Humans have wielded weapons since the beginning of recorded history, both against other humans and the beasts that threatened them or provided them sustenance. With the rise of the modern nation-state, every nation accumulated weapons for waging wars with other nations, or for deterring them. But not until the 20th century, with the proliferation of new ideas and extraordinarily destructive weapons, did nations seek to regulate the accumulation of armaments. In the aftermath of World War I, the victorious powers imposed stringent limitations on German armaments and agreed with one another to limit their naval weaponry in the hope of forestalling arms races and avoiding another major war. These efforts failed to prevent the rearmament of Germany and the revival of arms races among the great powers in the 1930s, which, in turn, led to World War II. In the aftermath of World War II, fear of nuclear holocaust led the great powers to concentrate on limitation of nuclear weapons, with results that remain hotly disputed among historians. Other forms of arms control have also proliferated since that time. Biological and chemical weapons have been the subject of numerous treaties. During and after some low-intensity insurgencies, foreign powers and indigenous governments have sought to remove small arms from the population as a means of reducing violence.
Article. 7145 words.
Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History
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