ORGANIZING FOR PEACE: A Personal History of the Founding of the United Nations by Clark M. Eichelberger

ORGANIZING FOR PEACE: A Personal History of the Founding of the United Nations

Email this review


Stressing the continuities between American supporters of the League of Nations and the semi-private groups who helped organize the United Nations, this is a quiet memoir of the 1919-to-1948 transition to the UN by a much-traveled, much-published spokesman for peace without isolation. As a young Midwestern WW I veteran, Eichelberger lectured on behalf of the League, and by 1933 became the national director of the League of Nations Association. His collaborators included William Alien White, the Rockefeller family (whose donations were essential), Mrs. Kermit Roosevelt, and occasionally even FDR. The League itself remains in the background (Eichelberger fears the Manchurian crisis of 1931 may disrupt its Disarmament Conference) while Eichelberger keeps pushing for US membership; heavy American participation already existed, he notes, in the unspecified ""financial and economic work"" of the League. After a successful campaign for Lend-Lease among peace groups, Eichelberger began as early as 1940 to help ""plan the postwar world,"" and during the Battle of Britain is found in London meeting old League friends as well as the unreceptive Churchill and the condescending de Gaulle. Subsequently, Eichelberger indicates, he was especially concerned that a new League have automatic membership for all countries since the smaller ones would probably support American goals. The perspective of gaining US leverage against the other Big Four powers also comes through in his chats over the years with FDR, who agreed that the structure of a new world body should be fixed before the war ended, while the US had maximum bargaining power. The book ends with the signing of the UN charter; given a bit of interpolation and extrapolation, it is a worthwhile historical source, not just a ""peace movement"" self-tribute.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1977
Publisher: Harper & Row