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The United Nations is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1945 to promote world peace, economic and social development, and other forms of international cooperation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organisation was created following World War II to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN Headquarters resides in international territory in New York City, with further main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organisation is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. During World War II, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated talks on a successor agency to the League of Nations, and the United Nations Charter was drafted at a conference in April–June 1945; this charter took effect on 24 October 1945, and the UN began operation. The UN's mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades by the Cold War between the US and USSR and their respective allies, though the organization participated in major actions in Korea and the Congo, as well as approving the creation of the state Israel in 1947. The organisation's membership grew significantly following widespread decolonization in the 1960s, and by the 1970s, its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the end of the Cold War, the UN took on major military and peacekeeping missions in Kuwait, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo with varying degrees of success. (via Freebase)