It ended nearly 75 years ago. Not with a bang, but with a shrug. On 15 January 1936, Japanese delegates walked out of negotiations at the Second London Naval Conference. That act guaranteed that an era of naval arms limitation born at Washington, D.C., nearly 15 years earlier would soon die.
At the time, no one seemed terribly troubled by that development. For months Tokyo had been emitting signals that Japan was no longer willing to abide by previously agreed-on limitations in naval strength. American and British leaders, convinced they could triumph over Japan in any subsequent arms race, did not sound alarms. Newspaper editorial writers did not wring their hands. The Washington Post found “no cause for excitement” in what had occurred, and the Los Angeles Times cheerily proclaimed, “So now for a naval race!”1 No one then foresaw what historian Stephen Pelz recognized 40 years later: The failure of the Second London Naval Conference marked the beginning of a naval race that would culminate at Pearl Harbor.2
Why was that so? Why did statesmen and admirals fail to reach agreement in 1936 while their predecessors had succeeded in the past? How, indeed, had the naval arms limitation regime come into being and changed over time? What difference did its treaties make for the nations and navies that fought the Pacific war?
Prelude to an Era of Restraint
It all began with two speeches in November 1921. On the 11th, Armistice Day, President Warren G. Harding dedicated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery with somber words. War, he intoned, “must never happen again.” The next day, in the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Memorial Continental Hall in Washington, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes spoke shocking words at the first session of the International Conference on Naval Limitation. The time had come for nations to stop building new capital ships, scrap existing ones that he specified, and limit their fleets to a particular ratio that he spelled out. The President’s speech had looked back to the war that created the circumstances that brought statesmen and admirals to Washington. His chief diplomat’s words pointed ahead to the possibility of creating a new, more peaceful world order.3
World War I shattered the old international political and economic order and challenged the assumptions about navies that undergirded it. In 1914 there were eight great powers. All possessed powerful fleets. Admirals, politicians, and ordinary citizens believed that the battleships at their cores must constantly be increased and modernized as deterrents to war or as instruments of victory.
By 1921 only five nations were great powers. Germany and Austria-Hungary had suffered defeat, and Russia had collapsed into civil war. The three remaining European powers had exhausted themselves by fighting a war that ended short of absolute victory. The United States and Japan rose to new heights of power and pride. But in the first postwar years, a cloud of economic uncertainty, marked by food shortages, strikes, and recessions, hung over all the surviving great powers.
The war provided the impetus for building more battleships and bigger fleets. The British laid down the huge battlecruiser HMS Hood. The Japanese Diet voted to build an eight-battleship, eight-battlecruiser fleet. Congress approved the biggest naval expansion program in American history.
The war also raised serious questions about the axioms of naval power that underlay such expansion. Battleships had not proven to be the first line of defense—or offense. In the Atlantic, German submarines devastated Britain’s merchant marine and brought the United States into the war. There was no decisive capital-ship battle, only a clash off Jutland. The Imperial Japanese Navy’s guerre de course drove Germany from colonial holdings in China and the islands of the West Central Pacific, and convoying and mining checked the German threat in European waters. After the war, U.S. Army Air Service Colonel William “Billy” Mitchell loudly insisted that bombs dropped from his flimsy aircraft could send battleships to the depths of the sea.
New international conditions and fresh naval doubts opened statesmen’s ears to the possibility of limiting naval armaments by international agreement. But the pursuit of domestic political advantage prompted them to send negotiators to Washington. That motive stood out most clearly in President Harding’s behavior. He had won the White House with the biggest popular-vote majority in history and brought Republican majorities to Capitol Hill as well. But Harding was widely regarded as a lightweight, and his party seethed with antagonisms left over from its bruising fight to defeat Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations.
Idaho Senator William “Big Bill” Borah feared that Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts would steer Harding toward a heavily armed separate peace with Germany and entanglement with the League. To prevent that, he tried to stop battleship building by cutting naval appropriations and introduced a Senate resolution that directed the President to call an arms limitation conference. Harding resisted at first, wavered as popular support for disarmament crested, and gave in to a modified resolution both houses of Congress passed.
Determined to reassert his leadership, Harding handpicked the American delegation and shaped a management strategy for the conference. “We’ll talk sweetly and patiently [to representatives of the other major naval powers] at first; but if they don’t agree then we’ll say ‘God damn you, it’s a race!’” he said to Secretary Hughes. He told Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby he wanted a naval limitation plan “sufficiently drastic” to prove the honesty of his intentions to the country and guarantee congressional support if “any European powers” balked at what his administration proposed. That was the seed from which Hughes’ opening “bombshell” speech sprouted.
