January 1

This Day in History

World War II

Jan 1, 1942:

United Nations created

On this day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issue a declaration, signed by representatives of 26 countries, called the "United Nations." The signatories of the declaration vowed to create an international postwar peacekeeping organization.

On December 22, 1941, Churchill arrived in Washington, D.C., for the Arcadia Conference, a discussion with President Roosevelt about a unified Anglo-American war strategy and a future peace. The attack on Pearl Harbor meant that the U.S. was involved in the war, and it was important for Great Britain and America to create and project a unified front against Axis powers. Toward that end, Churchill and Roosevelt created a combined general staff to coordinate military strategy against both Germany and Japan and to draft a plan for a future joint invasion of the Continent.

Among the most far-reaching achievements of the Arcadia Conference was the United Nations agreement. Led by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union, the signatories agreed to use all available resources to defeat the Axis powers. It was agreed that no single country would sue for a separate peace with Germany, Italy, or Japan-they would act in concert. Perhaps most important, the signatories promised to pursue the creation of a future international peacekeeping organization dedicated to ensuring "life, liberty, independence, and religious freedom, and to preserve the rights of man and justice."

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