VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > K. World War II, 1939–1945 > 15. The Organization of Peace
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
15. The Organization of Peace
The League of Nations, formed at Versailles in 1919, failed to curb powerful aggressors or to protect its weaker members from attack. It was never a well-balanced, truly supranational league, and proved itself unfit to deal with economic problems or to enforce its decisions. When the Second World War opened in 1939, the League of Nations had lost almost all its prestige and influence.  1
The international anarchy, repudiation of treaties, acts of aggression, and final outbreak of a general war that marked the 1930s brought home to peaceful nations the need for an organization better adapted to adjust international tensions and disputes.  2
Three projects for international federation took form in the war years 1939–45. In Europe, Germany, Italy, and their satellite states forged an anti-Comintern, antidemocratic bloc that Adolf Hitler called his “New Order.” In Asia and the East Indies the Japanese extended their power over a widening area, which they termed a “Coprosperity Sphere” and in which they promulgated the doctrine of Asia for the Asians. Both the German and the Japanese hegemony had contracted and finally collapsed in defeat by the summer of 1945.  3
The third international federation formed in the war years came to be known as the United Nations Organization. It was based ideologically upon the foundations of the Atlantic Charter (See Aug. 14); structurally upon the wartime solidarity of the “Big Three,” Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States; and financially upon the credits ($43 billion) made available by the lend-lease policy of the U.S. government to nations that opposed the Axis. The victory of the United Nations, achieved in large measure through the effective mobilization of world resources, left their leaders in a position to write the peace treaties.  4
1942, Jan. 1
Declaration by the United Nations at Washington to cooperate, on the basis of the Atlantic Charter, in employing their full forces against Germany, Italy, and Japan. The declaration was signed by the U.S., Great Britain, Soviet Russia, and 23 other nations at war. Subsequently 19 other nations adhered.  5
1943, Oct. 19–Nov. 1
Moscow conference of British, U.S., and Soviet foreign ministers, who agreed (China adhering) to establish an international organization for peace and security, to set up a European advisory commission on terms of German surrender, to separate Austria from Germany, and to destroy the Italian Fascist regime.  6
Nov. 9
The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was established at Washington. This international body was to aid countries subjugated by the Axis powers.  7
Nov. 22–26
Cairo conferences (Roosevelt, Churchill, Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) and Cairo Declaration on postwar treatment of Japan (Manchuria to be returned to China; Korea to be independent).  8
Nov. 28–Dec. 1
Tehran Conference (Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin): discussion of landing in France and of cooperation in the peace settlements. Agreement to set up a European Advisory Commission to study European problems.  9
Dec. 4–6
Second Cairo Conference: futile efforts of Roosevelt and Churchill to induce Turkey (President Inönü) to enter the war.  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.