of this were the peace conference held at the Hague in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is also in the late 1800s that union organizations are also brought into the fold to help with international cooperation. However, the events of World War I put the ideas of international organizations in serious jeopardy. But, it was the work of leaders such as US President Woodrow Wilson who pushed for a new security international organization after the end of World War I (Puchala, 2007).

The League of Nations: The Precursor to the United Nations

The competing principles of sovereignty versus liberalism were theoretically conceived before. One saw ideas about an international organization devoted to security with the formation of the Congress of Vienna in the 1800s (Puchala, Laatikainen, & Coate, 2007). However, it was the events of World War I, and then World War II that moved some actors in the international community to install an international organization that would serve as a place to protect human rights and international security, often at the expense of state sovereignty. Following World War I, many states came together in attempts to form an international organization that would be able to counter any state that carries out war or attempts to disrupt international security. Now a number of leaders such as U.S. President Woodrow Wilson understood that removing sovereignty from states would be highly unlikely, however, this was not to say that states could establish democratic practices through international organizations such as the League of Nations to help stop any states’ acts of aggression (Nye & Welch, 2009). Thus, Woodrow Wilson firmly believed in the idea of the League of Nations as a key actor in international relations, and the ability of creating rules to ensure that states do not act against the principles of the League of Nations, and that if they did, other stats, would act would act collectively to ensure international security (Nye & Welch, 2009).

But while this objective to establish an international organization for the principles of peace sand international security was good in theory, the assurance of action through the League of Nations was not without challenges. In hindsight, there were many reasons to question whether this system would work flawlessly. For example, as Joseph Nye & David Welch (2009) and others explain, the issue with the League of Nations was that there was little in terms of enforceability (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014). For one, everyone had to be on board with the idea of the League of Nations and collective security. And yet, this was a problem. As noted, “The unwillingness of each states to relinquish some sovereignty in exchange for collective security lay at the heart of one of the League’s most notable weaknesses: the failure of the United States to join its own creation” (Nye & Welch, 2009: 106). Along with this, the League of Nations also failed to actually respond to collective security concerns with regards to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria and Italy’s invasion in Ethiopia. In both cases, the states within the League of Nations, for their own interests, failed to take the enough action against these states (and some even reconsidered reversing weaker actions against Italy, for example), which in turn severely weakened the reputation of the League of Nations by other states (Nye & Welch, 2009).

But despite the inability of the League of Nations to survive as an international organization, many have argued that it played a critical role in setting the foundational norms of what would later become the United Nations. As Puchala, Verlin Laatikainen, & Coate, 2007) write that despite these inefficiencies, “…the League did help firmly embed a number of enduring norms and institutional forms. The tradition of the concert of great powers, for example, influenced the creation of the League Council, and the tradition of congresses to promote dialogue among nations was rehearsed in the establishment of the League Assembly: Membership was theoretically universal and one state-one vote was the principle of participation In signing the Covenant of the League, member states agreed to respect the territorial integrity and independence of all other members states and to strive to settle their disputes by peaceful means, that is, to resort to diplomacy before they resorted to war” (Puchala, 2007: 27). In addition, the idea of collective security was becoming more commonplace as an international norm (Puchala, Verlin Laatikainen & Coate, 2007). Moreover, the League of Nations’ legacy of engagement with refugees, their focus on economic research, and also the importance of civil service work at the international level (Weiss, 2015) were things that were embedded in the United Nations. It would be during the 1940s, during World War II that these norms would become codified in a new charter for an a new international organization focused on collective security and human rights. So, while the death of the League of Nations was pronounced, as we shall see, what resulted was the birth of the United Nations (statements by Lord Robert Cecil, in Weiss, 2015).

World War II and the History of the United Nations

The events of the Second World War has a profound effect on states’ motivations to create alliances, and then, on international organization such as the United Nations; in order to understand the history of the United Nations, one must understood the effects of World War I, and also World War II. First of all, the failure of the League of Nations, and then the buildup of World War II led scholars to think much more about the possibility of international cooperation, and an organization that could help coordinate such efforts. Thus, thinkers during these decades focused  ways for “small steps in international cooperation that eventually would result in bigger ones” (Weiss, 2015). This can be seen put to practice in the early 1940s, in which states were not immediately speaking about the need for an international organization to provide security, but were building military alliances, with notions of international security through some sort of international collective.

