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Formation of United Nations and Cold War – World History – Free PDF Download



  • After World War Two European countries generally lacked the wealth and political support necessary to suppress far away revolts; they also faced opposition from the new super powers, The US and the Soviet Union, both of which had taken position against colonialism.
  • There was a complete transformation in the world map after Second World War mainly because of two reasons:
  • (a) A large number of nations in Asia and Africa became independent nations and
  • (b) Polarization because of Cold War.
  • There was new process of decolonization.
  • In some areas, it was peaceful, and orderly.
  • In many others, independence was achieved only after a protracted revolution.
  • A few newly independent countries acquired stable governments almost immediately; others were ruled by dictators or military Juntas for decades, or endured long civil wars.
  • Some European governments welcomed a new relationship with their former colonies; others contested decolonization militarily.
  • During World War Two, Japan itself being a significant Imperial power, drove the European powers out of Asia.
  • After the Japanese surrender in 1945, local nationalist movements in the former Asian colonies campaigned for independence rather than a return to European colonial rule.
  • In many cases, as in Indonesia and French Indo-China, these nationalists had been guerrilla fighting the Japanese after European surrenders, or were former members of colonial military establishments.
  • These independent movements often appealed to the United Nations for support.
  • Korea was freed in 1945 by Japan’s defeat in the war.
  • The US relinquished the Philippines in 1946.
  • Britain left India in 1947, Palestine in 1948, an Egypt in 1956, and withdrew from Africa in the 1950s and 60s, from various island protectorates in the 1970s and 80s, and from Hong Kong in 1997.
  • The French left Vietnam in 1954 and gave up its North African colonies by 1962.
  • Portugal gave up its African colonies in 1970s, Macau was returned to Chinese in 1999.

Formation of United Nations:

  • Yalta Conference:
  • In 1945, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, the leaders of Britain, The US and the Soviet Union, respectively, met at Yalta in the Soviet Union and took the decision to set up a new organization to replace the League of Nations.
  • Subsequently, a conference was held in San Francisco, US, from 25 April 1945.
  • The conference was attended by 50 nations.
  • On 26 June, the conference adopted the United Nations charter under which a new world organization was set up.
  • This was the United Nations organization which was based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace loving states.
  • The purpose of the UN was to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation and be a Center for harmonizing the actions of nations.
  • To carry out these objectives, six principal organs of the United Nations organization were created.
  • The creation of many new independent nations, some of which occupied strategic locations, others of which possessed significant natural resources, and most of which were desperately poor, altered the composition of United Nations and political complexity of every region of the globe.
  • The newly independent nations that emerged in the 1950s and the 1960s became an important factor in changing the balance of power within the United Nations.
  • In 1946 there were 35 member states in the United Nations; as the newly independent nations of the third world joined the organization, by 1970 membership had swelled to 127.
  • These new member states had a few characteristics in common; they were non-white, developing economies, facing internal problems that were the result of their colonial past, which sometimes put them at odds with European countries and made them suspicious of European style government structures, political ideas, and economic institutions.
  • These countries also became vocal advocates of continuing decolonization, with the result that the UN assembly was often ahead of the Security Council on issues of self-governance and decolonization.
  • These nations pushed the UN towards accepting resolutions for independence for colonial States and creating a special committee on colonialism, demonstrating that even though some nations continued to struggle for independence, in the eyes of the international community, the colonial era was ending.
  • The process of decolonization coincided with the new Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and with the early development of the United Nations.
  • Decolonization was often affected by superpower competition, and had a definite impact on the evolution of that competition.
  • It also significantly changed the pattern of international relations in a more general sense.

The Cold War Phase:

  • The Cold War has been the open yet restricted rivalry that developed after World war between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies.
  • The Cold War was waged on political, economic, and propaganda friends and had only limited resources to weapons.
  • While the United States generally supported the concept of national self-determination, it also had strong ties to its European allies, who had Imperial claims on their former colonies.
  • The Cold War only served to complicate the US position, as US support for decolonization was offset by an American concern over communist expansion and Soviet strategic ambitions in Europe.
  • Several of the NATO allies asserted that their colonial possessions provided them with economic and military strength that would otherwise be lost to the alliance.
  • nearly all the United States European allies believed that after their recovery from World War Two their colonies would finally provide the combination of raw materials and protected markets for finished goods that would cement the colonies to Europe.
  • The alternative of allowing the colonies to slip away, perhaps into the United States’ economic sphere or that of another power, was unappealing to every European government interested in post-war stability.
  • Although the US Government did not force the issue, it encouraged the European imperial powers to negotiate an early withdrawal from their overseas colonies.
  • The united states granted independence to the Philippines in 1946.
  • However, as the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union came to dominate US foreign policy concerns in the late 1940s and 1950s, the Truman and Eisenhower administrations grew increasingly concerned that as the European powers lost their colonies or granted them independence; Soviet supported communist parties might achieve power in these new states which might shift the international balance of power in favor of Soviet Union, and resultantly remove access to the economic resources from US allies.
  • Events such as Indonesian struggle for independence from Netherlands( 1945- 50), the Vietnamese war against France( 1945- 54), and the nationalist and professed socialist takeovers of Egypt( 1952) and Iran( 1951) served to reinforce such fears, even if new governments did not directly link themselves to the Soviet Union.
  • Thus, The United States used aid packages, technical assistance and military intervention to encourage newly independent nations in the third world to adopt governments that aligned with the West.
  • The Soviet Union deployed similar tactics in an effort to encourage new nations to join communist bloc, and attempted to convince newly decolonized countries that communism was an intrinsically non imperialist economic and political ideology.
  • Many of the new nations resisted the pressure to be drawn into the Cold War, joined in the “Non-Aligned Movement” which was formed after Bandung conference in 1955, and focused on internal development.


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