This project builds on the recently published book, America, Hitler and the UN: How the Allies Won World II and Forged a Peace, by Dan Plesch, the Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy. The project intends to show how the United Nations was born in 1942, defeated the Axis Powers led by Germany, Italy and Japan, created today’s UN system and gave rise to a stable and peaceful post-war international system. America, Britain and the Soviet Union led a coalition of states organised as the United Nations to respond to the greatest crisis in human history. Contrary to the commonly held origin story of the United Nations, Bretton Woods and San Francisco were United Nations conferences, convened by interim United Nations organisations, which preceded the Charter.
Understanding the wartime United Nations reframes our understanding of the second half of the last century and of our own. From UNESCO to the World Bank the primary purpose of the multilateral system is conflict prevention; a system bequeathed to us by its wartime architects as a realist necessity, vital in times of trial, not as a liberal accessory to be discarded when the going gets rough.
The project leaders are interested in developing partnerships with other researchers and organizations on the implications of the wartime United Nations (WUN) for contemporary international policy and U.S. politics in particular and in its relationship to IR theory, the archaeology, genealogy and historiography of the study of international politics since 1945, and the impact of the WUN on the campaigns and politics of the Second World War.
Please see the CISD website for more details on the project, its members and its activities.
Greg Chaffin is a research assistant for the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London.