Four Policemen

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Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill met at the Cairo Conference in 1943 during World War II. Cairo conference.jpg
Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill met at the Cairo Conference in 1943 during World War II.

The term "Four Policemen" refers to a post-war council consisting of the "Big Four" that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed as a guarantor of world peace. The members of the Big Four, called the Four Powers during World War II, were the four major Allies of World War II: the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and China. The United Nations envisioned by Roosevelt consisted of three branches: an executive branch comprising the Big Four, an enforcement branch composed of the same four great powers acting as the Four Policemen or Four Sheriffs, and an international assembly representing the member nations of the UN. [1]

Post-war interval immediately following the end of a war

In Western usage, the phrase post-war era or postwar era usually refer to the time since the end of World War II, even though many nations involved in this war have been involved in other wars since.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd president of the United States

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the Democratic party, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century. Though he has been subject to substantial criticism, he is generally rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Contents

The Four Policemen would be responsible for keeping order within their spheres of influence: Britain in its empire and in Western Europe; the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the central Eurasian landmass; China in East Asia and the Western Pacific; and the United States in the Western hemisphere. As a preventive measure against new wars, countries other than the Four Policemen were to be disarmed. Only the Four Policemen would be allowed to possess any weapons more powerful than a rifle. [2]

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Eurasia The combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia

Eurasia is the largest continental landmass on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. The term is a portmanteau of its constituent continents. Located primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and by Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean to the south. The division between Europe and Asia as two different continents is a historical social construct, with no clear physical separation between them; thus, in some parts of the world, Eurasia is recognized as the largest of the six, five, or even four continents on Earth. In geology, Eurasia is often considered as a single rigid megablock. However, the rigidity of Eurasia is debated based on paleomagnetic data.

As a compromise with internationalist critics, the Big Four nations became the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, with significantly less power than envisioned in the Four Policemen proposal. [3] When the United Nations was officially established in later 1945, France was in due course added as the fifth member of the council at that time [4] due to the insistence of Churchill.

Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council Five countries influential in world affairs

The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are the five states which the UN Charter of 1945 grants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries were all allies in World War II, which turned out victorious. They are also all nuclear weapons states. A total of 15 UN member states serve on the UNSC, the remainder of which are elected. Any one of the five permanent members have the power of veto, which enables them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of its level of international support.

United Nations Security Council One of the six principal organs of the UN, charged with the maintenance of international peace and security

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with ensuring international peace and security, accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its charter. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations and international sanctions as well as the authorization of military actions through resolutions – it is the only body of the United Nations with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. The council held its first session on 17 January 1946.

Provisional Government of the French Republic former country

The Provisional Government of the French Republic was an interim government of Free France between 1944 and 1946 following the liberation of continental France after Operations Overlord and Dragoon, and lasted until the establishment of the French Fourth Republic. Its establishment marked the official restoration and re-establishment of a provisional French Republic, assuring continuity with the defunct French Third Republic.

History

Background

During World War II, President Roosevelt initiated post-war plans for the creation of a new and more durable international organization that would replace the former League of Nations. Prior to the war, Roosevelt had initially been a supporter of the League of Nations, but he lost confidence in the League due to its ineffectiveness at preventing the outbreak of the Second World War. Roosevelt wanted to create an international organization that secured global peace through the unified efforts of the world's great powers, rather than through the Wilsonian notions of international consensus and collaboration that guided the League of Nations. [5] By 1935, he told his foreign policy adviser Sumner Welles: "The League of Nations has become nothing more than a debating society, and a poor one at that!" [6] [ page range too broad ]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

League of Nations 20th-century intergovernmental organisation, predecessor to the United Nations

The League of Nations, abbreviated as LN or LoN, was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

Wilsonianism

Wilsonianism or Wilsonian are words used to describe a certain type of ideological perspective on foreign policy. The term comes from the ideology of United States President Woodrow Wilson and his famous Fourteen Points that he believed would help create world peace if implemented. Wilsonianism is a form of liberal internationalism. Wilson learned from American history and applied that knowledge to his international relations. Wilson's principles expressed the values of democracy and capitalism.

