Arms Control and Disarmament
Richard Dean Burns
Historians have been slow to grasp the significant, occasionally dominating, role that arms control negotiations played in Cold War diplomacy—a situation undoubtedly the result of the often mind-numbing technical aspects of these lengthy deliberations. In the prenuclear era, political disputes might spark threatening military buildups, but political dimensions remained the focus of subsequent negotiations. This changed after 1950 as weapons systems themselves took on a political character. "The arms race … was both a result of the Cold War and a cause," as the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev emphasized, "as it constantly provided new stimuli for continued rivalry." The arms control pacts that gradually emerged from various multilateral and bilateral negotiations helped neutralize the insecurities brought on by the constant arrival of new weapons systems. "The decision to reduce arms," Gorbachev concluded, "became an important step on the road to ending confrontation and creating healthier relations between East and West."
Arms control and disarmament agreements were traditionally designed to accomplish two essential purposes: to stabilize the military climate and to diminish the military violence in any subsequent hostilities. The various arrangements, which reduced, limited, and regulated armaments, provided a more stable international environment; but could not themselves resolve other threatening, contentious issues. Controlling armaments had to be coupled with diplomatic resolve so that in an atmosphere temporarily cleared of insecurities inspired by unregulated weaponry, statesmen might deal with critical political, social, and economic differences.
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Almond, Harry A. "Demilitarization and Arms Control: Antarctica." Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 17, no. 2 (1985): 229–284.
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Burns, Richard Dean, ed. Encyclopedia of Arms Control and Disarmament. 3 vols. New York, 1993.
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Kaufman, Robert G. Arms Control During the Pre-Nuclear Era: The United States and Naval Limitations Between the Two World Wars. New York, 1990.
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Kelleher, Catherine M., Jane M. O. Sharp, and Lawrence Freeman. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. The Hague, 1996.
Krass, Allan S. The Verification Revolution. Cambridge, Mass., 1989.
Krepon, Michael, and Dan Caldwell, eds. The Politics of Arms Control Treaty Ratification. New York, 1991. Reviews problems associated with achieving ratification of selected treaties negotiated from World War I to the end of the Cold War.
Krepon, Michael, and Mary Umberger, eds. Verification and Compliance: A Problem-Solving Approach. Cambridge, Mass., 1988.
Mandelbaum, Michael, ed. The Other Side of the Table: The Soviet Approach to Arms Control. New York, 1990.
May, Ernest R. "Lessons" of the Past: The Use and Misuse of History in American Foreign Policy. New York, 1973.
Meyer, David S. A Winter of Discontent: The Nuclear Freeze and American Politics. New York, 1990.
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Noel-Baker, Philip J. The First World Disarmament Conference, 1932–1933 and Why It Failed. Oxford and New York, 1979.
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Roberts, Brad, ed. Chemical Disarmament and U.S. Security. Boulder, Colo., 1992.
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Seaborg, Glenn T., with Benjamin S. Loeb. Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban. Berkeley, Calif., 1981.
——. Stemming the Tide: Arms Control in the Johnson Years. Lexington, Mass., 1987.
Sims, Nicholas Roger Alan. The Diplomacy of Biological Disarmament: Vicissitudes of a Treaty in Force. London, 1988.
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Talbott, Strobe. Endgame: The Inside Story of SALT II. New York, 1979.
——. Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control. New York, 1984.
——. The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace. New York, 1988. Survey of policymaking during the Reagan presidency.
Tate, Merze. The Disarmament Illusion: The Movement for a Limitation of Armaments to 1907. New York, 1942. Covers the Hague Conferences.
Tower, John G., James Brown, and William K. Cheek, eds. Verification: The Key to Arms Control in the 1990s. Washington, D.C., 1997.
Tsipis, Kosta, David W. Hafemeister, and Penny Janeway, eds. Arms Control Verification: The Technologies That Made It Possible. Washington, D.C., 1986.
United Nations. The United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, 1976–. New York, 1977–.
——. The United Nations and Disarmament, 1945–1985. 2 vols. New York, 1985. These two volumes are surprisingly comprehensive accounts.
——. The United Nations and Disarmament: A Short History. New York, 1988.
United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Arms Control and Disarmament Agreements. Washington, D.C., 1990.
Westing, Arthur H., ed. Environmental Warfare: A Technical, Legal and Policy Appraisal. London and Philadelphia, 1984.
Wheeler-Bennett, John W. Disarmament and Security Since Locarno, 1925–1931. London, 1932.
Wunsch, Charles R. "Environmental Modification Treaty." A.S.I.L.S. International Law Journal 4 (1980): 113–131. Also known as the Enmod Convention.
York, Herbert F. Race to Oblivion: A Participant's View of the Arms Race. New York, 1970. Interesting for its particular insights into science and politics.
See also Armed Neutralities ; Arms Transfers and Trade ; Balance of Power ; Cold War Evolution and Interpretations ; Cold War Origins ; Cold War Termination ; Deterrence ; North Atlantic Treaty Organization ; Nuclear Strategy and Diplomacy ; Outer Space ; Post–Cold War Policy ; Science and Technology ; Superpower Diplomacy ; Treaties .