peace congresses,multinational meetings to achieve or preserve peace and to prevent wars. Although philosophical and religious pacifismpacifism,
advocacy of opposition to war through individual or collective action against militarism. Although complete, enduring peace is the goal of all pacifism, the methods of achieving it differ.
..... Click the link for more information. is almost as old as war itself, organized efforts to outlaw war date only from the middle of the 19th cent. The term "peace congress" is applied to a meeting of diplomats to end specific wars by peace treaties, as well as to an international gathering convened to urge measures for preventing future wars. International efforts toward peace have concentrated on the following lines: the urging of international arbitrationarbitration, industrial,
method of settling disputes between two parties by seeking and accepting the decision of a third party. Arbritration differs from mediation in that the arbritrator does not attempt to find a compromise acceptable to the two parties, but decides in favor
..... Click the link for more information. and mediationmediation,
in law, type of intervention in which the disputing parties accept the offer of a third party to recommend a solution for their controversy. Mediation has long been a part of international law, frequently involving the use of an international commission, in a process
..... Click the link for more information. in disputes between nations; creation of an international organization, such as the League of Nations or the United Nations; development and codification of international law; extending the use and scope of the International Court of JusticeInternational Court of Justice,
principal judicial organ of the United Nations, established 1946 by chapter 14 of the UN Charter. It superseded the Permanent Court of International Justice (see World Court), and its statute for the most part repeats that of the former tribunal.
..... Click the link for more information. and endowing it with the necessary authority to enforce its decisions; and general disarmament by all nations.
Early Peace Congresses
The first international peace congress was held in London in 1843. Proposals were made for a congress of nations and for international arbitration; propaganda against war was urged, and the control of the manufacture and sale of arms and munitions was advocated. The second congress, known as the Universal Peace Congress, met in Brussels in 1848 and was followed by a series of such meetings in Paris, 1849; Frankfurt, 1850; and London, 1851. International peace activity was interrupted, first by the Crimean War and then by the U.S. Civil War.
In 1867, Charles Lemonnier convened a peace congress in Geneva known as the International League of Peace and Liberty; after the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) it reconvened (1873) in Brussels, and David Dudley Field's Proposals for an International Code formed the basis of discussion. In the Western Hemisphere the first Pan-American Conference met in 1889–90 (see Pan-AmericanismPan-Americanism,
movement toward commercial, social, economic, military, and political cooperation among the nations of North, Central, and South America. In the Nineteenth Century
..... Click the link for more information. ). Meeting at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the Universal Peace Congress, which had resumed in 1889, discussed plans for an International Court of Arbitration. In 1899 the court was established at The Hague by the first of the Hague ConferencesHague Conferences,
term for the International Peace Conference of 1899 (First Hague Conference) and the Second International Peace Conference of 1907 (Second Hague Conference). Both were called by Russia and met at The Hague, the Netherlands.
..... Click the link for more information. . The Second Hague Conference (1907) was concerned, like the first, with arbitration and disarmament.
The Period of the World Wars
By 1914 the court (see Hague TribunalHague Tribunal,
popular name for the Permanent Court of Arbitration established in 1899 by a convention of the First Hague Peace Conference to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states. Its headquarters are at The Hague, the Netherlands.
..... Click the link for more information. ) had successfully arbitrated 14 international disputes, but the outbreak of World War I disrupted the activities of all peace congresses, and it was not until 1919 that they were able to resume their work. It took another two years before the peace proposals of the 19th cent., incorporated in the Treaty of Versailles, bore fruit in the creation of two international organizations, the League of NationsLeague of Nations,
former international organization, established by the peace treaties that ended World War I. Like its successor, the United Nations, its purpose was the promotion of international peace and security.
..... Click the link for more information. at Geneva and the Permanent Court of International Justice (see World CourtWorld Court,
popular name of the Permanent Court of International Justice, established pursuant to Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The protocol establishing it was adopted by the Assembly of the League in 1920 and ratified by the requisite number of states
..... Click the link for more information. ) at The Hague.
After 1919 the chief international peace congresses were the annual meetings at Brussels of the International Federation of League of Nations Societies, which concerned themselves increasingly with disarmament. Throughout the 1920s peace congresses concentrated on urging countries to reduce their armed forces, and they influenced the holding of naval conferencesnaval conferences,
series of international assemblies, meeting to consider limitation of naval armaments, settlement of the rules of naval war, and allied issues. The London Naval Conference
..... Click the link for more information. at Washington, D.C. (1921–22) and London (1930). A series of bilateral and multilateral disarmament conferences finally led to the Kellogg-Briand PactKellogg-Briand Pact
, agreement, signed Aug. 27, 1928, condemning "recourse to war for the solution of international controversies." It is more properly known as the Pact of Paris. In June, 1927, Aristide Briand, foreign minister of France, proposed to the U.S.
..... Click the link for more information. , signed (1928) by 15 nations, which renounced war as an instrument of national policy. However, within three years Japan (a signatory to the pact) launched its undeclared war against Manchuria, and in 1935, Italy (another signatory) invaded Ethiopia; this was followed shortly by Germany's invasion (1939) of Poland and World War II.
Modern Peace Congresses
The horrors of World War II, with its aftermath of economic and social chaos and the invention of nuclear weapons, intensified worldwide movements for peace through the United NationsUnited Nations
(UN), international organization established immediately after World War II. It replaced the League of Nations. In 1945, when the UN was founded, there were 51 members; 193 nations are now members of the organization (see table entitled United Nations Members).
..... Click the link for more information. and increased the determination that the new international organization would succeed where the defunct League of Nations had failed. There now are a number of international peace organizations with the common goal of world peace; the most prominent of these is the International Peace BureauInternational Peace Bureau
(IPB), organization est. 1891 in Bern, Switerland, by Fredrik Bajer and other members of the third World Peace Congress. Dedicated to promoting world peace, it brought together various European pacifist groups and coordinated their activities.
..... Click the link for more information. , which was founded 1892 and reorganized in the early 1960s. Recent conferences include the 149-nation Paris meeting of the Geneva Committee (1989), which reaffirmed the ban on chemical agents in war and called for general and complete disarmament, and the Hague Appeal for Peace (1999), which marked the centennial of the first Hague Conference and focused on disarmament, conflict prevention and resolution, and human-rights issues.
See R. S. Baker, Woodrow Wilson and World Settlement (1960); F. A. Hinsley, Power and the Pursuit of Peace (1963); L. W. Doob, The Pursuit of Peace (1981); L. S. Wittner, Rebels against War: The American Peace Movement, 1933–1983 (1984).