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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: December 2019

15 - The Cold War History of the Landmines Convention

from Part II - The Generative/Productive Cold War


This chapter has attempted to explore three ideas. First, that there was in fact considerable work and effort invested in regulating and prohibiting landmines since the end of the Second World War, and the 1997 treaty in large part rested on that earlier work. Indeed, the success of the Landmines Convention cannot be properly understood without this historical context. Second, the longer history in turn reveals an important story of the developing world actively engaged in pursuing limits on indiscriminate weapons, and actively engaged in the pursuit of disarmament. While this changed across time as the developing world itself fractured and shifted, it remains an important part of the story of disarmament efforts in the Cold War, much of which has yet to be explored. Finally, the story exposes the fallacy that ‘humanitarian disarmament’ is a creature of the post–Cold War era in the sense that especially from the South (but generally as well), there was deep and abiding concern about the humanitarian impacts of indiscriminate weapons.

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