WHEN ROOSEVELT AND CHURCHILL MET secretly at sea in 1941, months before the U.S. entered World War II, the two leaders laid out an 8-point peace plan
that provided the foundation for the United Nations. Here are some articles from the TIME archive that will help you know how the U.N. was founded to prevent future wars and why the atom bomb changed the hopes for that ideal even before the U.N. charter was signed:
President Roosevelt ... had been gone from Washington 13 days. For most of that time his whereabouts had been unknown to his country. He brought back his half of the unknown fruits of a conference that had no parallel. The U.S., though not at war, had conferred through the head of its Government with Great Britain, a nation at war, on how Nazi Germany was to be defeated, had further agreed on 'certain common principles' as a basis for a future peace, a better world.
From Home from the Sea
Aug. 25, 1941
A new phrase, the United Nations, slipped into the world's vocabulary. Editorial writers and military commentators used it glibly. And last week they began to wonder what, exactly, it meant—that pact by which 26 nations bound themselves fortnight ago not to make a separate peace with their Axis enemies.
From The United Nations
Jan. 19, 1942
Out of the gleaming gold-white conference room in Moscow's Spiridonovka House this week came news that will shape the course of World War II and the world after; news that was bitter-black for the Axis, but almost incredibly bright for the United Nations. That news, in its most significant essence, was simply that the U.S., Great Britain and the Soviet Union are fighting the same war, and that they are fighting it to win the same peace
From Shape of Victory
Nov. 8, 1943
A general international organization, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, and open to membership by all such states, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security, will be established at the earliest practicable date.
From The Moscow Agreement
Nov. 8, 1943
Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin declared at Teheran:...We recognize fully the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the United Nations to make a peace which will command the good will of the world and banish war for many generations. We have surveyed the problems of the future. We shall seek the cooperation of all nations, large and small, whose people are dedicated to the elimination of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance. We will welcome them as they may choose to come into a world family of democratic nations.
From "In Fact, In Spirit, In Purpose"
Dec. 13, 1943
Franklin Roosevelt, obviously sniffing the question with enjoyment, lapsed into his half-confidential, half-professorial manner. Well, he said, you know we are working toward a union of the United Nations, toward the prevention, if we can help it, of another war....On Friday the President added that he was as much in favor of U.S. sovereignty as he had ever been; as much as anyone in the room. Franklin Roosevelt was not going to yield any U.S. sovereignty to any international organization.
From The Great Blueprint
Jun. 12, 1944
Digital Edition (See p. 11)
What kind of peace organization did the Big Four nations want? And —what kind of peace could they agree on? The U.S. plan was based on Franklin Roosevelt's Great Blueprint, of which the world got a quick glimpse three months ago (TIME, June 12). This called for a world assembly of all peace-loving nations; a world council, dominated by the Big Four but giving some representation to small nations; and a world court.
From At Dumbarton Oaks
Aug. 28, 1944
The sorest point settled at Yalta was the dispute over voting procedure in the postwar world Security Council. Joseph Stalin did not budge an inch from his insistence that any one of the Big Powers must be able to veto world action against itself or against any other country accused of aggression.
From The Yalta Doctrine
Feb. 26, 1945
This week, as a supplement to its May issue, FORTUNE publishes an analysis of Dumbarton Oaks by a group of TIME, LIFE and FORTUNE editors. The gist: ...The American people are in favor of joining a world organization to keep the peace. So are we. The American people are also in favor of maintaining, for many years, a naval and military establishment at least as powerful as that of any other nation. Only if these two propositions are put together is it possible to talk sensibly and honestly about the Dumbarton Oaks proposals.
From Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco
Apr. 30, 1945
In the San Francisco power scale, there was a drop from the U.S. and Russia to Britain; a bigger one to France and China; another to Canada, Australia and the other Middle Powers, and then an enormous drop from them to some 30 small states—the majority. These had scarcely any power, individually or collectively. The discrepancy was so great that the classic House-Senate compromise at Philadelphia offered no solution for the Big v. Little issue in world organization.
From Why It Is So Tough
Jun. 4, 1945
Only 25% of the San Francisco charter was picked up from the Big Powers' original Dumbarton Oaks draft. That 25% was still the backbone of the charter and of the new United Nations organization. But the changes were many and important. Mostly they came in stating the purposes and principles of the organization and in the 'curative' functions designed to deal with the underlying causes of war.
From From Where to Where?
Jul. 9, 1945
The race had been won, the weapon had been used by those on whom civilization could best hope to depend; but the demonstration of power against living creatures instead of dead matter created a bottomless wound in the living conscience of the race. The rational mind had won the most Promethean of its conquests over nature, and had put into the hands of common man the fire and force of the sun itself.
From The Bomb
Aug. 20, 1945
The new political era that began at Hiroshima would break in two parts: 1) the years when the bomb still remained the exclusive possession of three close allies, the U.S., Britain and Canada; 2) the years after other nations developed it.
Aug. 20, 1945
That frail repository of hope, the United Nations Organization, had faded into the background while worry over the atomic bomb mounted. Last week U.N.O. was dragged from its nursery and looked at in the glare of new responsibilities. It did not measure up; it never had. That conclusion left two unanswered questions: 1) could U.N.O. ever grow into a force strong enough to bring order to a lawless world? 2) if not, what substitute was feasible?
From Perilous Fission
Oct. 29, 1945
Dr. Albert Einstein had his say about the atomic bomb last week.... 'As long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power, war is inevitable.'
From Einstein on Politics
Nov. 5, 1945
A handful of reporters in the State Department's press room took cursory notes. Photographers snapped a few pictures. The Secretary of State signed a bulky, historic document. In two minutes it was all over, and the United Nations Organization was a legal reality.
From Memorable Day
Nov. 5, 1945