Today in Legal History: Truman Signs United Nations Charter

On August 8, 1945, President Truman signed the United Nations Charter. The United Nations was formed after WWII in an attempt to maintain international peace and security and to achieve cooperation among nations on economic, social, and humanitarian issues. Its predecessor was the League of Nations, formed during WWI and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles. It attempted to maintain international peace and security; however, the League of Nations activities ceased after it failed to prevent WWII.

The United Nations consists of two main bodies: the General Assembly, which includes all member nations, and the Security Council. The five victors from WWII, China, Great Britain, United States, France, and Russia make up the permanent members of the Security Council, along with ten other countries elected by the General Assembly that serve two-year terms. There are nearly 200 member nations of the United Nations today.

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