For example, years before the official establishment of the UN, in 1941, “On the twelfth of that month the representatives of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa and of the exiled governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and of General de Gaulle of France, met at the ancient St. James’ Palace and signed a declaration” which stressed a military alliance with one another (United Nations, ND). In this declaration it read: ““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” (United Nations, ND). This declaration was an important piece of United Nations history, as the meeting and document would serve as an important marker of what ideas the founders of the United Nations wanted to stress. Later documents echoed what was found in the London document. For example, the Atlantic Charter in 1941 called for “…certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they based their hopes for a better future for the world”” (United Nations, ND).

These two actions then led the United States and Great Britain to develop additional documents for the formation of this new organization. So, on January 1st, 1942, guided by US and British officials, the Declaration on United Nations was signed (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014).  The history of the United Nations “began with twenty-six countries allied to fight fascism but was based on international cooperation…” (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014: 1). As Weiss (2015) writes: “The Atlantic Charter of August 1941 and the Declaration by United Nations of January 1942 committed the Allies to multilateralism not only to fight fascism in the short term, but also over the longer term to maintain international peace and security and to foster postwar economic growth and social stability. The commitment was evident not only on the battlefronts but also in a commitment to inter- governmental organizations and wide coordination of national policies among the 44 allied states. While ‘multilateralism’ by definition involves cooperation by three or more states, my emphasis is on governance by the many and not the few. While middle and smaller powers supposedly prefer multilateralism and major powers incline towards unilateralism, the wartime origins of the United Nations suggest a greater traction for wider multilateral cooperation by the most powerful as well when the political conditions are right” (1223).

With regards to the history of the United Nations, the international organization itself was officially established in the mid 1940s, with the United Nations Charter finalized in San Francisco, in the United States in 1945. It was here that leaders of the represented states put into place conditions that outlawed force in international relations, other than if an action was approved by the United Nations Security Council. This was a development from the League of Nations, which “technically did not outlaw war but did establish a set of procedures designed to constrain state actors contemplating the use of force” (Housden, 2012, in Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014). However, the idea behind the United Nations was very similar to that of the League of Nations: states would come together and stop any aggressor state from jeopardizing international security. Thus, in their view, if one state was attacked, then all of the states were attacked (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014). 

Thus, similar to the formation of the League of Nations following war conditions in the early 1900s, the United Nations arose out the belief that  following World War II, “a new world order, built on the political, economic, and moral foundations of liberalism–the ideology–was essential for maintaining world peace” (Puchala, Laatikainen, & Coate, 2007: 21), which was in line with other newly formed organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the International Trade Organization and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (Puchala, Laatikainen, & Coate, 2007). In addition, the United Nations also resembled the League of Nations in other ways. For example, “[a] significant number of the old League’s aims and methods are transmitted into the new organization in 1945. Among these were not only such low-key but effective institutions as the International Court and the International Labour Organisation, but also the working assumptions of the secretariat, and some key operations – including those that would soon come to be called ‘peacekeeping’ operations'” (Townshend, 2011).

It was then in March of 1945, the states that fought against Germany and Japan during World War II were all invited to a conference in San Francisco, where “[t]he Allied  leaders had agreed in principle on the need for an international organization to prevent future aggression, assure the stability of frontiers, and provide a means for resolving disputes among nations” (Glendon, 2001). And one of the most ardent backers of this new United Nations organization was United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt, knowing the history behind the failure of the League of Nations (and within the United States context, Congress’ unwillingness to sign onto the League of Nations), “Roosevelt had begun speaking to the American people about his hopes for a new world organization during the war…In a radio address on Christmas Eve 1943, he emphasized that the main purpose of such an organization would be to keep the peace” (Glendon, 2001: 4). He also went on to say that this United Nations organization would not be one where more powerful states controlled the weaker states (Glendon, 2001).

