Kofi Annan - Center of the Storm


1941: FDR and Churchill call for "wider" intl. security system.
1944: Debate over United Nations
1945: UN Charter signed
1946: UN starts work in London.

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league of nations League of Nations formed Forerunner to the United Nations, the League of Nations was the first international organization created to maintain peace on the novel idea of "collective security." Formed in the wake of World War I, the League failed in its primary mission -- keeping the world at peace.

Learn more: PBS Woodrow Wilson
Wilson's Fourteen Points called for the creation of a League of Nations.
World War II starts with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. By its end in 1945, the war will have killed an estimated 61 million people in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Learn more: PBS Guts and Glory
Experience D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, the two biggest battles in World War II.
atlantic charter meeting Churchill and Roosevelt sign Atlantic Charter calling for "wider and permanent system of general security." Long before victory in World War II, Allied leaders seized upon the idea of establishing an international organization dedicated to maintaining peace and security. The Atlantic Charter, so- named because it was drawn up on a cruiser off the Canadian coastline, was the first open statement of goals for the post-war world. In it, Churchill and Roosevelt called for "the establishment of a wider and more permanent system of general security."

Learn more: PBS The Presidents: FDR
Read the full text of the Atlantic Charter.
Coined by FDR, the name "United Nations" is first used. Less than a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, the 26 countries fighting against Germany, Japan and Italy signed the "Declaration of the United Nations," which elaborated on the principles of general security set forth in the Atlantic Charter.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are created. Meeting in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, politicians and economists sign the treaties creating the two financial institutions and lay down a framework for the post-war financial system. Though they are based in Washington, D.C. and dominated by their major shareholder, the U.S., the World Bank and IMF are technically still part of the UN system. Neither institution allows UN involvement in its budget, nor has strong formal ties with any UN organ.
Dumbarton Oaks Conference Dumbarton Oaks Conference lays foundation for future UN. In a Washington mansion, representatives of the countries FDR called the "Four Policemen" -- the Soviet Union, China, the UK and the U.S. (later five with the addition of France) -- drew up the first true blueprint for a working United Nations. A Security Council of 10 rotating and five permanent members with veto power would be charged with the special task of keeping the peace and allowed to use "any means necessary" to stop aggression. All nation members would have voting power in the General Assembly, which approved budgets and debated international issues. Other basic UN organs would include a secretariat of civil servants headed by a Secretary-General, an economic and social council and an international court of justice.

The two thorny issues that lingered were left to be decided at Yalta.

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