Renunciation of War

Renunciation of War

President Calvin Coolidge, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, and Secretary of State Frank Kellogg (all three standing), with representatives of the governments that ratified the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a formal renunciation of war. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
President Calvin Coolidge, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, and Secretary of State Frank Kellogg (all three standing), with representatives of the governments that ratified the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a formal renunciation of war.

Although International Law makes some distinction between a just and an unjust war, state practice until the conclusion of World War I had generally disregarded that distinction and maintained war as a legitimate means of resolving disputes or increasing the power of the state. Recognized methods for resolving disputes peacefully did exist, however; under the Covenant of the League of Nations, for example, member states promised to utilize such methods before resorting to war.

Formal rejection of war as a means of national policy for settling controversies came in 1928 with the conclusion of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Titled the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War, the Kellogg-Briand Pact obligated signatories to abandon force in favor of negotiation, Arbitration, mediation, or other methods of settling disputes peacefully. Although the signatories renounced war with each other, the Kellogg-Briand Pact still permitted war for Self-Defense, for collective enforcement of international obligations, between signatories and nonparty states, and against a signatory that had derogated its obligations under the treaty by going to war.

The United Nations Charter, which has had broader acceptance than the Kellogg-Briand Pact, carries the aims of the pact further by prohibiting the use of force or even the threat of force. The charter also attempts to impose these obligations on nonmembers in Article 2(6).


Mediation; International Law.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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