Hammering Out the Washington Treaty
Ninety days of polite but tough negotiations were needed to transform the American proposal into a treaty. Diplomats predominated in that endeavor by relegating admirals to a secondary role as mere technical advisers. Then the give-and-take began. To clear away American suspicions of collusion, the British and Japanese gave up their alliance in return for a face-saving four-power pact. To promote cooperation and reaffirm America’s cherished open-door principles in China, the United States, Britain, Japan, and six other nations agreed to a nine-power treaty.
Striking a mutually acceptable naval balance proved much more difficult. The British and Japanese welcomed a battleship-building “holiday” but balked at the 5:5:3 (America: Britain: Japan) ratio in capital-ship tonnage that the Americans proposed to achieve by scrapping ships already in the water or on the ways. They wanted to keep the Hood and the battleship Mutsu. The Japanese declined to accept the American-proposed capital-ship ratio. Their strategists doubted that it would leave them strong enough to prevail in a battle that their (and America’s) war plans presumed would occur if conflict broke out in the Pacific.
To remedy that deficiency, Minister of the Navy Admiral Tomosabur? Kat?, the senior Japanese delegate, demanded that Pacific island and naval-base fortifications be limited to their current condition. Viewed broadly, that would make it impossible for Japanese, American, and British fleets to close against one another. Considered in narrower naval terms, it improved the odds for Japanese victory in battle because an advancing American fleet would be weaker without forward bases to replenish its strength.4 When the Americans and British modified and agreed to the Japanese proposal, the essential naval bargain was struck. The British and Japanese kept the two battleships they so prized, the Japanese got the island-fortification limit they needed, and the Americans won the capital-ship ratio they wanted.
That set the stage for the signing of the world’s first naval arms limitation treaty on 6 February 1922. Once all five signatories ratified it, the world appeared to have taken a giant step “toward a new order of sea power.”5
Naval Reaction to Arms Limitation
Over the next five years, it seemed to work beautifully. Wartime naval expansion programs shrank, and ships were scrapped precisely as the treaty directed. Finance ministers slashed defense budgets, and legislators cut men and monies for navies. The major naval nations seemed to have realized the dream of “empire without [the] tears [of war].”6
But even as it promoted harmony among nations, the Washington Naval Treaty heightened civil-naval tensions within them. Most admirals believed that their counsel had been spurned and their nation’s safety compromised. In Britain, they salved their wounds in the belief that the Royal Navy remained strongest. It laid down almost twice as much warship tonnage as the American and Japanese navies combined.7 In Tokyo, the admirals fought one another ferociously—behind the scenes. Admiral Kat? became prime minister and fostered a pro-treaty faction within the navy. But his death in September 1923 created a leadership vacuum that Vice Admiral Kanji Kat?, who had sworn “war with America starts today!” when Japan accepted the 60 percent capital-ship ratio at Washington, sought to fill. He wanted a fleet at least 70 percent as strong as America’s and formed an anti-treaty faction to fight for it. And so, under seven short-lived Cabinets, Japanese admirals drifted into dangerous discord.8
Senior American naval leaders, too, differed over how best to deal with the Washington treaty. Some retirees protested publicly, claiming that it promised “the eclipse of American sea power” and insisting that its Article XIX, limiting fortification of island bases, crippled the Navy’s ability to protect the Philippines and defeat Japan, if necessary.9 Active-duty admirals focused on how best to structure a smaller fleet that could overcome the constraints on implementing War Plan Orange (the U.S. plan for waging a war against Japan) that the treaty imposed. Innovation emerged as the best course to follow.
To compensate for the loss of forward bases, Chief of Naval Operations Edward W. Eberle in 1925 recommended battleship modernization, the development of longer-range submarines, and more emphasis on carrier-based aviation, as well as laying down 10,000-ton cruisers armed with 8-inch guns. But President Calvin Coolidge demanded that the Navy prioritize those options and cut its budget recommendations. He stood silent while Congress authorized eight but funded only two of the larger cruisers the admirals wanted.10
The Geneva Conference
That cut may well have reflected the hope that another naval conference would impose limits on auxiliary vessels left untouched at Washington. In 1927 the most powerful naval nations drifted toward such a gathering at Geneva. None prepared for this second naval limitation conference with the acumen and intensity of purpose that preceded the first. In Tokyo, Kanji Kat? pressed for a commitment to win a 70-percent ratio or withdraw from negotiations. But the Cabinet and senior members of the Japanese delegation waffled on that. In London, the sea lords and Cabinet agreed on the need to achieve ship-construction economies, keep 70 cruisers, and limit their size and the number of submarines. In Washington, President Coolidge thought that a second-level delegation could succeed in extending the Washington capital-ship ratio to auxiliary vessels.11
That did not happen for three reasons. First, each delegation prioritized what it most wanted—or feared—and misjudged what the others would do. The British insisted on retaining numerical superiority in cruisers. The Japanese girded for battle over a better ratio and worried that the British and Americans would deny it to them. The Americans feared the Japanese would try to extend fortification limits to Hawaii and the Panama Canal.
