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Peace And Disarmament

Peace And Disarmament: Naval Rivalry and Arms Control, 1922-1933

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Peace And Disarmament
    Book Description:

    Arms control remains a major international issue as the twentieth century closes, but it is hardly a new concern. The effort to limit military power has enjoyed recurring support since shortly after World War I, when the United States, Britain, and Japan sought naval arms control as a means to insure stability in the Far East, contain naval expenditure, and prevent another world cataclysm.

    Richard Fanning examines the efforts of American, British, and Japanese leaders -- political, military, and social -- to reach agreement on naval limitation between 1922 and the mid-1930s, with focus on the years 1927-30, when political leaders, statesmen, naval officers, and various civilian pressure groups were especially active in considering naval limits. The civilian and even some military actors believed the Great War had been an aberration and that international stability would reign in the near future. But the coming of the Great Depression brought a dramatic drop in concern for disarmament.

    This study, based on a wide variety of unpublished sources, compares the cultural underpinnings of the disarmament movement in the three countries, especially the effects of public opinion, through examination of the many peace groups that played an important role in the disarmament process. The decision to strive for arms control, he finds, usually resulted from peace group pressure and political expediency.

    For anyone interested in naval history, this book illuminates the beginnings of the arms limitation effort and the growth of the peace movement.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5676-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    This study is a history of American naval arms control following the Washington Naval Conference of 1921-22. It describes the efforts of American leaders—political, military, and social—as well as those of their contemporaries in the two other postwar great naval powers, Britain and Japan, to come to agreement on naval limitation between 1922 and the mid-1930s. I particularly focus on the years 1927-30, a time when political leaders, statesmen, naval officers, and various civilian pressure groups in the major naval powers considered developing new limits on their navies. Americans were particularly interested in naval arms limitation after the...

    (pp. 1-24)

    The idea of disarmament, that nations might limit their arms and thereby make themselves more secure than if they possessed more armaments, flourished in the decade after the First World War. The Treaty of Versailles had endorsed the idea of collective security—nations banded together in an international League of Nations to maintain peace in the world and put forward the idea of further disarmament. The country that believed most in disarmament was the United States (even though it had not joined the League), and there seemed good reason for such strong belief: in 1921-22, the Washington Naval Conference had...

    (pp. 25-50)

    In agreeing to send American representatives to Geneva, President Coolidge was only recognizing the existence of what many Americans in the 1920s described as a peace psychology, in the phrase of what then was a new science. There certainly was something of the sort evident among the American people. It was a remarkable thing, this so-called peace psychology, for Americans had not suffered nearly so much as had Europeans during the recent war. American losses in battle had been fifty thousand soldiers compared to nearly one million for Britain and nearly twice that many for France. Still, the psychology existed,...

    (pp. 51-64)

    After a long train trip from Paris, Rear Admiral Frank Schofield trudged up the stairs of his hotel in Geneva, La Residence, in the early evening of June 18, 1927. Small of stature, gray-haired, sixty-two years old, looking like “an emeritus professor of economics,” the humorless Schofield would call the hotel his home for the next six weeks.¹ President Coolidge’s invitation had suggested that the conference would convene three weeks earlier, on June 1, but it had been postponed to June 20 because the Japanese delegates pleaded for time and officials of the League of Nations asked for a delay...

    (pp. 65-80)

    All conferences come to an end, and so did the Geneva Naval Conference; the concern of the historian is how it happened. The enormously important problem of the limitation of arms, and, in 1927, the limitation specifically of naval arms, seemed to have a real chance of resolution in the 1920s; the first instance of this fortune had occurred in 1921-22 at Washington. The second, presumably, would take place at Geneva. The League of Nations was working feverishly on a somewhat larger program—the limitation of all arms, both on land and on sea. The League was pursuing this possibility...

    (pp. 81-105)

    The Geneva Conference of 1927 was disappointing generally to Americans, and especially so to many in Congress, who had been urging disarmament resolutions on presidents for years. It was dismaying also to many peace groups in the United States, Britain, and Japan, who, with varying success, began agitating for new disarmament measures. Between 1927 and 1930 these groups, especially in the United States, would go far in publicizing antiwar efforts, including disarmament.

    Discouraged by the failure of the Geneva Conference, Frederick J. Libby, head of the National Council for the Prevention of War (NCPW), decided that the duty of the...

  10. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 106-132)

    As conferences go, the London Conference of 1930 was not much different from its predecessors concerning naval limitation, except that, unlike those of 1921-22 and 1927, the meeting in London turned into fine technical discussions that then threaded themselves out into political subtleties. The London Conference was far more technical-political than its forebears. In that lies its fascination.

    The negotiators at London, one must add, almost certainly did not realize the extent to which their understanding of both the technicalities and the politics was incomplete. In technical issues, for example, the importance of airplanes was not yet fully understood. Aircraft...

    (pp. 133-155)

    The years after the London Naval Conference, so far as they concerned naval disarmament and general limitation of armaments, were a disappointing time for arms control advocates, for not much came of this once-heralded idea. Indeed, the apogee of arms limitation turned out to be the meetings in London. Thereafter the industrial nations of the world found themselves forced to deal with the Great Depression, the economic debacle that began with the crash of the New York stock market in 1929. Production worldwide dropped in bewildering ways, accompanied by increasing unemployment. By the time economies began to turn up a...

    (pp. 156-163)

    In one of his last speeches during the presidential campaign of 1932, Herbert Hoover listed the accomplishments of his administration and emphasized disarmament—he had sought it, he said, because of his experiences in the world war. Having been so involved with the war, he beheld a personal responsibility to prevent another such cataclysm. Surely here was one of the primary reasons, perhaps even the sole reason, for the fascination of statesmen and publics with the limitation of naval armaments during the 1920s.

    There was in addition the economic reason for taking interest in disarmament. At the outset of the...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 164-198)
    (pp. 199-213)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 214-226)