It was late April 1945 and the war in Europe was nearing an end. On April 29, German forces surrendered in Italy. The next day, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. A few days later in Berlin, Soviet forces captured the German Reichstag. As combat to end World War II continued, in San Francisco there was talk of peace and an international solution to future conflict.
|Horizon of Peace cover and "Signing the Charter," interior page (San Francisco: Bank of America, c. 1945). |
California Historical Society, OV PAM 7288_001.
|San Francisco Opera House (left); War Veterans Building (right). Dag Hammarskjöld Library /|
Research Guides / UN Documentation.
The charter took effect on October 24, 1945. Its preamble declares its intent:
- to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind
- 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
- to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained
- to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom
- to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors
- to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security
- to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest
- to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples
Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations.
Dag Hammarskjöld Library / Research Guides / UN Documentation.
|UN Plaza San Francisco, 2005, photograph by Charles Birnbaum. Courtesy, the Cultural Landscape Foundation.|
The following images from the Dag Hammarskjöld Library create a visual history of the event and its host city:
|Flags of the United Nations wave in the courtyard of San Francisco City Hall, 1945. Dag Hammarskjöld Library / Research Guides / UN Documentation.|
|Temporary barracks in front of Civic Auditorium, Barracks B, served as quarters for drivers.|
|A snack bar in the basement of the Veterans Building served members of the press—a courtesy of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and other companies.|
|Wounded veterans arrive at the Opera House for the Second Plenary Session on April 27, 1945.|
Presentation of the Wreath of Honor on June 6, the anniversary of D-Day, at the Presidio War Memorial by Paul Boncour and Vice Admiral Raymond Fenard of France.
|President Harry S. Truman is greeted at the San Francisco airport by Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. (right) and Senator Tom Connally (left), members of the United States delegation.|
|President Truman arrives in San Francisco.|
|The first meeting of Commission II, General Assembly on May 30, 1945|
|Hsu Mo (left) of China confers with the United Kingdom's legal advisor and Ambassador to Turkey Sir William Malkin.|
|Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., U.S. Secretary of State and chairman of the U.S. delegation, addresses the 16th Plenary Session on June 26, 1945. President Harry S. Truman is to his left.|
|Chairman of Egypt's delegation Abdel Hamid Pasha Badawi signs the charter on behalf of his country. A facsimile copy of the charter is superimposed on the photograph.|
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