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Reconsidering disarmament at the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907

Webster, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-9727-9516 (2016) Reconsidering disarmament at the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907. In: War, Peace and International Order? The Legacies of The Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907, 19 April 2016, Auckland, New Zealand


The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 are generally considered to mark the opening of the modern era of efforts towards international disarmament, even though the actual product of both conferences fell far short of Tsar Nicholas’ declared ambition to check the steady growth of land armaments and armies. This paper will undertake a substantial reconsideration of the place of disarmament within the work and legacies of the Hague conferences, in particular examining the link between their very limited outcomes and the renewed efforts for disarmament that followed the First World War and indeed formed a core task of the new League of Nations. In seeking to transcend the lengthy historiographical tradition which dismisses entirely the importance of disarmament as an issue at the Hague conferences, the paper will instead argue that it should be seen as another area in which policymakers sought to embed elements of flexibility and restraint into the international system. In doing so, it will consider the extent of to which a substantive connection can be drawn between the Hague and Geneva disarmament ‘processes’, in terms of ideas, methods and people.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
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