Kellogg-Briand Pact

I have unofficially declared August 27 The Day of Good Ideas that Don’t Work (aka The Story of my Life). It marks the day in 1928 of the international agreement to “not use war to resolve disputes.” Called the Kellogg-Briand Pact for its sponsors US Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand, the agreement was concluded outside the League of Nations and is still in effect.

As a practical matter, the Kellogg–Briand Pact did not live up to its aim of ending war, and in this sense it made no immediate contribution to international peace. Moreover, the pact erased the legal distinction between war and peace because the signatories, having renounced the use of war, began to wage wars without declaring them as such.

Nevertheless, the pact is an important multilateral treaty because it has also served as one of the legal bases for demands of cessation of military action and grounds for the prosecution of individuals and states that use it. Notably, the pact served as the legal basis for the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Tokyo Tribunal.

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