Roosevelt continued his push for the formation of the United Nations the next two years. For example, on October 30th, 1943, “the Governments of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and China called for an early establishment of an international organization to maintain peace and security. That goal was reaffirmed at the meeting of the leaders of the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom at Teheran on 1 December 1943” (United Nations, 2014). And in 1944, the United States met with Britain, China, and the Soviet Union in Washington D.C. to prepare for the United Nations Charter. Along with Roosevelt, Britain’s leader Winston Churchill who was also supportive of the Atlantic Charter in 1941, and even during World War II, had ideas of expanding the British and US alliance into an international organization of sorts, one in which would offer international security (Hughes, 1971). However, not all states were completely on board with the idea of an international organization such as the United Nations. The Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin, for example distrusted Britain and the United States. Mary Ann Glendon (2001) writes on the Soviet Union’s position towards the United Nations, and Stalin’s feelings on Britain and the United States leadership, saying:

“The Soviets went along with the project, but without much enthusiasm. Their chief concern for the immediate postwar period was to protect the frontiers of the motherland from renewed aggression. On the eve of the Normandy invasion, according to former Yugoslav Communist Party official Milovan Djilas, Stalin told Djilas: “Perhaps you think that just because we are the allies of the English we have forgotten who they are and who Churchill is. They find nothing sweeter than to trick their allies…Churchill is the kind who, if you don’t watch him, will slip a kopeck out of your pocket….Roosevelt is not like that. He dips his hand in only for bigger coins” (5, citing Milan Djilas, Conversations with Stalin, translated by M. Petrovich, 1962).

While Stalin was apprehensive about trusting Britain and the US, Britain and the United States were not warm to Stalin and the Soviet Union either. In fact, many were concerned that Stalin and the Soviet Union would not be helpful in the United Nations organization, but rather were concerned about his attempt to expand the Soviet Union (Glendon, 2001: 5). Nevertheless, the different sides continued to work on the foundations of the United Nations. The different state leaders agreed to meet to discuss this new international organization. And while there were different points of disagreement, at these meetings, the biggest point of contention seemed to be the issue of the United Nations Security Council, and within that, the idea of veto power states. The point of contention was how the veto power would be used; the British and American representatives (such as U.S. representative Edward R. Stettinius Jr.) did not want a state to be able to use a veto in cases where it was involved in a conflict or issue. However, the Soviet Union’s representative Vyacheslav Molotov demanded that the veto be usable in any context. Thus, this issue was tabled for later discussions by the top leaders of these respective states.  Thus, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met in Yalta in 1945 to further discuss the makeup of what later came to be the United Nations. It was here that the different states expressed their interests and concerns in the post World-War II world. For example, the Soviet Union was worried about any potential attack from Germany, and thus, was beginning to find allies between the Soviet Union and Germany. Meanwhile, Churchill was concerned about Russia’s influence in Europe, and thus, “proposed that France should have an active role in policing postwar Europe. He was ultimately successful in obtaining a seat for France as the fifth permanent member (with Britain, China, the United States, and the USSR) of the United Nations Security Council. This seems not to have troubled Stalin, since the Soviet Union’s position that there should be no exceptions to the veto power substantially prevailed: (Glendon, 2001: 7-8).

Thus, we saw the birth of a new international organization, but one that closely resembled the League of Nations just a couple of decades earlier. However, similar to concerns regarding the League of Nations, the United Nations also had some problems early in its effectiveness. For one, some states were not willing to buy into this idea of collective security with all states, due to the political conditions of the Cold War. As the United States and the Soviet Union raced for power and influence in the world, they did this with economic and political incentives to states; those who allied with the United States would be well compensated (and well protected), and the same went for states who established relationships with the U.S.S.R. Thus, knowing the competition of these two states, and their support for their allies (often across ideological lines), it would be difficult to expect that they would we willing to challenge an ally; as Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease (2014) state, “[d]uring the Cold War, the United States would not have joined in a UN effort at collective security against one of its NATO allies, nor would the Soviet Union have done so against its Warsaw Pact allies” (27). 

