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End to All War? The Kellogg-Briand Pact

The unlikely solution to end war, stop it before it begins, was the intention of the Kellogg Briand pact of 1928.

Also known as the “Pact of Paris” for its signatory city, the Kellogg-Briand pact was an agreement between nations who agreed that war was no longer a viable option as a dispute resolution mechanism. In order to enforce the ideals, states which engaged in warfare- failing to keep the promise- “should be denied of the benefits furnished by this treaty”.

Initially, the pact was signed by Germany, France and the United States on the 27th of August, 1928. Other nations joined soon thereafter, going into effect officially on July 24th 1929. The document’s primary authors were US Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Brand.

American Isolationism

Unintended effects of the agreement ensued. Arguably, America’s involvement in the pact led to ideals of American Isolationism. Today, many other treaties reverberate the sentiment of Kellogg-Briand, notably the UN Charter.

The horrors of World War I drove the American public and officials to support various isolationist policies, which ensured that the US would never again be drawn in to a foreign war. These initiatives included international disarmament agreements, participation in multinational peacekeeping coalitions, and involvement in the World Court (now known as the ICJ). Additionally, American peace advocates created affiliated organizations for the prevention of war. Today, some of the longstanding organizations include the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

France’s Involvement

The French, suffering horribly from World War I, attempted to form friendly alliances with their neighbors. This was to bolster defenses against their German neighbors. Although the initial pact only outlawed war between France and the US, the final version encouraged the participation of many countries with two clauses:

All signatory nations agreed to outlaw war as an instrument of their national policy.
All signatory nations agreed to settle their disputes only by peaceful means.

The pact did not stop wars however, and the eruption of world war 2 soon after solidified that sentiment. The US’ latent entrance to the war was an effect of their admission to the pact.

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