March 15, 1948 – United Nations – The View From Lake Success – Past Daily Reference Room.
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Considering the United Nations was coming up on three years since its inception, it had been hitting the ground running ever since it first met in April of 1945. Confronted with a massive number of upheavals, disputes and growing pains, the UN attempted to inject at least some semblance of order and civility into a world teetering on oblivion almost daily. It was often not an easy task, particularly in the area of reconstruction after the War.
This episode of The UN Today, a daily program begun shortly after the founding of the United Nations, starts off with a focus on the situation in the Middle East. On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly approved a resolution to partition Palestine, approving the creation of the state of Israel. And from that point on, it was a major point of contention among Arabs as well as Jews as to the act of Partiton itself, and it triggered a legacy of violence ever since. But in 1948 it was still a question looking for answers, and lands were hotly contested. At issue was negotiating a ceasefire between Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs. One which, as this program lays out, was no easy task. Compounding matters was the unwillingness of Moscow to get involved, bringing into scrutiny worsening East-West relations and the bigger picture of Soviet influence in the region.
Over the years, the United Nations has been the object of criticism and derision across many sides of the political spectrum – and listening to the seemingly minute steps taken to achieve even the slightest agreement among warring factions, you get the impression the United Nations is a supporter of lost causes. But what sticks is the impression that a body made up of many governments and many different ideologies and political persuasions could actually sit in one room together and hammer out even the smallest of agreements borders on the miraculous, as was done in March of 1948.
The better part of a century later, the issues still exist and the disputes are just as prevalent. But the fact that they’ve held it all together for so long is no small feat – and this episode of The UN Today as it was broadcast on March 15, 1948 offers glowing proof of that.