Unexpectedly, Dag Hammarskjöld – a compromise candidate – was selected as the next Secretary- General of the United Nations on 31 March 1953. The UN Security Council believed they had chosen a competent administrator who would not challenge the existing world order.
Before long, they would learn just how thoroughly mistaken they had been. Hammarskjöld set out to lead by realising both dimensions of his title – as a “general” and a “secretary”- and went on to develop and transform the UN. He stood up against the superpowers in the Security Council and with unshakeable integrity defended the interests of small nations, using his good offices to prevent war and serve the aims of the UN Charter.