The formation of the United Nations was a lengthy and difficult political process, particularly for the United States. It began as The League of Nations in 1919 after World War One and was a key component in the Treaty of Versailles. Although the intention of peacekeeping was present, the involved countries ultimately decided to eliminate the organization as it was ineffectual once World War Two broke out. It was clear at this point that the League's actions could do little to curb the war, and that a new organisation would have to be formed.
After the failure of the League of Nations, the great political leaders of the time, including Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, convened to develop The Declaration of the United Nations on January 1, 1942. The Declaration was an accord between all nations fighting against the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union), promising not to form any other entangling alliances and that once the war was won, a formal peacekeeping organization, to be called the United Nations, would be officially established to actively take measures that would prevent hostile relations between its member countries.
Once the UN was formed, it was separated into subdivisions that would include The General Assembly, The Security Council, The Economic and Social Council, The Secretariat, and The International Court of Justice. Each sector of the UN serves a specific purpose, but all work in conjunction to promote the goals of the UN charter.
The General Assembly is the sole body of the United Nations in which all members are permitted to deliberate and make recommendations regarding everything from budgetary concerns to political upheaval in a particular region.
The Security Council is responsible for quelling actions that are in direct opposition to the peaceful intentions set forth in the charter. This has left room for many a grey area as The Security Council is allowed to enforce military action even though such powers are in conflict with other governing documents, such as the U.S. Constitution, in which it states that only the Senate can approve of a president's decision to go to war.
The Economic and Social Council's role is to gather data and information that will assist in the economic development of a particular country. Its primary duty is to facilitate growth in countries with fledgling economies, with a heavy focus on Africa.
The role of the Secretariat serves to report on the goings-on of its member countries and to report on these incidents at meetings of The General Assembly and other bodies of the UN.
The International Court of Justice comes into play if a member country submits a formal legal complaint or query to the ICJ. More often than not, the ICJ has been one of the lesser aspects of the UN's importance and authority as most nations are wont to resolve domestic conflicts independently
The United Nations has long been regarded with varying points of view in terms of what is expected of the institution and how far it should go to intervene in the actions of the countries it represents. In the official UN Charter, it states its primary goals as: "To save succeeding generations from the scourges of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."
Whether or not certain of these objectives have been accomplished remains discretionary. All members and non-members of the UN are technically required to settle potentially threatening disputes in a peaceful manner,...