Building world peace

The United States of America stayed out of the League of Nations but was involved in drafting the international treaties that established peace. The Allied victors confirmed the western German border, which was delineated in the Treaty of Versailles, with new agreements signed with Germany. The Western states considered the Soviet Union, with its world revolutionary propaganda, to be their biggest threat. In turn, the Soviet Union sought to establish a system of agreements at its western border that would prevent a possible attack by the United Kingdom and France. Many countries began to reduce their armed forces.

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Treaty of Rapallo 1922

The Western countries ostracised Germany and Russia after the First World War. The former had lost the war. Russia had initially joined the war as one of the Allies but ended its involvement in the war after the October Revolution by the Bolsheviks in 1917. The country’s new ruling power propagated a world revolution in the West. Germany and the Russian SFSR sought support from each other. The two states signed a treaty of friendship and mutual assistance in the city of Rapallo on 16 April 1922.

Geneva Protocol 1924

On 2 October 1924, the General Assembly of the League of Nations approved a proposal known as the Geneva Protocol, which recommended outlawing wars of aggression. All disputes would be settled by international bodies. The member states were obligated to participate in sanctions imposed by the League of Nations against an aggressor.

Locarno Treaties 1925

In agreements signed in Locarno on 16 October 1925, Germany agreed to maintain the integrity of its western borders. This improved Germany’s relationship with the Allied victors. The following year, Germany was accepted as a member of the League of Nations. Germany did not allow its improved relationship with the Allied victors to weaken its cooperation with the Soviet Union. Germany and the Soviet Union reaffirmed the Treaty of Rapallo with a new treaty, signed in Berlin on 24 April 1926.

Kellogg–Briand Pact 1928

Named after the foreign ministers of France and the United States, the Kellogg–Briand Pact was signed by 15 states in August 1928. The pact renounced war as an instrument of national policy and as a settler of international conflicts. Disputes and conflicts were to be resolved with peaceful means. The pact came into effect a year later, after being ratified by all its signatories. More than 50 states later joined the pact.

The Soviet–Finnish Non-Aggression Pact of 1932

The Soviet Union sought to secure its western border from possible attacks by the United Kingdom or France by signing agreements with its neighbouring countries. Finland wanted to stay out of such an agreement system, but signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union in 1932.

Disarmament in Europe

Excluding Finland, the Nordic countries began to radically reduce their armed forces after the mid-1920s. The Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) made a defence decision in May 1925. It came into effect in January 1928. In accordance with the decision, the Army’s wartime and peacetime troops were reduced significantly. The 1925 defence decision remained in effect until 1936, when the Swedish Riksdag made a new defence decision. It required the number of wartime and peacetime troops to be increased.

Ari Raunio