The various delegations met again in 1945 in San Francisco, but this time without Roosevelt, who passed away in April of 1945. They continued to debate issues regarding the UN Charter, with particularly attention to the role of human rights in the United Nations (see Glendon, 2001 for a discussion). Overall, there were “…representatives of 50 nations, including 9 continental European states, 21 North, Central, and South American republics, 7 Middle Eastern states, 5 British Commonwealth nations, 2 Soviet Republics (in addition to the USSR itself), 2 East Asian nations, and 3 African states” (History.com, 2014) (One can see the criticisms of those who say that the United Nations’ formation was not truly universal, and most states were left out of the meeting, much of which was due to continued colonization by a number of European states). After years of work, and months of negotiating the principles and articles of the UN Charter, the United Nations officially came into formation on June 26th, 1945 (Glendon, 2001). And it was on October 24th, 1945 that the United Nations Charter is ratified (United Nations, 2014).

This was no easy feat. Yet, when looking at the history of the United Nations, it becomes clear that the early founders–and those working on the charter understood what this document would mean for the United Nations; this was a key international organization, and therefore, the charter was intended to be a document that would serve the goals of the UN, namely, ensure peace and security in the world (Mertus, 2009). The importance of the organization forming was amplified with the introduction of the nuclear period (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014).

Thus, despite the tense relationships and negotiations, when looking at the history of the United Nations, it is evident that the entity came to be as an international organization for the promotion of human rights and international security. However, one could see that the functionality of the United Nations would be difficult; this was evident not only with the political relationships that arose from the Cold War, but also by examining the organizational structure to the United Nations to see some of the challenges that would arise. Namely, the unbalanced power that a select handful of states had in the United Nations, and the issues that would result from this. In the United Nations Security Council, there are five major veto power members, who must approve any plan in the Security Council in order for the UN to carry out an action (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014). However, as we can imagine, this was often politicized based on the interests of that said state (click here for a full discussion of the United Nations Security Council).

United Nations NY Building, SA, CC 3.0

United Nations NY Building, SA, CC 3.0

The Expansion of States in the United Nations Post-World War II

Following the formation of the United Nations following World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union conflicted over ideologies; while the United States championed capitalism, the Soviet Union began critiquing the economic system (Puchala, Verlin Laatikainen, & Coate, 2007). This had an effect on the United Nations, both in terms of the politics of the United States and their allies with those of the Soviet Union and their allies. In addition, the two sides and their respective supporters differed on what sorts of human rights would be recognized within the United Nations; this led to a split of rights into the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). But it also shaped the evolution of the United Nations in terms of state membership. While the number of states was kept relatively low in the early 1940s and 1950, “membership in the United Nations more than doubled to 104 in 1961, and then increased to 152 in 1979” (Puchala, Verlin Laatikainen, & Coate, 2007: 38). The reason for this was primarily due to decolonization; the European powers that controlled various areas in Africa, the Middle East, and in other parts of Asia lost control of/relinquished control of these territories.

When looking at the history for the United Nations, it is evident that the international organization did not take center stage in the early decades after its founding. In fact, one could argue that this was the case as late as the 1970s, and also the 1980s, as both world superpowers (the United States and the Soviet Union) worked outside of the system. For the United States, its leaders were skeptical of the foundation and effectiveness of the organization. For example, “The first administration of Ronald Reagan, and related think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, manifested a deep distrust of multilateralism. One Reagan official, Charles Lichenstein, assigned to the UN, spoke publicly of “waving…a found farewell as [the UN] sailed into the sunset” (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014: 2). Others aligned with the US did not prefer what they were seeing; an entity that historically was more greatly influenced by the United States was now becoming a place where developing states were dominating the discourse and vote. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was also frequently acting outside of the United Nations, making it difficult for the organization to reign in either side.

Furthermore, with regards to the effectiveness of the United Nations, there were also frustrations with states ignoring the resolutions that were passed, or not pushing follow-up policies. Moreover, others criticized the power of the United Nations Security Council. Having a system in which a handful of countries could prevent any action from taking place was quite concerning to the vast majority of countries in the world, who recognized the power imbalances that such a structure offered (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014).

