The first organization of countries was the League of Nations, which was founded in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles. Its main goal was “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security,” but just a few years after its founding, World War II broke out. The Allies proposed establishing a new international body to maintain peace.

One night when Winston Churchill was bathing, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was wheeled into Churchill’s bathroom to announce his thoughts on the name of the group. They decided they did not like “alliance” and instead preferred “United Nations.” The name was made official on January 1, 1942, when 26 of the Allied nations signed the Declaration by the United Nations.

Over the next few years, many of the United Nations delegates discussed the future of the organization. “The Big Three” (The United States, Britain, and the USSR) decided to hold a United Nations founding conference (the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco) in April 1945 and every country that had adhered to the 1942 Declaration was invited. Then, on October 24, the final Charter of the United Nations went into effect.

Here are some interesting facts about the United Nations:

  • Money donated by John D. Rockefeller purchased the land where the United Nations headquarters is located today.
  • The United Nations has its own post office and postage stamp.
  • Its logo was first designed on a lapel pin by Donal McLaughlin, an American architect.