Lead: In October 1945, the victorious World War II Allies met in San Francisco to establish the United Nations. It was the 20th century’s second multi-purpose world-wide international organization and emerged from the failures of the first.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: When the charter members met in spring 1945, they were determined to steer clear of the fatal weaknesses that proved so damaging to the U.N.’s predecessor, the League of Nations. In many ways the failures of the League insured the success of the United Nations. The League came to grief in part because one of its great champions, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, despite a prodigious public relations campaign that probably undermined his health, failed to convince the Senate, led by conservative Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, to ratify the Versailles Treaty (1919) a section of which established the League. That meant the up-and-coming international power during the 1920s and 1930s would not be a full player in League debates or diplomatic efforts. The League also lacked an independent enforcement mechanism, and when Germany, Italy and Japan began their pattern of aggression that ultimately led to World War II, and the major Allies refused to act, the League was powerless and therefore discredited.