Lecture Notes
































Growth of the UN

Many African countries gained independence in the decades following World War II.

Since World War II, the UN has grown from 51 original member states to 193 members today. This growth has been largely due to decolonization. After World War II, nationalist movements in Africa and Asia led to the creation of many new countries. One by one, they have been admitted into the United Nations. In 2011, the nation of South Sudan succeeded in seceding (withdrawing) from Sudan, thus becoming the newest country in the world.

Would you like to join the United Nations? It might help to picture an initiation ceremony for a very prestigious club. Before you can become a member, you must first make a very solemn promise:  

After making this pledge, you sign the Charter and you are welcomed as a new member. All those things you promised are now “international laws” that you—and every other member—are legally obliged to keep.


Check Your Understanding

  1. What is the main reason that membership in the United Nations has increased from 51 states in 1945 to nearly 200 today?  
  2. What is the newest country in the world?
  3. If you want to join the United Nations, what do you have to do?