chapter  1
The UN Security Council
Pages 14

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the Second World War and the wreckage of the League of Nations, the UN was given a broad-reaching set of responsibility-“to maintain international peace and security, facilitate the development of friendly relations among nations, promote social progress, better living standards and human rights.”1 Of the broad-ranging tasks given to the organization, the UN Security Council was charged with arguably the most important-“primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.”2

Over the course of the last seventy years the council has proven a remarkably resilient and adaptable piece of international machinery. The overarching aim of this chapter is to set the context for the

volume, and begin the process of understanding “where it [the council] started, what route it has taken, and how far it has come.”3 To address this aim, the chapter will provide an overview of the history of the council, as a study of philosophical and historical debates that underpinned the League of Nations and the UN is instructive in the context of the contemporary council.