THE ADVOCATE 941
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
This was not lost on governments. The Locarno agreement was signed.
The Kellogg-Briand agreement was signed. The Locarno agreement guaranteed
the borders of Europe, demilitarized the Rhineland and committed the
signatories to peaceful settlement of disputes. The Kellogg-Briand Pact was
more impressive: over 40 nations signed, denouncing war and agreeing to
settle disputes peacefully. More importantly, the leaders toyed with new
and innovative approaches to peace. One proposal was to have an international
court decide who was an aggressor nation and commit all other
nations to enforce such a court order. These are just some of the examples.
What is impressive about this time is the commitment of the populace and
politicians to the peace processes. Equally, sophistication was exhibited.
There was realization that peace could not be achieved without national
security interests being dealt with.
In such a climate, there were attempts at disarmament. Germany was
disarmed, and the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War committed
all nations to disarmament. There were various disarmament proposals
and arms control agreements entered into.
The Washington Naval Agreement signed by the great powers in the early
’20s limited the number of battleships and other naval craft. Over 70 warships
were ultimately destroyed under the treaty. One of the most promising
treaties, the Geneva Protocol on Gas Warfare of 1925, was signed
prohibiting the use of gas and biological weapons as methods of warfare.
The genie of terror weapons was put back in the bottle.
With active peace movements, with disarmament and peace conferences,
with arms control agreements, an enlightened period of world peace
seemed assured. Surely mankind had reached a golden era. Yet, World War
II broke out, and a new terror weapon was developed: the nuclear bomb.
What went wrong? In the ’30s, the whole process began to break down.
The disarmament conferences bogged down; the existing arms treaty
unravelled; the major military powers failed to reach political accommodation:
namely, a true guarantee of security for all and justice for all. This
political accommodation is a pre-condition for peace.
The European theatre is a good illustration of this process. Germany was
disarmed. Her democratic government sought not only equal disarmament
from her neighbours, particularly France, but also justice from the harsh
treatment of the Treaty of Versailles. She was willing to accept the existing
The U.K. and the U.S., protected by the English Channel and the Atlantic
Ocean, were willing to sign a disarmament treaty. But both these countries
were given security by geography.