Disarmament as an Approach to Peace



The concept of disarmament — a term which is used here to include the limitation, control, and reduction of the human and material instrumentalities of warfare as well as their literal abolition — has occupied a prominent place in the thinking of persons concerned with world peace for more than a century and a half. Immanuel Kant included the elimination of standing armies as the third of his ‘Preliminary Articles of Perpetual Peace Between States’,1 and the nineteenth century was marked by the development in many countries of a considerable body of support for the idea of disarmament. The conclusion of the Rush-Bagot agreement of 1817, whereby the United States and Britain laid the foundations for the remarkable policy of non-militarisation of the Canadian-American frontier, signified the intrusion of the idea into the realm of practical statesmanship. On various occasions during the century governmental leaders expressed interest in disarmament, and the concept achieved an unprecedented degree of official international notice when Tsar Nicholas II cited its realisation as one of the major objectives of the first Hague Conference, in his celebrated Rescript of 24 August 1898. Thus, disarmament became a part of the stock of ideas bequeathed to the twentieth century by the nineteenth.2


Military Establishment Collective Security National Power Military Strength United Nations Charter 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1970

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