. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Opening of United Nations Conference, San Francisco – April 25, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Within days of the death of President Roosevelt, and within days of the final capitulation of Nazi Germany, nations gathered in San Francisco for the opening session of what was to become The United Nations. In the coming weeks and months, the United Nations would take a greater role in shaping the Post-War world.
Opening ceremonies took place on April 25, 1945 with President Truman delivering the opening address:
President Truman: “With ever-increasing brutality and destruction, modern warfare, if unchecked, would ultimately crush all civilization. We still have a choice between the alternatives: the continuation of international chaos–or the establishment of a world organization for the enforcement of peace.
It is not the purpose of this Conference to draft a treaty of peace in the old sense of that term. It is not our assignment to settle specific questions of territories, boundaries, citizenship and reparations.
This Conference will devote its energies and its labors exclusively to the single problem of setting up the essential organization to keep the peace. You are to write the fundamental charter.
Our sole objective, at this decisive gathering, is to create the structure. We must provide the machinery, which will make future peace, not only possible, but certain.
The construction of this delicate machine is far more complicated than drawing boundary lines on a map, or estimating fair reparations, or placing reasonable limits upon armaments. Your task must be completed first.
We represent the overwhelming majority of all mankind. We speak for people, who have endured the most savage and devastating war ever inflicted upon innocent men, women and children.
We hold a powerful mandate from our people. They believe we will fulfill this obligation. We must prevent, if human mind, heart and hope can prevent it, the repetition of the disaster from which the entire world will suffer for years to come.”
It was a hopeful start.
Here is that opening address, along with addresses by California Governor Earl Warren and Secretary of State Edward Stettinius from opening day, April 25, 1945.