Increased Support for the United Nations

While there indeed was a great amount of skepticism about United Nations effectiveness, different scholars argue that the end of the Cold War ushered in a new period in the history of the United Nations. Part of this could be attributed to the increased support of at least one major power; “Mikhail Gorbachev, then the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, called on the world organization in a September 198 article in the Soviet newspaper Pravda to play a more central role in world politics as a cornerstone of global security. More boldly than any previous leader of a superpower, Gorbachev embraced the UN and its collective security mechanism as a cornerstone of Soviet security policy (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014: 3). While Reagan was careful to respond too positively, the next President, George H.W. Bush was more willing to work within the United Nations, whether it was during the Gulf War in 1990 (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014), or with regards to other international relations issues. 

At the same time, the international organization was more active in establishing new UN peacekeeping and military missions. In fact, “From 1988 to 1993, more UN military operations–over twenty new operations–were launched than during the entire first four decades of the world organization” (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014). But while the United States had several leaders who touted this as a positive development for international security and cooperation, a number of smaller states were becoming more concerned about the role the United Nations would play, at least as a tool for the more powerful states in the Security Council (Weiss, Forsythe, Coate, & Pease, 2014).

Nevertheless, in the 1990s, additional military and peacekeeping actions through the United Nations; whether it was Angola, Sierre Leone, East Timor, or Kosovo, states, through the United Nations, were becoming much more willing to work through the international organization in the name of peace and international security.

The United Nations History of Ideas

Overall, there has been a great amount of conversation about the effectiveness of the United Nations. While we won’t delve into that topic here in detail, we want to end the article by offering some points about what historical legacy of the United Nations. The United Nations has dealt with (and still has) numerous flaws. However, there has been a lot of good that has also been pushed through the United Nations. Weiss (2015) argues that the United Nations has helped shape norms on a number is issues that include the promotion of human rights, establishing an international economic system for development, offering research to examine health and other development indicators, offering new approaches to questions about international trade (although many have critiqued the ideas that have come out of this conversation), the establishment of global goals (which include the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)), related to that, development that works to push economic growth along with the fight against poverty, and also additional attention to the environment, gender rights, etc…

Again, within these categories are disagreements on the level of effectiveness that the United Nations has during its history. However, it can be argued that the actors within the international organization has been effective in shaping international norms on these topics. In other articles, we go into more detail on these norms and policy outcomes in more detail. But, it is important to remember that while we examine the history of the United Nations, the organization is still relatively new, and continuing to develop as an institution.

History of the United Nations References

Townshend, C. (2011). The League of Nations and the United Nations. BBC, History. 02-17-2011. Available Online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/league_nations_01.shtml

Djilas, M. (1962). Conversations with Stalin, translated by M. Petrovich, New York, New York. Harcourt Brace & World.

Glendon, M. A. (2001). A World Made New: Elenor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New York, New York Random House.

History.com (2014). Oct 24 1945: The United Nations is Born. Available Online: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-united-nations-is-born

Housden, M. (2012). The League of Nations and the Organization of Peace, New York, New York. Pearson Longman.

Hughes, E. J. (1971). Winston Churchill and the Formation of the United Nations Organization. Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 9, No. 4, pages 177-194.

Krasner, S. D. (1999). Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy, Princeton New Jersey, Princeton University Press.

United Nations (2014). History of the United Nations. Available Online: http://www.un.org/en/aboutun/history/1941-1950.shtml

United Nations (ND). 1941: The Atlantic Charter. United Nations. Available Online: http://www.un.org/en/sections/history-united-nations-charter/1941-atlantic-charter/index.html

United Nations (ND). 1941: The Declaration of St. James’ Palace. United Nations. Available Online: http://www.un.org/en/sections/history-united-nations-charter/1941-declaration-st-james-palace/index.html

Puchala, D. J., Verlin Laatikainen, K., & Coate, R. A. (2007). United Nations Politics: International Organization in a Divided World. New York, New York. Pearson.

Weiss, T. (2015). The United Nations: before, during and after 1945. International Affairs, Vol. 91, No. 6, pages 1221-1235.

Weiss, T. G., Forsythe, D. P., Coate, R. A., & Pease, K. K. (2014). The United Nations and Changing World Politics. New York, New York. Westview Press.

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