World Disarmament Conference

The Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments of 1932–1934 (sometimes World Disarmament Conference or Geneva Disarmament Conference) was an effort by member states of the League of Nations, together with the U.S. and the United Kingdom, to actualize the ideology of disarmament. It took place in the Swiss city of Geneva, ostensibly between 1932 and 1934, but more correctly until May 1937.

The first effort at international arms limitation was made at the Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907, which had failed in their primary objective. Although many contemporary commentators (and Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles) had blamed the outbreak of the First World War on the "war guilt" of Germany, historians writing in the 1930s began to emphasize the fast-paced arms race preceding 1914. Further, all the major powers except the US had committed themselves to disarmament in both the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations. A substantial international non-governmental campaign to promote disarmament also developed in the 1920s and early 1930s.

A preparatory commission was initiated by the League in 1925; by 1931, there was sufficient support to hold a conference, which duly began under the chairmanship of former British Foreign Secretary Arthur Henderson. The motivation behind the talks can be summed up by an extract from the message President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent to the conference: "If all nations will agree wholly to eliminate from possession and use the weapons which make possible a successful attack, defences automatically will become impregnable and the frontiers and independence of every nation will become secure."

The talks were beset by a number of difficulties from the outset. Among these were disagreements over what constituted "offensive" and "defensive" weapons, and the polarization of France and Germany. The increasingly military-minded German governments could see no reason why their country could not enjoy the same level of armaments as other powers, especially France. The French, for their part, were equally insistent that German military inferiority was their only insurance from future conflict as serious as they had endured in the First World War. As for the British and US governments, they were unprepared to offer the additional security commitments that France requested in exchange for limitation of French armaments.

The talks broke down when Hitler withdrew Germany from both the Conference and the League of Nations in October 1933. The 1930s had proved far too self-interested an international period to accommodate multilateral action in favour of pacifism.

Other articles related to "world disarmament conference, disarmament":

Disarming - History
... Roosevelt sent this message to the World Disarmament Conference "If all nations will agree wholly to eliminate from possession and use the weapons which make possible a successful attack ... stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has been achieved." He went on to call for a global general and complete disarmament, offering a rough outline for how this could be ... It would assure that indispensable condition of disarmament - true inspection - and apply it in stages proportionate to the stage of disarmament ...
René Massigli - The 1930s
... on, Massigli was intimately involved in the preparatory work for the World Disarmament Conference scheduled to open in 1932 ... forgo the demand for gleichberechtigung at the upcoming World Disarmament Conference ... Massigli was a prominent player at the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva, and helped to write famous "Barthou note" of 17 April 1934 issued by the Foreign Minister Louis Barthou ...
The Committee Of Correspondence Newsletter - History
... danger of nuclear war, began meeting to seek a solution and promote nuclear disarmament ... years, and anyone proposing nuclear disarmament to that point had been accused of being Soviet agents or dupes ... It was nearly impossible to get discussion of disarmament into America’s consciousness, and the United States was so panicked about Soviet expansionism that all its policy responses to events in Europe ...
Disarming
... Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons ... Disarmament generally refers to a country's military or specific type of weaponry ... Disarmament is often taken to mean total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms ...
The Bomber Will Always Get Through - Baldwin's Argument
... Baldwin did not advocate total disarmament but believed that "great armaments lead inevitably to war" ... to an end when Great Britain can proceed with unilateral disarmament" ... allegedly demonstrating the futility of rearmament or disarmament, depending on the critic ...

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