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The United Nations was formed at the end of world war II, to maintain peace throughout the world. Within the structure of UN, Security Council is ranked above all.

There were only five permanent members selected. These nations includes US, UK, USSR(now Russia), France and China.

I don't know what criteria was used for this selection, but first four seems obvious to me. US & USSR were two superpowers emerged after war. UK & France were victors and former superpowers, and were still controlling many colonies at that time. But China doesn't fit in picture anywhere. It was not a superpower at that time, neither it had a strong economy or military as of today.

Is it because China fought from victor's side or is it due to it's large population, or is it selected as representative of Asia.

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Related question:… . They are not duplicates, but the answers there probably answer this question. Mine certainly does. – T.E.D. Aug 3 '14 at 15:52
This question would benefit from documenting preliminary research. H:SE's value as a Q&A site and as a reference source is improved if questions demonstrate preliminary research. Have you checked wikipedia? – Mark C. Wallace Aug 5 '14 at 9:54
The PRC was elected, by the General Assembly of the UN, to the Security Council in 1971, see: China and the United Nations – arober11 Sep 16 at 3:39

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

China (at the time) was one of the "Big Four" Allies during World War II. (The "United Nations" originally meant the united, anti-Axis nations.) It's true that the "Big Three" were the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, but there were a number of much weaker, plausible "number four" states, including China, India, France, and Poland (the latter two were German-occupied, with large Free French and free Polish contingents). Of these, China was the strongest and most important. France was "number five," added at the end of the war.

Although China wasn't very successful in World War II, it played an important role in tying up the Japanese forces, acting as the Pacific "anvil" to the Americans' "hammer." As in Europe, the Americans fought only one fourth of the Japanese army (but most of its navy), with China absorbing most of Japan's remaining power. China's capacity in this regard was demonstrated only six years after World War II, when China spearheaded the "anti-UN" (basically anti-US) efforts in Korea.

In order to win World War II, the Axis had to defeat all three of America's major allies; Britain, the Soviet Union and China. Suppose the second worst case scenario, that the Germans had conquered the British Isles (e.g. by submarine warfare) in 1944, and European Russia by the end of 1945. Then America would be the leader of "Free British" forces in India, "Free Russia" forces in Siberia, and "free China." By mid-1945, the Allies had actually recaptured the Philippines, parts of Indochina and modern Indonesia, and Japan's Pacific Islands. Then Eisenhower's "Normandy" invasion could have instead liberated Japanese-occupied China in 1945, in cooperation with local Chinese forces. A "United Nations" of North and South America, China, India, Siberia, Australia, and today's ASEAN nations (even if Britain, Russia, Africa and the Middle East were lost to the Germans) would probably have sufficed to wage and win a "Cold War" with the Axis. Take China out of the equation and the "Allies" lose. (This is a thesis of my unpublished World War II book, "Axis Overstretch.")

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Two points. India was not an independent nation until 1947 and thus would not have been considered for the UN security council. Second, while I agree China acted like a sponge for Japanese resources, why would the US invade China when invading Japan ends the war more quickly? The US preferred to deal with the Axis directly, round about attacks are more a British thing. – Schwern Mar 10 at 2:49
@Schwern: France and Poland were "German occupied" and likewise, India was "British occupied," and it was understood that these occupations would end as a result of victory in World War II. At which time India would be "on its way" to being a major power. – Tom Au Mar 10 at 13:03
Inspite of its poverty? India was neither an economic power nor a military power. At most, Indian regiments had fought in Europe and Asia, Indo-China. Even there the chain of command was predominantly British. Besides, the partition crippled it further. Hence I don't find it valid that India was on its way to being a major power. One may say, it could have a regional influence due to its population resource – Rohit Mar 10 at 14:12
@TomAu I would not simply lump them together. France and Poland were nations just prior to the war with governments in exile ready to step into Security Council seats. India was not a nation prior to the war, there was no government in exile, no constitution, it wasn't even a single nation. Who would take the seat, the Muslim League or the Indian National Congress? While it can be argued India was a plausible member, it was not simply an occupied nation. – Schwern Mar 10 at 19:48
@Schwern: Saudi Arabia wasn't exactly a great power at the time, but now Arabic is the sixth language of the UN. Some Indian language is a good candidate for the seventh. In answering as I did, I drew heavily on what we know today (and what FDR, but not Churchill), foresaw in the 1940s. – Tom Au Mar 10 at 19:58

The Peoples Republic of China was not originally on the security council, as it did not exist in 1945 at the time the security council was created. The Peoples Republic of China inherited the Republic of China's seat on the council when it took over the ROC's place in the United Nations in 1971.

Originally the United States supported the ROC's place on the security council. The reasons for this obviously are subject to interpretation and were highly political. Possibly one factor was that the council was going to include Britain and France (both former colonial powers) and the US saw the ROC as an ally and counterweight to the European presence on the council. Also, the US may have seen the need for an Asian representative on the council.

This latter motivation, having all continents represented, is also suggested by the fact that the United States also supported having Brazil on the security council, although this was firmly opposed by Britain and France.

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last paragraph makes no sense, as there's no permanent seat appointed to Africa (and who'd it be anyway? Nazi symphatetic South Africa was the only independent entity on that continent in 1945 with any military and political clout to speak of). – jwenting Aug 4 '14 at 11:04
@Schwern maybe they did, but that'd still leave out Africa and Australia. – jwenting Mar 18 at 14:40

China earned her place in UN by heroic D-day first wave assaults, some 5000 soldiers from Chinese 52nd army died on beaches of Normandy securing allied forces landing. 52nd army ( 29,000 men strong ) lost a total of some 10,000 casualty, 9000 wounded at the end of European campaign. This WWII piece of military history was sealed off for publication by then president Truman who was angry with Chiang kai shek who fought and lost war to Communist Chinese army.

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I am actually seeing some references to Chinese naval forces participating. Do you have references for any of this? – T.E.D. Mar 10 at 14:26
I didn't believe it, but it appears that there were at least 24 Chinese naval officers ... this is a long throw from 5000 soldiers, which I simply do not believe. – CGCampbell Mar 10 at 18:59

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