League of Nations - Disarmament Conference
The League of Nations was established as part of the Paris Peace Treaties that concluded the First World War. This organisation was the brainchild of Woodrow Wilson, the American President and was listed as one of his '14 points' for peace. One of the stated aims of the League of Nations was disarmament, in order to prevent aggression between nations. In 1923 the League drafted its first disarmament treaty but Britain refused to agree to it, for fear of committing to foreign affairs troops which were needed to defend the Empire. So a formal Disarmament Conference didn't convene until 1932, by which time the climate of European affairs had changed significantly from the peace-seeking early 1920s. Nevertheless, the Conference looked promising, comprising not only of League members but also Russia and the USA. By July 1932 the Conference had passed resolutions including: no bombing of civilians, limits on the size of artillery, limits on the tonnage of tanks and outlawing chemical warfare - but there were no decisions on how these resolutions were to be achieved. The biggest issue facing the conference was Germany, disarmed under the TOV: should Germany be allowed to re-arm to the level of its European neighbours, or should the rest of the Conference disarm to Germany's level? Britain was reluctant to disarm. Then, in 1933 Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and began to rearm in secret. Britain appeared finally to recognise the threat and began serious negotiations on disarmament. Nevertheless, Hitler withdrew Germany from the Conference and then from the League. By 1934 Germany's rearmament programme was an open secret, prompting other nations to rearm also. The Conference crumbled.
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