Roosevelt criticized the League of Nations for representing the interests of too many nations. The President said to the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov that "he could not visualize another League of Nations with 100 different signatories; there were simply too many nations to satisfy, hence it was a failure and would be a failure". [7] Roosevelt's proposal in 1941 was to create a new international body led by a "trusteeship" of great powers that would oversee smaller countries. In September 1941, he wrote:

Vyacheslav Molotov Soviet politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik, and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin. Molotov served as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (Premier) from 1930 to 1941, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956. He served as First Deputy Premier from 1942 to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. Molotov was removed from all positions in 1961 after several years of obscurity.

In the present complete world confusion, it is not thought advisable at this time to reconstitute a League of Nations which, because of its size, makes for disagreement and inaction... There seem no reason why the principle of trusteeship in private affairs should be not be extended to the international field. Trusteeship is based on the principle of unselfish service. For a time at least there are many minor children among the peoples of the world who need trustees in their relations with other nations and people, just as there are many adult nations or peoples which must be led back into a spirit of good conduct. [5]

The State Department had begun drafting a postwar successor to the League of Nations under the auspices of Roosevelt while the United States was still formally a neutral power. [8] Roosevelt was reluctant to publicly announce his plans for creating a postwar international body. He was aware of the risk that the American people might reject his proposals, and he did not want to repeat Woodrow Wilson's struggle to convince the Senate to approve American membership in the League of Nations. When the Atlantic Charter was issued in August 1941, Roosevelt had ensured that the charter omitted mentioning any American commitment towards the establishment of a new international body after the war. [9] The attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 led to a change in Roosevelt's position. He transformed his trusteeship proposal into an organization centered around the Four Policemen: the United States, China, the Soviet Union, and Britain. [5]

Plans for the Four Policemen

1943 sketch by Franklin Roosevelt of the United Nations' original three branches. The branch on the right represents the Four Policemen. United Nations organization sketch by Franklin Roosevelt with the Four Policemen in 1943.jpg
1943 sketch by Franklin Roosevelt of the United Nations' original three branches. The branch on the right represents the Four Policemen.

The idea that great powers should "police" the world had been discussed by President Roosevelt as early as August 1941, during his first meeting with Winston Churchill. Roosevelt made his first references to the Four Policemen proposal in early 1942. [10] He presented his postwar plans to Molotov, [11] who had arrived in Washington on May 29 to discuss the possibility of launching a second front in Europe. [12] Roosevelt told Molotov that the Big Four must unite after the war to police the world and disarm aggressor states. [10] When Molotov asked about the role of other countries, Roosevelt answered by opining that too many "policemen" could lead to infighting, but he was open to the idea of allowing other allied countries to participate. [10] A memorandum of the conference summarizes their conversation:

The President told Molotov that he visualized the enforced disarmament of our enemies and, indeed, some of our friends after the war; that he thought that the United States, England, Russia and perhaps China should police the world and enforce disarmament by inspection. The President said that he visualized Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and other nations would not be permitted to have military forces. He stated that other nations might join the first four mentioned after experience proved they could be trusted. [7]

Roosevelt and Molotov continued their discussion of the Four Policemen in a second meeting on June 1. Molotov informed the President that Stalin was willing to support Roosevelt's plans for maintaining postwar peace through the Four Policemen and enforced disarmament. Roosevelt also raised the issue of postwar decolonization. He suggested that former colonies should undergo a period of transition under the governance of an international trusteeship prior to their independence. [11] [13]

