chapter  4
21 Pages

The postwar world government boom

The advent of nuclear weapons injected new urgency into the search for a practical means of ending the curse of warfare in human affairs. Established in 1945, the United Nations was in many institutional respects quite similar to the League of Nations established in 1919. However, it had one major advantage over its disappointing predecessor: both the United States and the USSR, the military superpowers of the time, were founding members of the UN. Unfortunately for the cause of world peace and security, the wide ideological rift between the United States and the USSR prevented these countries from working together cooperatively. It was apparent to world federalists in the immediate post-World

War II years that the United Nations, as then constituted, was unlikely to be any more successful in the preservation of peace than the League of Nations had been. But if peace were not preserved in the nuclear age, the consequences would be unimaginably horrific. Thus world federalists of all varieties united in calling for an all-powerful world state capable of guaranteeing peace. Enthusiastic support for such a state reached a peak never before-or since-witnessed. But while a larger percentage of the population subscribed to world federalism than ever before, this percentage was still far short of what would have been needed to bring about an actual world government. By the time the Korean War broke out in 1950, the postwar world government boom had run its course, and a strong consensus had been formed-a consensus that persisted throughout four decades of perilous Cold War

(1950s-1980s)—that the ideological conflict, in and of itself, precluded any sort of meaningful world government.