1995 saw the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the founding of the United Nations. Those in attendance had much with which to congratulate themselves: despite the inevitable controversies, the successes of the United Nations, and particularly those of its humanitarian agencies, represented a significant improvement on the work of its predecessor, the League of Nations, which began by being disowned by the American Senate and ended after a world war it had been unable to prevent. The UN Charter, formulated in the autumn of 1944, represented, in part, an attempt to avoid these and other mistakes of the past. Adopted and signed by the representatives of fifty states gathered together at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in April 1945, by 1992 it had been signed by 179 nations.
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