China was brought in as a member of the Big Four and a future member of the Four Policemen. Roosevelt was in favor of recognizing China as a great power because he was certain that the Chinese would side with the Americans against the Soviets. He said to British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, "In any serious conflict of policy with Russia, [China] would undoubtedly line up on our side." The President believed that a pro-American China would be useful for the United States should the Americans, Soviets, and Chinese agree to jointly occupy Japan and Korea after the war. [14] When Molotov voiced concerns about the stability of China, Roosevelt responded by saying that the combined "population of our nations and friends was well over a billion people." [7] [11]

Churchill objected to Roosevelt's inclusion of China as one of the Big Four because he feared that the Americans were trying to undermine Britain's colonial holdings in Asia. In October 1942, Churchill told Eden that Republican China represented a "faggot vote on the side of the United States in any attempt to liquidate the British overseas empire." [15] Eden shared this view with Churchill and expressed skepticism that China, which was then in the midst of a civil war, could ever return to a stable nation. Roosevelt responded to Churchill's criticism by telling Eden that "China might become a very useful power in the Far East to help police Japan" and that he was fully supportive of offering more aid to China. [14]

Roosevelt's Four Policemen proposal received criticism from the liberal internationalists, who wanted power to be more evenly distributed among the member nations of the UN. Internationalists were concerned that the Four Policemen could lead to a new Quadruple Alliance. [3]

Formation of the United Nations

On New Year's Day 1942, the representatives of Allied "Big Four", the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China, signed a short document which later came to be known as the Declaration by United Nations and the next day the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their signatures. [16] [17] A new plan for the United Nations was drafted by the State Department in April 1944. It kept the emphasis on great power solidarity that was central to Roosevelt's Four Policemen proposal for the United Nations. The members of the Big Four would serve as permanent members of the United Nation's Security Council. Each of the four permanent members would be given a United Nations Security Council veto power, which would override any UN resolution that went against the interests of one of the Big Four. However, the State Department had compromised with the liberal internationalists. Membership eligibility was widened to include all nation states fighting against the Axis powers instead of a select few. The Dumbarton Oaks Conference convened in August 1944 to discuss plans for the postwar United Nations with delegations from the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China. [3] The Big Four were the only four sponsoring countries of the San Francisco Conference of 1945 and their heads of the delegations took turns as chairman of the plenary meetings. [18] During this conference, the Big Four and their allies signed the Charter of the United Nations. [19]

Legacy

In the words of a former Undersecretary General of the UN, Sir Brian Urquhart:

It was a pragmatic system based on the primacy of the strong — a "trusteeship of the powerful," as he then called it, or, as he put it later, "the Four Policemen." The concept was, as [Senator Arthur H.] Vandenberg noted in his diary in April 1944, "anything but a wild-eyed internationalist dream of a world state.... It is based virtually on a four-power alliance." Eventually this proved to be both the potential strength and the actual weakness of the future UN, an organization theoretically based on a concert of great powers whose own mutual hostility, as it turned out, was itself the greatest potential threat to world peace. [20]

See also

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References

Citations

  1. Hoopes & Brinkley 1997, p. 100.
  2. Gaddis 1972, p. 25.
  3. 1 2 3 Gaddis 1972, p. 27.
  4. 1946-47 Part 1: The United Nations. Section 1: Origin and Evolution.Chapter E: The Dumbarton Oaks Conversations. The Yearbook of the United Nations. United Nations. p. 6. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 Gaddis 1972, p. 24.
  6. Welles 1951, pp. 182–204.
  7. 1 2 3 United States Department of State 1942, p. 573.
  8. Bosco 2009, p. 14.
  9. Gaddis 1972, pp. 25–26.
  10. 1 2 3 Kimball 1991, p. 85.
  11. 1 2 3 Dallek 1995, p. 342.
  12. Gaddis 1972, p. 68.
  13. United States Department of State 1942, p. 580.
  14. 1 2 Dallek 1995, p. 390.
  15. Dallek 1995, p. 389.
  16. United Nations Official Website.
  17. Ma 2003, pp. 203–204.
  18. United Nations Official Website 1945.
  19. Gaddis 1972, p. 28.
  20. Urquhart 1998.

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