A Brief History of United Nations Peacekeeping, 1945–87



The United Nations was founded in the period immediately following the Second World War. The swiftness with which the new international organization was established owed much to a considerable amount of planning and lobbying by private groups particularly in the United States prior to the end of the war. In addition, and partly as a result of that pressure, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the leaders of the other Allied powers had signed three documents which proved crucial to a gathering momentum toward the creation of a new international organization. In August 1941, aboard a ship off the coast of Newfoundland, Roosevelt and Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter, where they put forward the principle of the establishment of a ‘wider and permanent system of general security’.1 In January 1942, twenty-six countries allied against the Axis powers signed the Declaration of United Nations. This was the first time the term ‘United Nations’ was used, and the document affirmed the principles set out in the Atlantic Charter. Finally, on 30 October 1943, leaders of the Soviet Union, China, Britain, and the United States signed the Moscow Declaration iterating the principle of establishing an international organization which would focus on the maintenance of international peace and security.


Security Council Dormant Period Informal Consultation International Peace British Prime Minister 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
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    The total number of participating states does not include Poland because it did not participate in the UNCIO, although it subsequently signed the Charter as a founding state.Google Scholar
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    The Gulf War and the protection of Kurds in Northern Iraq, the establishment of the humanitarian mission in Bosnia followed by the establishment of the mission in Somalia are all examples of shifts in how we understand the principle of sovereignty. For further discussion, see Chopra and Weiss, 1992; Weiss and Campbell, 1991; Formuth, 1993; Camilleri and Falk, 1992.Google Scholar
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    G.L. Sherry (1990), ‘The United Nations reborn: conflict control in the post-cold war world’, Critical Issues, No. 2, New York: Council on Foreign Relations, pp. 7–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© A. B. Fetherston 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peace Research CentreThe Australian National UniversityAustralia

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