DISARMAMENT WEEK – Week of October 24
Every year, beginning on October 24th, Disarmament Week raises awareness about the dangers of the arms race. During the week, the UN urges Member States to advance international peace and security by eliminating nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
An arms race is defined as a pattern of competitive acquisition of military capability between two or more countries. The competitive nature of an arms race reflects an adversarial relationship. Since the 20th century, two major arms races have occurred. The first was between Germany and Britain prior to WWI. Germany was a rising power who sought to challenge the UK’s naval dominance. Historians believe this arms race helped to start the Great War.
The second major arms race of the 20th century occurred between the United States and Soviet Union. This nuclear arms race is often referred to as the Cold War. This arms race is believed to be the most expensive and largest arms race in history. By 1967, the U.S. had acquired more than 31,000 warheads. Twenty years later, the Soviets had more than 40,000 warheads.
This arms race officially ended in the 1990s. Despite this fact, these two countries still have 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads. The United States has 6,185 and the Soviet Union has 6,490. Even more concerning is that as of 2019, many believe another nuclear arms race began. This current arms race involves China, North Korea, and Iran. Experts say this arms race will lead to a more dangerous and unstable environment. The arms race could also cause unwanted conflicts and the demand for increased military spending.
Despite this current arms race, many regions of the world are developing nuclear-weapon-free-zones. These regions include the South Pacific, Africa, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Antarctic.
HOW TO OBSERVE #DisarmamentWeek
During this week the United Nations primarily focuses on nuclear disarmament. They also encourage disarmament efforts in the area of land mines, small arms, and other types of conventional weapons.
To participate in the week learn more about the importance of the disarmament of nuclear weapons. You can also watch CNN’s Cold War documentary. Spread awareness for the week on social media with #DisarmamentWeek
DISARMAMENT WEEK HISTORY
Disarmament Week was established in 1978. That year, The Final Document of the General Assembly’s special session called Member States to abandon the use of force in international relations and seek security in disarmament. In 1995, the UN invited the government and NGOs to take an active part in Disarmament Week. It has been the goal ever since to create a better understanding of disarmament issues for the general public. The week begins on October 24th, which is the anniversary of the United Nations, which was formed in 1945.