The Jay Treaty of 1794 between the United States
and Great Britain is generally considered the beginning of the
modern history of international negotiations. Several
other high level talks were held before the 1899 International
Peace Conference was held in The Hague, Netherlands.
It hoped to create rules for peaceful negotiation,
preventing wars and establish rules for warfare. It proposed
the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International
Disputes and established the Permanent Court of Arbitration,
which began working in 1902.
The end of
World War I was a new beginning for many people,
governments, and organizations. In April 1919, the
leaders of the United States, Great Britain and France met at
the Paris Peace Conference, each with different goals.
and Britain wanted to make sure Germany would never again
threaten the peace of Europe. American President
Wilson hoped to create an international organization that
would help guarantee peace for the future. Out of that
meeting came the
Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty
punished Germany in very harsh terms. It made them
accept full blame for the war, pay huge sums of money for
post-war repairs, and accept a loss of territory. It
also formed the
League of Nations.
Over 40 countries joined the League, and promised to
negotiate through problems instead of resorting to war.
Further, they agreed to cooperate in military and economic
campaigns against any breaker of the peace. Unfortunately,
the united States never joined the League, fearing it would pull them
into future European wars. Without American support, the
League collapsed when it failed to prevent
World War II.
The League finally transferred all of its assets to the
Nations in April 1946.
The United Nations
The events of World
War II led to the formation of a new international
peacekeeping organization, the United Nations. In
January 1942, 26 nations agreed to continue fighting against
Powers. In April 1945, delegates from 50
countries met in San Francisco to discuss world problems,
develop solutions, and draw up the United Nations Charter.
The U.N. officially became active on October 24, 1945, after
the Charter was ratified by the United States, Great Britain,
France, China and the Soviet Union, and a majority of the
remaining 45 member nations. Today, the General
Assembly, the main body of the U.N., is made up of 189
nations, and accounts for most of the U.N. activity.
International Court of Justice, headquartered at the
Hague, started work in April 1946. Usually, it tries only
cases brought before it by any of the 189 U.N. Member States,
but has made several concessions over the years. It is
currently involved in war crimes cases involving Rwanda and
the former Yugoslavia.
In 1948, the
Declaration of Human Rights was published by the U.N.
It includes fundamental human rights very similar to those
claimed in the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the
1789 French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the
Citizen, and the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments from the
Seneca Falls, New York Convention. The right to life liberty,
property and security are among those included.
Violations of International
list is far too extensive, and only the most notable cases are
During World War I,
the Muslim government of Turkey under
was responsible for the extermination of 1.5 million
Although World War
II claimed over 75,000,000 lives worldwide, the
Holocaust remains the most terrible example of wartime
brutality and cruelty in modern history. Between five
and six million Jews were deliberately and systematically
murdered by Germany during World War II. The deliberate
destruction of an entire ethnic or religious group is called
Following the war,
perpetrators of war crimes were put on trial in Nuremburg,
Germany for crimes against humanity. The 19 of the 22
Nazi leaders tried were either sentenced to death or prison,
three were released.
Pot and the communist
Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia.
During that time, at least 1,700,000 people were
killed, mostly ethnic Vietnamese. The Khmer Rouge were
not defeated until the 1990s. Pol Pot died in
1999 before he could be brought to local or international
Beginning in April
1994, an estimated 750,000 of the minority
killed by the majority
Hutu tribe. Years of tribal warfare that
crossed the border into Uganda and Zaire involved the
Milosevic, former President of Serbia, is on trial in the
Hague on one count of genocide, one count of complicity with
genocide, and an additional 27 counts of war crimes and crimes
against humanity arising from the conflict in
Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. Milosevic, who
has been on trial since January 9, 2002, is charged with the
death of over 10,000 deaths.*
Human Rights Watch.
In 1948, South
Africa legalized racism in the form of
apartheid. It was
a form of legal segregation of blacks and whites
covering housing, jobs, and education. The government was
extreme in its enforcement of the apartheid statute, and
thousands of black South Africans were killed. Apartheid was
officially ended on May 10, 1994, when the first democratic
election since World War II took place.
Mandela, an activist jailed for over 20 years, was elected
Perhaps the major
concern today is fear of international
terrorism. Terrorism is
the unlawful use of violence against people or property in
order to gain revenge, intimidate, or force societies or
governments to make decisions for political reasons.
Terrorist use bombs,
assassinations, hijacking, kidnapping
(and threats to use these methods) to accomplish their goals.
There are at least
terrorist organizations worldwide. In response to
the terrorist threats, many changes have occurred.
Throughout the world, airport security has increased ,
international police organizations began sharing information
in their efforts to prevent and catch terrorists, and
governments have actively begun pursuing terrorist suspects
Most notably, the
United States initiated a comprehensive military operation
Muslim terrorists (Al-Qaeda) based in
Afghanistan following a September 11, 2001 attack that
destroyed the Twin Towers in New York City, and killed 3,000.