The League of Nations founded in 1920 failed to avert World War II. On 1 January 1942, representatives from the 26 Allied states who fought against the Axis powers learnt their lesson and met in Washington, the United States, to sign the Declaration by United Nations which later came to be known as the United Nations Declaration. It was where the term “United Nations” first adopted. On 30 October 1943, the Soviet Union, Britain, the United States, and China advocated in the Moscow Declarations for the establishment of an international agency dedicated to the maintenance of international peace and security. On 25 April 1945, delegates from 50 countries gathered in San Francisco, the United States, to attend the United Nations Conference on International Organisation. On 24 October of the same year, the Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) took effect, marking the founding of the United Nations.
China, one of the founding members of the United Nations and one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, was entitled with the veto power over a proposed resolution concerning international security issues. All this proved that China succeeded in ranking among the “top five powers” in the world’s largest international organisation. China took an active part in the international trials against war criminals after World War II. In the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), also known as the “Tokyo Trial” or the “Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal” (held between May 1946 and November 1948), Japanese war criminals such as Tojo Hideki were sentenced to death. The year 1949 witnessed a change of political power in the Chinese mainland. On 25 October 1971, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 was passed, which recognised the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations”.
The League of Nations convening a conference in 1927. Founded in 1920, the League of Nations failed to avert World War II. A more powerful international organisation was needed to maintain world peace.
On 13 August 1941 on a warship, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston L. S. Churchill co-signed the Atlantic Charter, which was announced to the public the next day. The Charter, involving the purpose of the war against Germany and the peaceful settlement after the war, provided the basis for restoring the world order. Left: Roosevelt (left at front) and Churchill (right at front) during their meeting on the warship. Right: the final version of the Atlantic Charter modified by Churchill on 12 August 1941.
The 26 Allied countries including China signing the Declaration by United Nations in Washington, the United States, on 1 January 1942. It was when the term “United Nations” made its debut on the international stage.
Left: Fu Bingchang (傅秉常), the Chinese Ambassador to the Soviet Union (first from left), signing the Moscow Declarations together with the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States, and Britain in Moscow on 30 October 1943. Right: the Declaration of the Four Nations on General Security (or Four Power Declaration), with the signature of the four delegates. Ambassador Fu’s signature was at the bottom.
From 25 April to 25 June in 1945, a conference to produce a charter for the United Nations was held in San Francisco, the United States. The photo shows the opening ceremony of the conference. The UN Charter was passed at the conference and took effect on 24 October 1945, marking the official foundation of the United Nations.
The Chinese delegate Gu Weijun (also known as Wellington Koo, 顧維鈞) signing the UN Charter on 26 June 1945. China was one of the initiating and founding states of the United Nations.
The United Nations Security Council holding its first meeting in London, Britain, on 17 January 1946. China has been one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.
Standing on the podium, the American delegate James F. Byrnes turning to greet Guo Taiqi (郭泰祺), the delegate of the Republic of China, on the United Nations Paris Peace Conference on 10 October 1946. The conference was presided over by the Republic of China. In February 1946, Guo was appointed as the first delegate of the Republic of China to the United Nations and a permanent delegate to the Security Council.
Left: Japanese war criminals on trial in the IMTFE. Right: judges from different countries were sent to the tribunal to join in the trials. The second from the right is the Chinese delegate Mei Ru’ao (梅汝璈).
Left: Tojo Hideki , the General of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and the Prime Minister of Japan, was responsible for launching the Pacific War. The photo shows him on trial in the IMTFE. Right: Matsui Iwane, the General of the IJA and the Commander of the Japanese Central China Area Army, undergoing trial in the IMTFE. He was held accountable for the Nanjing Massacre (南京大屠殺). Both were sentenced to death.
Source of most photos used in this feature piece: Fotoe and misc. photo sources.