According to historians, twentieth century was an important era in mankind’s development. Two international organizations were established to achieve peace and security for humans who lived in various nations with different socio-cultural traits. All important countries became the member nations of these organizations so that a world society could be organized under a world association. Two decades (1920-1939) in to its initiation, the League of Nations set up a background for a healthier association, the United Nations Organization. The second half of the twentieth century was a defining period for this organization because of its enormous participation in the world affairs through various branches and specialized agencies. So the study about United Nations has contemporary relevance as it represents the modern era of human society. Today U N is recognized for its contributions towards the maintenance of world peace after the Second World War.
During the time of Second World War, allied powers thought about a new international organization to solve the drawbacks of the League of Nations. In the early stages League of Nations achieved its objectives but gradually failed to maintain international peace and security. The aggressive policies of Germany, Italy and Japan wrote the failure of this first ever significant international organization. Attack of Germany over the territories of Poland on 1st September 1939 was the immediate cause of the Second World War. The Atlantic Charter of 1941signed between the then U S President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was the first step towards the establishment of United Nations. “On 1 January 1942, representatives of 26 Allied nations fighting against the Axis Powers met in Washington, D.C. to pledge their support for the Atlantic Charter by signing the “Declaration by United Nations” (Milestones in United nations history: A selective chronology, n.d, para.3). The Charter of the United Nations Organization was signed by fifty nations at San Francisco in USA on 26 June 1945. The Charter got officially enacted on twenty forth October 1945 and is still viewed as the U N Day.
An important objective of the United Nations Organization is the maintenance of international peace and security and to keep in check the outbreak of a third world war. “The United Nations is a voluntary association of member states – not a world government, which can readily force cooperation” (Dewater, 2005, para.3). But the period after the Second World War was different according to the newly established organization because of the changed circumstances that often defeated the call for co-operation. A split originated among the allied powers due to the ideological differences, especially between the USA and the former Soviet Union. These powers are the two permanent members of the Security Council of the U N. Security council is the strongest organ of the organization; in it, permanent members enjoy veto power to check any actions of the U N. At the same time general assembly has no such special power in spite of its immensity. Ideological differences led to cold war, a war without direct arm struggle, with USA and Russia interfering across the world matters in the name of their friends and ideology. However, UN settled various struggles through strategic actions. During the time of Korean War (1950-1953), the UN passed resolution against aggressive North Korea and sent a peace keeping force including various nations. The Suez Canal crisis got solved with the support of two Super Powers, USA and USSR. A huge tension was on the time of Cuban Missile Crisis, but it got solved by the positive attitudes of the leaders of the super powers.
A bi-polar world order divided the world nations under the leadership of the super powers. A number of world nations joined the power camps; this split was a challenge before the U N. Civil wars in Asian-African countries became a serious threat to the international peace and security due to the participation of USA and Russia. Many peace keeping missions were sent to African and Asian nations, some failed but these failures were not seen as the failure of the U N. “Some UN peacekeeping operations are generally regarded as a success, e.g. El Salvador, Sierra Leone and Mozambique. Other missions are seen as obvious failures, such as Rwanda and Somalia” (Factors for success and failure of UN peacekeeping operations, n.d, para.1). Political conditions of the nations were the causes of the failure of these missions. The disintegration of USSR in 1990 softened the tensions of the UN and the world community. Although in the Gulf and Yugoslavia, the UN kept facing challenges with existing struggles and ethnic problems. However, United Nations successfully led the people of the twentieth century away from the tensions of a third world war. Presently, the twenty first century is continuously witnessing serious challenges from cross-border terrorism, poverty, economic depression etc which are UN’s primary responsibility as of now.
Therefore, the United Nations is actively into resurrecting peaceful international affairs without violence and tensions. Principal organs of the U N have some drawbacks which affected the whole functioning of this global mission. The threat of a third world war was kept away from the human community which indeed is a big success from the UN. So the primary objective of the organization can be considered as a successful one.
Dewater, J. V. (2005). The United nations success story. Signon Sandiego.com. Web.
Factors for success and failure of UN peacekeeping operations. (n.d). 2010. Web.
Milestones in United nations history: A selective chronology. (n.d.). 2010. Web.