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Chapter Summary

750 million people were living in nonsovereign States when the UN was founded in 1945. If decolonization is defined as the achievement of independence of formerly non-self governing territories, this process has today nearly been completed. The UN was not a major player in this development, although the UN Charter laid down a basic principle of international law for decolonization with the right of self-determination of peoples. The UN Charter created the UN Trusteeship System to realize this goal. The System is applied to territories held under mandates established by the League of Nations after the First World War, territories detached from enemy states as a result of the Second World War, and territories voluntarily placed under the Trusteeship System by states responsible for their administration. Decolonization has brought major changes to the UN: at the end of the most important phase of decolonization, the UN counted 144 member states.

Keywords: decolonization; First World War; international law; League of Nations; right of self-determination; Second World War; UN Charter; UN Trusteeship System



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