The Failure of Disarmament

  • Edward M. Spiers
Chapter

Abstract

German acceptance of the Armistice on 11 November 1918 occasioned immense relief from war-weary peoples and widespread hope that peace could now be secured on a lasting basis. President Woodrow Wilson, having led the United States into a ‘war to end war’, cherished the expectation of realising a permanent peace. Once the war had ended he envisaged the creation of a new international order, rooted in a League of Nations, which would be able to guarantee the rights and peace of all nations, whether large or small. At the peace conference in Versailles (1919), he gained the endorsement of the concept, with some modifications, by the other victorious powers and the approval of a Covenant which committed the League to see ‘the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety’ (Article 8). This initiative, coupled with the drastic reduction of the German war machine, including its chemical capability (Versailles Treaty, Article 171), seemed to portend a new era in international relations. At the very least, it required each of the major nations to reassess its policy on chemical warfare.

Keywords

Arsenic Chlorine Explosive Assimilation Sewage 

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Notes and References

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© Edward M. Spiers 1986

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  • Edward M. Spiers

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