Historydraft LogoHistorydraft Logo HistorydraftbetaHistorydraft Logo Historydraftbeta

  • Geneva, Switzerland
    Tuesday Feb 17, 1863

    International Committee of the Red Cross

    Geneva, Switzerland
    Tuesday Feb 17, 1863

    In the century prior to the UN's creation, several international treaty organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross were formed to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife.




  • Sarajevo, Kingdom of Serbia (Present-Day in Bosnia and Herzegovina)
    Sunday Jun 28, 1914

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassination

    Sarajevo, Kingdom of Serbia (Present-Day in Bosnia and Herzegovina)
    Sunday Jun 28, 1914

    In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. As more and more young men were sent down into the trenches, influential voices in the United States and Britain began calling for the establishment of a permanent international body to maintain peace in the postwar world.




  • U.S.
    1918

    14-point proposal to end the war

    U.S.
    1918

    President Woodrow Wilson became a vocal advocate of this concept, and in 1918 he included a sketch of the international body in his 14-point proposal to end the war.




  • France
    Monday Nov 11, 1918

    Armistice of 11 November 1918

    France
    Monday Nov 11, 1918

    In November 1918, the Central Powers agreed to an armistice to halt the killing in World War I.




  • Paris, France
    Saturday Jan 18, 1919

    Paris Peace Conference

    Paris, France
    Saturday Jan 18, 1919

    Two months later, the Allies met with Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles to hammer out formal peace terms.




  • Palace of Versailles, Paris, France
    Saturday Jun 28, 1919

    Treaty of Versailles was signed

    Palace of Versailles, Paris, France
    Saturday Jun 28, 1919

    The League of Nations was approved, and in the summer of 1919, Wilson presented the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations to the US Senate for ratification.




  • Geneva, Switzerland
    Saturday Jan 10, 1920

    League of Nations

    Geneva, Switzerland
    Saturday Jan 10, 1920

    On 10 January 1920, the League of Nations formally came into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, ratified by 42 nations in 1919, took effect.


  • Poland (and then Europe)
    Friday Sep 01, 1939

    World War II was broke up

    Poland (and then Europe)
    Friday Sep 01, 1939

    World War II was broke up.


  • Geneva, Switzerland
    1939

    Empty headquarters

    Geneva, Switzerland
    1939

    When war broke out in 1939, the League closed down and its headquarters in Geneva remained empty throughout the war.


  • Washington D.C., U.S.
    Monday Dec 29, 1941

    Four Policemen

    Washington D.C., U.S.
    Monday Dec 29, 1941

    The text of the "Declaration by United Nations" was drafted at the White House on 29 December 1941, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins. It incorporated Soviet suggestions but left no role for France. "Four Policemen" was coined to refer to four major Allied countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China, which emerged in the Declaration by the United Nations.


  • U.S.
    Thursday Jan 01, 1942

    United Nations Declaration

    U.S.
    Thursday Jan 01, 1942

    "On New Year's Day 1942, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, Maxim Litvinov, of the USSR, and T. V. Soong, of China, signed a short document which later came to be known as the United Nations Declaration, and the next day the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their signatures". A JOINT DECLARATION BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, CHINA, AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, CANADA, COSTA RICA, CUBA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, GREECE, GUATEMALA, HAITI, HONDURAS, INDIA, LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NORWAY, PANAMA, POLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, YUGOSLAVIA The Governments signatory hereto, Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Great Britain dated August 14, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter, Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world, DECLARE: Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents with which such government is at war. Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies. The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism. The Washington Conference 1941–1942


  • Washington D.C., U.S.
    Friday Sep 22, 1944

    Dumbarton Oaks Conference

    Washington D.C., U.S.
    Friday Sep 22, 1944

    The UN was formulated and negotiated among the delegations from the Allied Big Four (the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China) at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference from 21 September 1944 to 7 October 1944 and they agreed on the aims, structure and functioning of the UN.


  • San Francisco, California, U.S.
    Wednesday Apr 25, 1945

    United Nations Conference on International Organization

    San Francisco, California, U.S.
    Wednesday Apr 25, 1945

    After months of planning, the UN Conference on International Organization opened in San Francisco, 25 April 1945, attended by 50 governments and a number of non-governmental organizations involved in drafting the UN Charter.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 24, 1945

    The UN officially came into existence

    U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 24, 1945

    The UN officially came into existence 24 October 1945, upon ratification of the Charter by the five permanent members of the Security Council—France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the UK, and the US—and by a majority of the other 46 signatories.


