The history of the United Nations, as an international organization, has origins which begin in World War II. Since then its aim and activities have expanded to make it the archetypal international body in the early 21st century.
Winston Churchill first suggested using the name "United Nations" to refer to the wartime Allies. Churchill cited Byron's use of the phrase "united nations" in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, which referred to the Allies at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. United States president Franklin Delano Roosevelt adopted the name and the first official use of the term occurred on January 1, 1942 with the Declaration by the United Nations. Learn how the United Nations was formed and how it functions.