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Today in History: January 1, 1942, The United Nations is created
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issue a declaration, signed by representatives of 26 countries, called the “United Nations.” The signatories of the declaration vowed to create an international postwar peacekeeping organization.
During December 1941, Roosevelt devised the name “United Nations” for the Allies of World War II, and the Declaration by United Nations, on 1 January 1942, was the basis of the modern UN. The term United Nations became synonymous during the war with the Allies and was considered to be the formal name that they were fighting under. The text of the declaration affirmed the signatories’ perspective
“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”.
The principle of “complete victory” established an early precedent for the Allied policy of obtaining the Axis’ powers’ “unconditional surrender”. The defeat of “Hitlerism” constituted the overarching objective, and represented a common Allied perspective that the totalitarian militarist regimes ruling Germany, Italy, and Japan were indistinguishable. The declaration, furthermore, “upheld the Wilsonian principles of self determination,” thus linking U.S. war aims in both world wars.