The End of the Second World War and the United Nations

Version française

Le Chemin de Mémoire Home

The End of the War
The Battle of Normandy ended in September 1944 after the capture of the port of Le Havre, after days of often bitter fighting. This was shortly after the Liberation of Paris on 25 August 1944, when, after four years of occupation, the German garrison surrendered to French forces.

The war in Europe continued for a further nine months until Germany finally surrendered unconditionally on 8 May 1945. This was not however the end of the Second World War, which continued until 14 August 1945 when Japan finally surrendered after two nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which alone led to the destruction of these entire cities. These nuclear bombs caused more than 200,000 immediate deaths, not counting subsequent cases of cancer and other side effects.

Human losses for the Second World War are estimated as being between 70 and 85 million people. It is estimated that the French suffered around 210,000 military deaths and 360,000 civilian deaths. In addition, vast numbers of French civilians were made homeless and injured which profoundly changed the course of their lives..

United Nations
As the Second World War was ending there was a real desire that it should never be repeated, to which end it was necessary to establish an organisation to resolve international disputes.

In April 1945, 50 nations met in San Francisco USA and after two months, the United Nations Charter was produced, which allowed the United Nations to come into existence in October 1945.

Today membership stands at 193 nations, all of whom are members of the General Assembly.

The Security Council 
The Security Council’s primary responsibility is to maintain international peace and security. It’s powers include peacekeeping operations, international sanctions and authorising military action. There are 15 members in total, five of which are permanent (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States of America). The remaining 10 members are elected to the Council to serve a two-year term. Only permanent members can veto resolutions.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
In 1992 this organisation came into being and now has arguably one of the most important roles of the United Nations, being charged with organising research and international agreements concerning climate change.