International Governmental Organizations

Figure 1.--Both the League of Nations and the United Nations had intrnational health programs. The U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO) was a much greater effort. Many U.N. agencies have compiled controversial records. The WHO is almost universally admired for the work they have round the globe. One of the most valuable effirts hve been fostering immunization efforts in countries have limnited resources. As far as we know, the only resistance to this effort has come from fundamentalist Islamic groups. The Afghan Taliban have issued fatwas denouncing vaccination as an American ploy to sterilize Muslim people. Fundamentalit also believe that vaccination is an attempt to avert the will of Allah. Here we see mothers in an unidentified African country during 1989 bringing their babies for a WHO sponsored immunization program at a Government health center.

The idea of an international organization is a very modern concept. The International Committee of the Red cross was founded (1864). This created a precedent that was soon extended in other areas. The next international organization resulted from advances in technology. The International Telecommunication Union was founded to resolve issues concerning the transmission of telegrams across borders (1865). The Universal Postal Union was established (1874). Both are now United Nations specialized agencies. Within only a few decades,the issue of ending the sourage of war. The International Peace Conference was held in The Hague to create instruments for settling international disputes peacefully, preventing wars and codifying rules of warfare (1899). The Conference adopted the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes and established the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which began to function (1902). The best known internationl organizations or those formed and financed by governments. Governmnt funding gives governmental organizations the ability to build substantial organizations and take on major problems. The two most important are the League of Nations and the United Nations. The League was fonded after World War I (1919). The U.N. was founded after World War II (1945). The United Nations is a much more substantial and well-funded organization than the League. Many well know international organizations today are U.N. units. Some are League organizations taken on by the U.N., but many are new programs.

League of Nations

The League of Nations was the first international organization established oin the basis of collective security to preserve world peace. It was created by the Versailles and other peace treaties ending World War I. The unbrialded nationalism that had inflamed Europe in the early 20th century was widely seen as a major cause of World War I. The horendous losses in the War convinced many Europeans that there must never be another war. A League of Nations as proposed by President Wilson was seen as a way of preventing war in the future through a system of collective security. The Laeague was a culmination of other political thinkers who had lated the intelectual background, men like the duc de Sully and Immanuel Kant. There had also been the development of international organizations in the 19th century with more limited objectives. These included the International Telegraphic Union (1865) and the Universal Postal Union (1874). The Red Cross, the Hague Conferences, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (Hague Tribunal) were all organizations that before World War I were drawing nations together in an expanding web of international relations. President Wilson was unable to convince the American Senate to ratify the Versailles Peace Treaty which included a provision for the League as its leading provision. This weakened the League from the onset as did the exclusion of the new Soviet Union. The victorious Allied nations, Britain and France, during the 1930s refuse to insist on decisive action against Japanese militarists and Italian and German Fascism. Had the Allies acted decisely, World War II with all its horrors could have been prevented. Winston Churchill in political exile at the time came toi call World War II as the unecessary war because decissive action through the League could have prevented the War. [Churchill] President Roosevelt as a vice presidebtial candidate in 1920 had been a strong supporter of U.S. membership in the League. While this never occurred, the President stringly promoted the League's successor, the United Nations, although he died before the U.N charter was signed in 1945.

United Nations

The League of Nations failed in the face of totalitarian Fascist and Soviet aggression. Its successor was the United Nations which began to organize during World under the agesis of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The name 'United Nations' was chosen by President Roosevelt to differentiate it from the League of Nations. The name was first used in the 'Declaration by United Nations' (January 1, 1942) a few weeks after the United states entered Workld War II. Representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to pursue the war against the Axis powers weho launced the War in both Europe and Asia. (The Soviet Union haf joined the NAZIs in launching the War, but ws forced to swich sides when the NAZIs invaded.) Representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter (September 1945). The delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States (August-October 1944). The Charter was signed by the representatives of the 50 countries (June 26, 1945). Poland was not represented at the Conference, but signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States. The United Nations officially came into existence (October 24, 1945). This was when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. The great powers (Britain, China, France, soviet Union, and the United states) were given veto power in the Security Council. The Soviets wanted a vote in the General Assembly for each of its 16 constiuent republics. In the end it got three votes in the General Assembly (the extra two were for Beloyrusia and the Ukraine). One of the first U.N. agencies, actully created before the U.N.itself. was UNRRA. Another important U.N. agency working with children is United Nations International Emergency Children's Fund (UNICEF). It was one of the first projects of the newly created United Nations. The General Assembly created UNICEF (December 11, 1946). Its initial mission was to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries devastated by World War II. UNICEF proved so sucessful that the United Nations decided it was essential and made it a permanent part of the United Nations System (1953). Its name was shortened, but it has continued to be known by acronym based on this previous name because it was such a popular agency and the original acronym had become so well known. The United Nations, like the League of Nations, failed to live up to its unrealistic expectations. The Cold War made decisive action impossible. Action against Communist agression in Korea ws only possible because of a Soviet boycott. Another problem was the aceeptance of countries that do not live up to the U.N. Univeral Declaration of Human Rights (1948). The Arabs countries were very disturbe about passages on women. And the Soviet Union at the time was operating a vast Gulag with the very purpose of supressing human rights. And you have countries like Libya under Qadafi on the Human Rights Committee and Iran under the Mullahs on the Women's Rights Commision.


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Created: 9:37 PM 2/19/2018
Last updated: 9:37 PM 2/19/2018