Washington Naval Agreements (1921-22)
Between 1921 and 1922, the world`s largest maritime powers met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the disarmament of the navy and ways to ease the growing tensions in East Asia. In announcing the intention to reduce the U.S. fleet, Hughes hoped to use diplomacy at the conference to support U.S. goals in East Asia and the Western Pacific, with objectives such as “Naval Disarmament; a new security structure that replaced the Anglo-Japanese alliance; and the anchoring of open-door policy in international law. 3 Hughes` proposal for “surprise” even stunned the head of the British delegation, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour, and forced him to “literally define his country`s policy while waiting to respond.” 4  The United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and China participated in the conference. The “Treaty of Nine Powers” dealt with the interests of Western nations and Japan in China. The Treaty on Naval Arms Control was the “Treaty of Five Powers signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France and Italy. Signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and France, the “four-power treaty” replaced the alliance between the United Kingdom and Japan in 1902 and attempted to take into account the interests of these nations in East Asia. See “The Washington Naval Conference, 1921-1922,” Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, United States Department of State, seen July 28, 2017, history.state.gov/milestones/1921-1936/naval-conference Many books will be published on this subject in 2014, the centenary of the Great Way. My personal studies focus on military, political and strategic studies of the British Empire and how it was lost. The costs associated with the First World War are certainly talking about the financial burdens for Empire.
This is how I was led to this book by another, who had suggested that the maritime agreements signed at this post-war conference damaged in several ways Britain`s ability to maintain its maritime power relative to its competitors, thus undermining the British Empire. The suggestion in my mind was that the conference had been a trigger that led in one way or another to the fall of the Empire. After reading the book and the context of the story, I do not think that the naval restrictions agreed by Great Britain, the United States, Japan and other states have undermined the British Empire. In fact, the British Empire was already in serious trouble. The United Kingdom owed the United States massive debts of the Great War, and its economy was not in shape to build any navy competitor. The United States, which has quickly become the dominant world nation of trade, may even have struggled to swallow the burden of overcoming Britain`s current hegemony over the sea in a short time. Even Japan would have had a hard time building its own fleet to counter the United States in Asia.