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Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons. Disarmament generally refers to a country's military or specific type of weaponry. Disarmament is often taken to mean total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms. General and Complete Disarmament refers to the removal of all weaponry, including conventional arms.[1]


Definitions of disarmament

Disarmament can be contrasted with arms control, which essentially refers to the act of controlling arms rather than eliminating them. A distinction can also be made between disarmament as a process (the process of eliminating weapons), and disarmament as an end state (the absence of weapons). Disarmament has also come to be associated with two things:[citation needed]

  • Nuclear disarmament, referring to the elimination of nuclear weapons.
  • Unilateral disarmament, the elimination of weapons outside of the framework of an international agreement, i.e., they are not bound by a treaty such as START.

Philosophically, disarmament may be viewed as a form of demilitarization; part of an economic, political, technical, and military process to reduce and eliminate weapons systems. Thus, disarmament may be part of a set of other strategies, like economic conversion, which aim to reduce the power of war making institutions and associated constituencies.


An example on the feasibility of the elimination of weapons is the policy of gradual reduction of guns in Japan during the Tokugawa shogunate. In two centuries, Japan passed from being the country with more guns per capita to producing (or importing) none.[citation needed]

Disarmament conferences and treaties


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