Demilitarisation or demilitarization is the reduction of a nation's army, weapons, or military vehicles to an agreed minimum. Demilitarisation is usually the result of a peace treaty ending a war or a major conflict.

Demilitarisation was a policy in a number of countries after both world wars. After the First World War the United Kingdom greatly reduced its military strength. This caused the country to be in a position of weakness during the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany and led to the policy of appeasement.

Other factors also contributed to the development of appeasement, such as the personalities of U.K. leaders and the ideals they held, as well as the desire not to repeat the horrors of World War I.

It can be the demilitarisation of a corps that from a military or paramilitary force becomes a civilian one. For example the Italian Police demilitarised in 1981, or the Austrian Gendarmerie merged with the national police making up a new civilian body.

Demilitarisation can also refer to the policies employed by the Allied forces occupying Germany and Japan after World War II.[1] The Japanese and German militaries were re-badged to disassociate them from their recent war history, but were kept active and reinforced to help the allies face the new Soviet threat that had become evident as World War 2 ended, and the Cold War began.

Demilitarisation can also refer to the reduction of one or more types of weapons or weapons systems. See Arms Control

It can also refer to the demilitarisation of a specific area, such as a buffer zone between nations previously engaged in armed conflict, see demilitarised zone.

Examples of demilitarisation include:

  • The Treaty of Versailles barred post–World War I Germany from having an air force, armoured vehicles, and certain types of naval vessels. In addition, it established a demilitarised zone in the Rhineland.
  • The massive reductions of military personnel in the Allied countries, following World War I.
  • The Washington Naval Treaty
  • The demilitarisation of life in post–World War II Japan and Germany.
  • The Chemical Weapons Convention


See also

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