The History Of The United Nations Charter

President Truman examining the United Nations Charter on July 12, 1945. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

On October 24, 1945, the United Nations Charter, which was adopted and signed earlier that year, officially came into existence, ready to be enforced. Previously, the League of Nations was established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles as an international peacekeeping organization, which successfully resolved a dispute between Iraq and Turkey in 1926 and another between Colombia and Peru in the 1930s, but many countries refused to join, including the United States, so it failed to prevent the outbreak of World War II. The United Kingdom soon became home to nine separate exiled governments due to the Axis Powers' takeover of Europe.

President Roosevelt's Proposal

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had recognized the weaknesses of the League of Nations but, with another world war in play, observed the need for an international organization to maintain peace. He met with U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill for the first time off the coast of Newfoundland in August 1941 before the United States had entered the war, and despite being neutral at the time, the U.S. joined Britain in declaring the Atlantic Charter to replace the struggling League of Nations. It was during this secret meeting that Roosevelt suggested to Churchill the name "United Nations."