The League of Nations existed from 1920 to 1946. Former President Woodrow Wilson wanted something that would involve everyone internationally to promote peace. His idea formed the basis of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which were the twenty-six articles that operated as the rules of the League. It consisted of an Assembly, a Council and a Secretariat. The Assembly only met once a year it was composed of three representatives for each member state and each state no matter how big it was had one vote.

The Council met at least three times a year was made up of the four great powers which were Britain, France, Italy and Japan. There duty was to cope with emergencies and the decisions that they made were unanimous, they also dealt with the reduction of armaments and political disputes. The Secretariat was based upon a Secretary General and civil servants it was the administrative branch of the League of Nations. Their headquarters were based at Geneva in Switzerland. The International Court of justice consisted of fifteen judges from fifteen different places in the world.

They were involved in legal disputes and their headquarters were at The Hague in the Netherlands. The United Nations under its charter was to “maintain international peace and security, by developing friendly relations among nations”. The first attempt to establish the United Nations was made in the Atlantic Charter in 1941 and signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. The United Nations has a General Assembly which meets regularly in the year. The General Assembly also establishes agencies and programmes to carry out its recommendations.

The Security Council is the part of the United Nations which maintains peace. It has fifteen members of which five are main members. These are Britain, France, America, China and Russia all these countries have been issued permanent seats. The Secretariat carries out all the policies and programmes of the United Nations, the body is run by the Secretary General. The Trusteeship Council was responsible for supervising territories under United Nations control. The Economic and Social Council dealt with overseas disputes relating to health and education, they also supervised the United Nations special agencies.

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When the United Nations formed they made sure that they’d learnt from their previous mistakes. The General Assembly meets regularly in a year rather than once a year. They introduced the power of Veto as a safeguard, to allow decisions to be overruled. This was on Russia’s behalf because they felt out -numbered because they were the only permanent Communist country. They built and maintained positive and friendly relations internationally based upon equal rights and self-determination of peoples. They made it so that when voting only a majority is needed not two thirds.

They made sure that they had more Councils which specialised in different problems and areas. There were many changes although some things stayed the same for example the International Court of Justice and the International Labour Organisation. The United Nations did have some problems to face. The deteriorating relationship between the two major powers was a conundrum for the United Nations and to make things worse, they were both permanent members. They didn’t have a single military force; the United Nations had to depend on different countries for security, which was the case in the Korean War.

The first time that the United Nations troops were called into action was in Korea. The majority of troops in Korea were American, controversy arose and many people considered the Korean War as a conflict between Russia and America. This is because the Russians believed that America controlled the United Nations. This was a significant problem because they were both members of the United Nations. We know that the United Nations failed to solve the encounter because Korea remains divided to this day. Another dilemma that the United Nations faced was the Suez Crisis in 1956 when Israel invaded Egypt.

The United Nations advised both countries to retreat ten miles either side of the canal, unfortunately Egypt ignored the United Nations – this made the United Nations look weak. The United Nations Security Council condemned Egypt and Britain and France sent troops in. In response to this the General Assembly stepped in and condemned Britain and France. Eventually both governments ordered a ceasefire, the United Nations agencies evacuated the area and Israel finally withdrew. There are even more disputes which the United Nations have dealt with, for example the break-up of Yugoslavia.

United Nation troops infiltrated Yugoslavia and ordered a ceasefire in January 1992. The Balkans has been corrupted for a long time, mainly because there is a mixture of nationalities, cultures and religion. United Nation Troops have battled and are still there to this day. The Gulf War involved twenty eight nations led by America against Iraq. In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait and the Security Council commanded Iraq to withdraw. In 1991 Iraq failed to withdraw so 500,000 allied naval, ground and air force troops set about liberating Kuwait.

When April 1991 came about the war was over. To conclude we have seen the work of the United Nations and they are substantially more successful than the League of Nations as proved because they are still working today. The United Nations has grown from strength to strength and the Cold War ending in 1989 has meant better affiliations. From here the United Nations can go on to try and achieve peace. Capitalists and Communists are now working side by side, together; the aspiration of World Peace may become a reality.


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