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A report of a panel of consultants on disarmament of the Secretary of State, January 1953
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the blast of nuclear weapons launched by the United States instantly killed 40,000 people in Nagasaki and almost 100,000 people in Hiroshima in the only time a nation has used such monstrous force against another. Since the first atomic test explosion, the Earth has been blasted by nuclear tests 2,045 times.
Because weapons of mass destruction raise serious moral and practical issues, they have long been the focus of international treaties and agreements aimed to control their possession, development, and use.
The international community and the United Nations have done much in the past six decades to deter another catastrophic nuclear atrocity. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force in 1970, and by 2002 there were 187 parties, making it a virtually universal ban on nuclear testing. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) entered into force on December 5, 1994.
World Book Online Reference Center, 2006.
Chemical and biological have long since been discarded from use in the battlefield. Ever since the horrors of World War I, the nations of the world have predominantly agreed not to use chemical and biological weapons. The first real treaty opposing such use was the Geneva Protocol of 1925. Since then, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention have established safeguards on the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.
"...Every weapon that's ever been invented in history does get used eventually, maybe not immediately but eventually someone finds a rationale to use them..." - listen
Reverend Robert Moore, Executive Director, Coalition for Peace Action
Early Arms Control Agreements
Strasbourg Agreement - 1675 - Chemical (poison bullets)
The Strasbourg Agreement of 1675 was the first agreement to ban poison bullets. It was an accord between France and Germany.
Brussels Convention on the Law and Customs of War - 1874 - Chemical
The Brussels Declaration of 1874 was the first multilateral accord to address the use of chemical weapons.
1st Hague Peace Conference - 1899 - Chemical
The Hague Gas Declaration of 1899 issued by the first Hague peace conference banned "the use of projectiles, the sole object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases."
2nd Hague Peace Conference - 1907 - Chemical
The second Hague conference went much further than the first. Article 23 of the Annex of Convention IV prohibited the use of poisonous weapons. However, many nations still felt that this prohibition did not apply to gas weapons since the ban on gas weapons was made during the first conference.
Treaty of Versailles - 1919 - Chemical
Article 171, Treaty of Versailles
Washington Treaty on Use of Submarines and Gases in Wartime - 1922 - Chemical
Article V of the Washington Treaty prohibited the use of chemical weapons. The treaty was signed in February 1922 by Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States. It failed when the French legislature refused to ratify it.
Modern Arms Control Treaties
|Name of Treaty / Convention||Year||Type of WMD|
|1.||Geneva Protocol of 1925||1925||Chemical and Biological|
|2.||Partial Test Ban Treaty||1963||Nuclear|
|3.||Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)||1968||Nuclear|
|4.||Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I and II)||1969||Nuclear|
|5.||Outer Space Treaty||1967||Nuclear|
|6.||Threshold Test Ban Treaty||1974||Nuclear|
|7.||Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty||1976||Nuclear|
|8.||Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention||1972||Biological|
|9.||Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW)||1980||Landmines, Lasers, etc.|
|10.||Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF)||1987||Nuclear|
|11.||Stategic Arms Reduction Treaty I and II (START I and II)||1991||Nuclear|
|12.||Chemical Weapons Convention||1993||Chemical|
|13.||Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)||1996||Nuclear|
|14.||Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT)||2002||Nuclear|
- “Chemical Weapons and the Chemical Weapons Convention.” DFAIT . 12 Dec. 2002. 7 Mar. 2006. <http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/arms/chem_bio3-en.asp>.
- Dudley, William. Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: Weapons of Mass Destruction. Farmington Hills: Gale, 2005. p11.
- “Geneva Protocol.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 6 Mar. 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Protocol>.
- Gold, Susan. Arms Control. New York: Twenty-First Century Books, 1997.
- Moore, Robert. Coalition for Peace Action. Personal Interview. 11 Apr. 2006. To view our notes of the interview, click here.
- “Nuclear Test Ban.” Issues and Controversies on File. 12 Sept 2005.
- “Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.” DTRAlink. 6 Mar. 2006 <http://www.dtra.mil/press_resources/fact_sheets/display.cfm?fs=start>.
- “Treaty on the Non-proliferations of Nuclear Weapons.” UNDDA. UN Department for Disarmament Affairs. 5 Mar. 2006. <http://www.un.org/Depts/dda/WMD/treaty/>.
- Vogele, William B. "Arms control." World Book Online Reference Center. 2006.
6 Mar 2006.