THE U.N. AT 50: WHO NEEDS IT?

IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS THE light. At a time when much of the world still huddled under blackouts, the crystalline blaze of San Francisco after dark looked like the very kingdom of heaven. This spectacle greeting the emissaries of 51 countries in April 1945 was an inspiration, for their long journeys to California had a transcendent purpose. Even as Soviet troops were massing on the outskirts of Berlin, even as American and Japanese forces were suffering epic losses in their closing battles, the delegations gathered by the Golden Gate to ordain an end to war for all time.

Never again...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!