Geneva Conference (1932)

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The Second Geneva Naval Conference was a conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1932, to discuss naval arms limitation. It succeeded a disarmament conference, the Geneva Naval Conference, in 1927.[1]

Apart from naval disarmaments, a reduction in land forces and limits on weapons were also discussed at the conference.

Thirty-one nations, including the United States, USSR and Germany, came to the conference seeking a reduction in general arms. Some progress was made but, when Hitler came into power in 1933, he took Germany out of the Geneva Conference and the League of Nations.

The US ambassador to Belgium and minister to Switzerland and conference delegate, Hugh S Gibson, had observed not long after the London Conference, the United States had decreased interest in the new conference because treaties already limited its navy, its army was so small that reduction was ludicrous, and the proposed measures of air limitation were so vague that they meant little. Gibson wrote that the conference would "probably meet in February or March 1932 and, discouraging as it may sound, it will probably go on and on." He had come to believe that armaments would never be abolished completely but that treaties could perhaps maintain military balances.

US Secretary of State Henry L Stimson later wrote that Americans regarded the Geneva Conference as "a European peace conference with European political questions to be settled. The necessary work of settling them must be done by the leaders of Europe." Stimsom realized that Germany's position in European affairs could not be ignored as it had been at Geneva in 1927 or at London in 1930, but he did not know how to reconcile German military ambition with French fear of its neighbor. Stimson therefore hoped the Europeans might find a solution. The secretary also hesitated over further naval disarmament because of the Manchurian crisis; in particular he worried whether the navy possessed enough carriers for possible action in the Far East.[2]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Olson, James Stuart (2001). Historical dictionary of the Great Depression, 1929-1940. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 0-313-30618-4.
  2. ^ Fanning, Richard W. (1995). Peace and disarmament: naval rivalry & arms control, 1922-1933. University Press of Kentucky. p. 150.