  • New York City, New York, U.S.
    1945

    Organs

    New York City, New York, U.S.
    1945

    The UN system is based on five principal organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat. A sixth principal organ, the Trusteeship Council, suspended operations on 1 November 1994, upon the independence of Palau, the last remaining UN trustee territory.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    Thursday Jan 10, 1946

    First meetings of the General Assembly

    London, England, United Kingdom
    Thursday Jan 10, 1946

    The first meetings of the General Assembly, with 51 nations represented, and the Security Council took place in Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London beginning on 10 January 1946. Debates began at once covering topical issues including the presence of Russian troops in Iranian Azerbaijan, Great Britain's forces in Greece and within days the first veto was cast.


  • Geneva, Switzerland
    Thursday Apr 18, 1946

    Final meeting of the League of Nations

    Geneva, Switzerland
    Thursday Apr 18, 1946

    The final meeting of the League of Nations took place on 18 April 1946 in Geneva.


  • U.S.
    Saturday Nov 29, 1947

    General Assembly approved a resolution to partition Palestine

    U.S.
    Saturday Nov 29, 1947

    On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly approved a resolution to partition Palestine, approving the creation of the state of Israel. Two years later, Ralph Bunche, a UN official, negotiated an armistice to the resulting conflict.


  • New York City, New York, U.S.
    Tuesday Sep 14, 1948

    Headquarters

    New York City, New York, U.S.
    Tuesday Sep 14, 1948

    The General Assembly selected New York City as the site for the headquarters of the UN, construction began on 14 September 1948 and the facility was completed on 9 October 1952. Its site—like UN headquarters buildings in Geneva, Vienna, and Nairobi—is designated as international territory. The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, was elected as the first UN Secretary-General.


  • Paris, France
    Friday Dec 10, 1948

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Paris, France
    Friday Dec 10, 1948

    In 1948, the General Assembly adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by a committee headed by American diplomat and activist Eleanor Roosevelt, and including the French lawyer René Cassin. The document proclaims basic civil, political, and economic rights common to all human beings, though its effectiveness towards achieving these ends has been disputed since its drafting.


  • U.S.
    Friday Jul 07, 1950

    Security Council resolution

    U.S.
    Friday Jul 07, 1950

    Though the UN's primary mandate was peacekeeping, the division between the US and USSR often paralyzed the organization, generally allowing it to intervene only in conflicts distant from the Cold War. Two notable exceptions were a Security Council resolution on 7 July 1950 authorizing a US-led coalition to repel the North Korean invasion of South Korea, passed in the absence of the USSR, and the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement on 27 July 1953.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday Nov 07, 1956

    UN peacekeeping force was established to end the Suez Crisis

    U.S.
    Wednesday Nov 07, 1956

    On 7 November 1956, the first UN peacekeeping force was established to end the Suez Crisis; however, the UN was unable to intervene against the USSR's simultaneous invasion of Hungary following that country's revolution.


  • Congo
    Thursday Jul 14, 1960

    UN established United Nations Operation in the Congo

    Congo
    Thursday Jul 14, 1960

    On 14 July 1960, the UN established United Nations Operation in the Congo (UNOC), the largest military force of its early decades, to bring order to the breakaway State of Katanga, restoring it to the control of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by 11 May 1964.


  • Ndola, Northern Rhodesia, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Ndola, Zambia)
    Tuesday Sep 19, 1961

    Dag Hammarskjöld death

    Ndola, Northern Rhodesia, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Ndola, Zambia)
    Tuesday Sep 19, 1961

    While traveling to meet rebel leader Moise Tshombe during the conflict, Dag Hammarskjöld, often named as one of the UN's most effective Secretaries-General, died in a plane crash; months later he was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


  • Cyprus
    1964

    UN's longest-running peacekeeping missions

    Cyprus
    1964

    In 1964, Hammarskjöld's successor, U Thant, deployed the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, which would become one of the UN's longest-running peacekeeping missions.


  • U.S.
    Monday Oct 25, 1971

    Chinese seat on the Security Council

    U.S.
    Monday Oct 25, 1971

    With the spread of decolonization in the 1960s, the organization's membership saw an influx of newly independent nations. In 1960 alone, 17 new states joined the UN, 16 of them from Africa. On 25 October 1971, with opposition from the United States, but with the support of many Third World nations, the mainland, communist People's Republic of China was given the Chinese seat on the Security Council in place of the Republic of China that occupied Taiwan; the vote was widely seen as a sign of waning US influence in the organization.


  • U.S.
    Monday Nov 10, 1975

    United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379

    U.S.
    Monday Nov 10, 1975

    Third World nations organized into the Group of 77 coalition under the leadership of Algeria, which briefly became a dominant power at the UN. On 10 November 1975, a bloc comprising the USSR and Third World nations passed a resolution, over the strenuous US and Israeli opposition, declaring Zionism to be racism; the resolution was repealed on 16 December 1991, shortly after the end of the Cold War.


