The United Nations (1945)
World War II had raged from 1939 to 1945, and as the end drew near, cities throughout Europe and Asia lay in smoldering ruins. Millions of people were dead, millions more were homeless or starving. Russian forces were closing in on the remnants of German resistance in Germany’s bombed-out capital of Berlin. In the Pacific, US Marines were still battling entrenched Japanese forces on such islands as Okinawa.In April 1945, delegates from fifty countries met in San Francisco full of optimism and hope. The goal of the United Nations Conference on International Organization was to fashion an international body to promote peace and prevent future wars. The ideals of the organization were stated in the preamble to its proposed charter: "We the peoples of the United Nations are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”
The Charter of the new United Nations organization went into effect on October 24, 1945, a date that is celebrated each year as United Nations Day.