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Arms Races in International PoliticsFrom the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century$
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Thomas Mahnken, Joseph Maiolo, and David Stevenson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735267

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735267.001.0001

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Land Armaments, 1919–1941

Land Armaments, 1919–1941

(p.69) 3 Land Armaments, 1919–1941
Arms Races in International Politics

Evan Mawdsley

Oxford University Press

The 1914–18 war engendered an international awareness of the dangers of another arms race; one response was the 1932–4 Geneva disarmament conference. In the late 1930s attempts to limit land armaments broke down. Technological drivers of renewed competition were less significant than for navies and air forces, at least until May 1940. Action-reaction drivers were not a key factor in the later 1920s, and for most of the 1930s. Domestic structures had greater weight, although the arms industry and inter-service rivalry were less important as causal factors in arms competition than expansionist/revisionist national programmes. In the outbreak of general war in 1939/1941 ideology was more important than the ‘arms race’, in contrast to what happened before 1914. Opting out of the competition did not bring greater security, but neither did active participation.

Keywords:   arms race, armies, disarmament, ideology, Second World War

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