  • Paris, France
    1984

    Ronald Reagan withdrew his nation's funding from (UNESCO)

    Paris, France
    1984

    In 1984, US President Ronald Reagan, withdrew his nation's funding from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) over allegations of mismanagement, followed by the UK and Singapore.


  • Kuwait
    1991

    UN authorized a US-led coalition that repulsed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait

    Kuwait
    1991

    In 1991, the UN authorized a US-led coalition that repulsed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.


  • Sierra Leone
    Saturday Mar 23, 1991

    Sierra Leone Civil War

    Sierra Leone
    Saturday Mar 23, 1991

    The UN mission in the Sierra Leone Civil War of 1991–2002 was supplemented by British Royal Marines.


  • U.S.
    1992

    Reducing the size of the organization somewhat

    U.S.
    1992

    Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General from 1992 to 1996, initiated a reform of the Secretariat, reducing the size of the organization somewhat.


  • U.S.
    1993

    United Nations Commission on Human Rights was formed

    U.S.
    1993

    The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was formed in 1993 to oversee human rights issues for the UN, following the recommendation of that year's World Conference on Human Rights. Jacques Fomerand, a scholar of the UN, describes this organization's mandate as "broad and vague", with only "meager" resources to carry it out.


  • Rwanda
    1994

    UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda failed to intervene in the Rwandan genocide

    Rwanda
    1994

    In 1994, the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda failed to intervene in the Rwandan genocide amid indecision in the Security Council.


  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Mar, 1995

    Worldwide ridicule

    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Mar, 1995

    UN mission to Bosnia faced "worldwide ridicule" for its indecisive and confused mission in the face of ethnic cleansing.


  • Somalia
    1995

    UN mission in Somalia was widely viewed as a failure

    Somalia
    1995

    The UN mission in Somalia was widely viewed as a failure after the US withdrawal following casualties in the Battle of Mogadishu.


  • U.S.
    1997

    Further management reforms

    U.S.
    1997

    Kofi Annan (1997–2006), initiated further management reforms in the face of threats from the US to withhold its UN dues.


  • New York City, New York, U.S.
    Wednesday Sep 06, 2000

    Millennium Summit

    New York City, New York, U.S.
    Wednesday Sep 06, 2000

    The Millennium Summit was held in 2000 to discuss the UN's role in the 21st century. The three-day meeting was the largest gathering of world leaders in history and culminated in the adoption by all member states of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a commitment to achieve international development in areas such as poverty reduction, gender equality, and public health. Progress towards these goals, which were to be met by 2015, was ultimately uneven.


  • Afghanistan
    2001

    War in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan
    2001

    The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was overseen by NATO.


  • Iraq
    Saturday Mar 29, 2003

    United States invaded Iraq

    Iraq
    Saturday Mar 29, 2003

    In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq despite failing to pass a UN Security Council resolution for authorization, prompting a new round of questioning of the organization's effectiveness.


  • New York City, New York, U.S.
    Wednesday Sep 14, 2005

    2005 World Summit

    New York City, New York, U.S.
    Wednesday Sep 14, 2005

    The 2005 World Summit reaffirmed the UN's focus on promoting development, peacekeeping, human rights, and global security.


  • Geneva, Switzerland
    Wednesday Mar 15, 2006

    Human Rights Council

    Geneva, Switzerland
    Wednesday Mar 15, 2006

    In 2006, "The United Nations Commission on Human Rights" was replaced by a Human Rights Council consisting of 47 nations.


  • U.S.
    2010s

    UN intervened with peacekeepers in crises

    U.S.
    2010s

    Under the eighth Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the UN intervened with peacekeepers in crises such as the War in Darfur in Sudan and the Kivu conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sent observers and chemical weapons inspectors to the Syrian Civil War.


  • Haiti
    2010

    Worst loss of life in its history

    Haiti
    2010

    In 2010, the organization suffered the worst loss of life in its history, when 101 personnel died in the Haiti earthquake.


  • U.S.
    2013

    Systemic failure

    U.S.
    2013

    In 2013, an internal review of UN actions in the final battles of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009 concluded that the organization had suffered "systemic failure".


  • New York City, New York, U.S.
    2015

    Sustainable Development Goals

    New York City, New York, U.S.
    2015

    The Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.


  • U.S.
    2016

    First public debate between candidates for Secretary-General

    U.S.
    2016

    In an effort to enhance transparency, in 2016 the organization held its first public debate between candidates for Secretary-General.


  • New York City, New York, U.S.
    Sunday Jan 01, 2017

    Ninth Secretary-General

    New York City, New York, U.S.
    Sunday Jan 01, 2017

    On 1 January 2017, Portuguese diplomat António Guterres, who previously served as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, became the ninth Secretary-General. Guterres has highlighted several key goals for his administration, including an emphasis on diplomacy for preventing conflicts, more effective peacekeeping efforts, and streamlining the organization to be more responsive and versatile to global needs.


<