|The name "United
Nations", coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
was first used in the "Declaration by United Nations" of 1
January 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26
nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against
the Axis Powers.
States first established international
organizations to cooperate on specific matters. The International
Telecommunication Union was founded in 1865 as the International
Telegraph Union, and the Universal Postal Union was established in 1874.
Both are now United Nations specialized agencies.
In 1899, the International Peace
Conference was held in The Hague to elaborate instruments for settling
crises peacefully, preventing wars and codifying rules of warfare. It
adopted the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International
Disputes and established the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which began
work in 1902.
The forerunner of the United Nations
was the League of Nations, an organization conceived in similar
circumstances during the first World War, and established in 1919 under
the Treaty of Versailles "to promote international cooperation and
to achieve peace and security." The International Labour
Organization was also created under the Treaty of Versailles as an
affiliated agency of the League. The League of Nations ceased its
activities after failing to prevent the Second World War.
In 1945, representatives of 50
countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on
International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. Those
delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the
representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the
United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States in August-October 1944.
The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50
countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed
it later and became one of the original 51 Member States.
The United Nations officially came
into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by
China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States
and by a majority of other signatories.
- United Nations Day
is celebrated on 24 October each year.