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.
- Genuine disarmament will not come on its own or by platitudes at special sessions of the United Nations on disarmament, although, I was among the first to propose such a conference eighteen years ago.
- Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, letter to his daughter, Benazir Bhutto (June 21, 1978), as published in My Dearest Daughter : A letter from the Death Cell (2007), p. 28.
- Once upon a time all the animals in the zoo decided that they would disarm, and they arranged to have a conference to arrange the matter. So the Rhinoceros said when he opened the proceedings that the use of teeth was barbarous and horrible and ought to be strictly prohibited by general consent. Horns, which were mainly defensive weapons, would, of course, have to be allowed. The Buffalo, the Stag, the Porcupine, and even the little Hedgehog all said they would vote with the Rhino, but the Lion and the Tiger took a different view. They defended teeth and even claws, which they described as honourable weapons of immemorial antiquity. The Panther, the Leopard, the Puma, and the whole tribe of small cats all supported the Lion and the Tiger. Then the Bear spoke. He proposed that both teeth and horns should be banned and never used again for fighting by any animal. It would be quite enough if animals were allowed to give each other a good hug when they quarreled. No one could object to that. It was so fraternal, and that would be a great step towards peace. However, all the other animals were very offended with the Bear, and the Turkey fell into a perfect panic.
The discussion got so hot and angry, and all those animals began thinking so much about horns and teeth and hugging when they argued about the peaceful intentions that had brought them together that they began to look at one another in a very nasty way. Luckily the keepers were able to calm them down and persuade them to go back quietly to their cages, and they began to feel quite friendly with one another again.
- Winston Churchill, speech, Aldersbrook, England (October 24, 1928), in Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963 (1974), vol. 5, p. 4521.
- Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war--as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years--I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, (17 January 1961)
- As long as some of us choose to rely on nuclear weapons, we continue to risk that these same weapons will become increasingly attractive to others.
I have no doubt that, if we hope to escape self-destruction, then nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security.
To that end, we must ensure — absolutely — that no more countries acquire these deadly weapons.
We must see to it that nuclear-weapon states take concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament.
And we must put in place a security system that does not rely on nuclear deterrence.
- Only four countries in history have surrendered their nuclear weapons. And three of those countries—Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine—did so with nuclear arms that they inherited from the defunct Soviet Union, and didn’t have the wherewithal to control and maintain. (The decision to dispose of this weaponry, in exchange for support from the United States and security assurances from Russia, is still remarkable; had Ukraine and Kazakhstan kept the arsenals on their territory, they would have become the world’s third- and fourth-largest nuclear powers, respectively.) Only South Africa has dismantled nuclear weapons that it constructed and controlled. In this sense, it is the closest analogue to what U.S. officials have in mind when they demand the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
- Uri Friedman: Why did the South African government, in the mid-1970s, decide to embark on a nuclear-weapons program?
- F.W. de Klerk: The main motivation was the expansionist policies of the U.S.S.R. in southern Africa. They were supporting all the [African] liberation movements—they were supplying weapons and training—and it was part of their vision to gain direct or indirect control over most of the countries in southern Africa. They financed the deployment of many thousands of Cuban troops, especially to Angola, and this was interpreted as a threat first by Prime Minister John Vorster, and following upon him P.W. Botha. [The nuclear arsenal] was never intended, I think, to be used. It was a deterrent. Because of apartheid South Africa was becoming more and more isolated in the eyes of the rest of the world. There wouldn’t be, in the case of Russian aggression or invasion, assistance from the international community. It was felt that, if we have nuclear weapons, and if we then would disclose in a crisis that we have [them], it would change the political scenario and the U.S.A. and other [Western] countries might step in and assist South Africa.
- Friedman: In an op-ed in 2013 in the Los Angeles Times, you wrote, “South Africa has illustrated that long-term security can be far better assured by the abrogation of nuclear weapons than by their retention.” It seems that Kim Jong Un of North Korea has, at least according to his propaganda, learned the opposite lesson: that if you’re [Libya’s Muammar] Qaddafi or Saddam [Hussein in Iraq] and you give up your [pursuit of] nuclear weapons, you reduce your security [and bring about your demise at the hands of the U.S. and its allies]. Or if you’re Ukraine and you sign up to the Budapest Memorandum, and then Russia two decades later invades you, that you’ve actually given up security by relinquishing nuclear weapons.
- De Klerk: I still agree with [what I wrote]. Ultimately, the world will be safe only when all the nuclear states follow South Africa’s example and dismantle their nuclear weapons.
- F.W. de Klerk as interviewed by Uri Friedman, "Why One President Gave Up His Country's Nukes". The Atlantic, (9 September 2017).
- Disarmament without checks is but a shadow--and a community without law is but a shell.
- Disarmament is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society; consequently, disarmament will be achieved. But whoever expects that socialism will be achieved without a social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a socialist. Dictatorship is state power based directly on violence. And in the twentieth century — as in the age of civilisation generally — violence means neither a fist nor a club, but troops. To put “disarmament” in the programme is tantamount to making the general declaration: We are opposed to the use of arms. There is as little Marxism in this as there would be if we were to say: We are opposed to violence!
- Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, three states of the former Soviet Union that have nuclear arms on their territory, formally agreed with the United States and Russia today to give up those weapons by the end of the decade and not to seek nuclear arms again. In a wordless, austere ceremony in the barroom of a Lisbon hotel, Secretary of State James A. Baker III and officials of Russia and the three other nuclear-armed former Soviet republics signed a protocol, or legal supplement, to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), pledging to carry out its terms. They thus laid the groundwork for ratification of the landmark START treaty and for permitting negotiations to go ahead between the United States and Russia for deeper cutbacks in nuclear arms. The full significance of the occasion, which took months of difficult negotiation to arrange, went far beyond the pale legalism of the six-page documents the diplomats signed. Today's ceremony was a hard-won milestone in a mostly invisible, yet intense diplomatic struggle to maintain control over the world's largest and most awesome array of long-range nuclear weapons, as the Soviet Union, the nation that created and held them during the decades of the Cold War, splintered into more than a dozen parts.
- Don Oberdorfer, “3 EX-SOVIET STATES TO GIVE UP A-ARMS”, Washington Post, May 24, 1992
- Disarmament has become the urgent imperative of our time. I do not say this because I equate the absence of arms to peace, or because I believe that bringing an end to the nuclear arms race automatically guarantees the peace, or because the elimination of nuclear warheads from the arsenals of the world will bring in its wake that change in attitude requisite to the peaceful settlement of disputes between nations. Disarmament is vital today, quite simply, because of the immense destructive capacity of which men dispose.
- Haile Selassie I, Address to the United Nations General Assembly (October 4, 1963).
- Were a real and effective disarmament achieved and the funds now spent in the arms race devoted to the amelioration of man's state; were we to concentrate only on the peaceful uses of nuclear knowledge, how vastly and in how short a time might we change the conditions of mankind. This should be our goal.
- Haile Selassie I, Address to the United Nations General Assembly (October 4, 1963).