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From 'peace by dictation' to international organisation: great power responsibility and the creation of the United Nations

Morris, Justin


Dr Justin Morris
Senior Lecturer/ Director of Undergraduate Admissions


This article examines the attitudes of US, British, and Soviet policy-makers as they planned for the forthcoming peace during the Second World War. It charts how they moved from planning a ‘peace by dictation' of the great powers, to planning one which would be based on a model of collective security involving all members of the United Nations alliance. The latter plan would reflect both the great powers' special responsibilities for maintaining international peace and security and the stake which lesser powers had in such a venture. In addressing these historical developments the article employs two concepts familiar to International Relations scholarship, namely concert and hierarchy. It shows how the understandings which the principal post-war planners had of these concepts - and crucially of their inter-relationship - changed over time and the consequences of these changes. The article makes two core claims: firstly, that as post-war planning progressed, the attitudes of the Big Three towards the acceptable nature of the great power-lesser power hierarchy changed radically; and secondly, that the structure and nature of today's United Nations Organisation is in significant part a consequence of these changes.


Morris, J. (2013). From 'peace by dictation' to international organisation: great power responsibility and the creation of the United Nations. International History Review, 35(3), 511-533.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Aug 21, 2013
Publication Date 2013-06
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal International History Review
Print ISSN 0707-5332
Electronic ISSN 1949-6540
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 3
Pages 511-533
Keywords REF 2014 submission, Great powers, Responsibility, Concert, Hierarchy, United Nations
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International history review on 21st August 2013, available online:


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