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The First UN: The United Nations Information Organization (UNIO)


Flags of First 30 Members of the UN, ca. 1942-1944

The term "United Nations" was popularized in January 1942 when 26 nations signed the Declaration of the United Nations, an early step that would eventually lead to the creation of the United Nations Organization three years later in San Francisco. Before the UN itself was formed, several international organizations would precede it between 1942 and 1945, the earliest of which came to be called the United Nations Information Organization (UNIO).

The first organization incorporating the United Nations name in its title traced its origin to as early as September 1940, when the Inter-Allied Information Committee and Center was created by Great Britain as a means of collecting, coordinating, and distributing information related to the Allied war effort against the Axis powers. By mid-1942, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Free France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Australia, Greece, Yugoslavia, Denmark, China, Canada, India, New Zealand, and South Africa had all joined as well.

The First UN: The United Nations Information Organization (UNIO)