Published in The Adventures of Peace: Dag Hammarskjold and the future of the UN, edited by Sten Ask and Anna Mark-Jungkvist (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
The United Nations, of which Dag Hammarskjold became Secretary-General in 1953, had already had to establish itself in a world very different from the one imagined by those who drafted its Charter. It was set up to put an end to aggressive acts of war such as those unleashed by Japan, Italy, and Germany in the 1930s. It hoped to do so by getting all states to sign up to a charter renouncing the use of war as an instrument of policy. Enforcement (Chapter VII of the Charter) was the province of the Security Council, in which were seated the permanent members (Britain, China, France, the USA and the USSR), each equipped with a veto. Most of the remaining forty states, in the General Assembly, could be relied on to support anything the Security Council decided.