This Day in History

On Dec. 4, 1945, the U.S. Senate approved United States involvement with the United Nations. At the time, the newly created United Nations was intended to mediate disagreements among nations in order to prevent war and other types of military aggression. The senate overwhelmingly approved U.S. involvement with a vote of 65 in favor and 7 not in favor. However, there were some controversial elements related to U.S. participation.

Some Senators Wanted to Limit U.S. Involvement

Some senators, for example, wanted to make it necessary for the president to obtain congressional approval before sending any United States troops as United Nation’s peacekeeping soldiers, but the resolution never came to pass. Also, Senator Robert Taft advocated strongly that the United States ask the U.N. to immediately make efforts to prohibit and control certain weapons of mass destruction, like atomic bombs.

The Senate’s decision to join the United Nations was a significant change in the traditionally isolationist stance of the United States with regard to involvement in international organizations. For example, following World War I, the Senate refused to allow the United States to join a similar organization known as the League of Nations. Nevertheless, it seems that after the frightening reality of World War II and its atrocities, the American public and its legislators were more open to the idea of becoming involved in a larger trust of nations.

First United Nations Peacekeeping Mission Was in 1950

The first time the United Nations deployed a peacekeeping force to another nation was in 1950; the U.N. voted in favor of sending armed forces to Korea. Interestingly, the vote was made while the U.N. delegation from Russia was not present. Especially during the cold war era, the U.N. was often divided by countries who either sympathized with the United States or sympathized with Russia.