Second, tempers flared. On the eve of the Geneva talks, U.S. Admiral Hilary P. Jones bluntly threatened the Japanese with an arms race backed by America’s “unlimited wealth” if they did not agree to a 10:10:6 ratio for auxiliary ships.12 Later, when Americans and Britons clashed over the size, armament, and numbers of cruisers to be permitted in any agreement, the senior American diplomat exploded in public anger and the British bristled in return.13
Third, presidents and prime ministers did not commit their prestige to the success of the conference. When the delegates left Geneva agreeing to disagree, their political masters did not attempt to reverse that result. In the United States, President Coolidge calmly announced that he would not seek re-election. In Britain, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin had paid slight attention to the conference and did not believe its failure would hurt his government.14 In Tokyo, a new prime minister worried more about how to respond to attacks on Japanese in China than about what had, or had not, occurred at Geneva.
No one was terribly troubled by failure there. That attitude reflected contradictory feelings about the naval arms limitation regime. Peace advocates believed that it was just too strong to be destroyed by momentary discord, and looked ahead toward outlawry of war itself. Conservative realists such as British Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill pooh-poohed quarreling over “silly little cruisers.” He argued that reason and individual national economic circumstance constituted the real limiting force on navies. Treaty limits were nice, but not necessary, restraints.15
Preparations for the Third Conference
By 1930 that attitude had changed dramatically. The American stock-market crash in October 1929 triggered a scramble by political and financial leaders to protect national economies and shore up the global financial system. Naval arms limitation seemed the easiest way to cut government spending, an approach then thought most likely to restore prosperity. All three naval nations had new leaders who, early in their terms of office, hoped for a notable achievement in the cause of peace.
All three men believed that more careful management could produce success, and they looked back to Washington and Geneva for guidance on how best to achieve it. Delegations must be headed by prestigious civilians who could restrain contentious admirals determined to keep the ships needed to implement war plans. Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald headed Britain’s delegation. President Herbert Hoover named the secretaries of State and Navy to the American negotiating team and personally chose Admiral William V. Pratt, who had irked his peers by publicly defending the Washington treaty, to join it as a technical adviser.16 Prime Minister Osachi Hamaguchi named his navy minister and former prime minister Reijir? Wakatsuki to the Japanese delegation.17
The British also took heed of another lesson from the Washington playbook. In 1921-22, code-breakers had given the Americans an advantage in negotiating with the Japanese. Cables broken in the “black chamber” confirmed the accuracy of press reports from Tokyo about what would be needed to get agreement on a 10:10:6 capital-ship ratio. In 1929, however, high-minded Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson ordered a halt to American code-breaking. Yankee gentlemen would not be reading Japanese—or British—gentlemen’s mail at London in 1930.18 But British gentlemen would be eavesdropping on both their American and Japanese counterparts. That advantage helped the conference hosts know in advance what their guests most wanted.19
The Japanese would be a tough nut to crack because Navy Chief of Staff Kanji Kat? was determined not to repeat past “mistakes.” Japan’s delegates must be firmly committed before this conference, as those sent to Geneva were not, to obtaining a 10:10:7 ratio in auxiliaries. Kat? mounted a public-relations campaign and pressed the Cabinet for an absolute commitment to that goal. He also added hardliners, such as Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, architect-to-be of the Pearl Harbor attack, to the Japanese delegation.20
A Treaty with Ominous Repercussions
The London Naval Conference convened on 21 January 1930 in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords.21 After it became apparent in formal sessions that the Americans and Japanese were deadlocked over cruiser ratios, negotiations shifted to informal talks between second-level representatives. Pennsylvania Senator David Reed and Ambassador Tsuneo Matsudaira hammered out a lawyer-like compromise. Japan would have a 69.75-percent strength in auxiliaries, but little more than 60 percent in the heavy cruisers admirals on both sides of the Pacific considered essential for success in battle. Japan would have only two-thirds as many of those ships as the Americans, but the United States would not complete the last of its “treaty cruisers” until 1938. That meant Japan would have a 72.2-percent ratio in 1935 that would decline thereafter but remain above 60 percent in 1938.
Wakatsuki, MacDonald, and Stimson readily accepted that scheme in London. But in Tokyo it triggered a ferocious debate between opponents who steadily raised the stakes. Admiral Kat? insisted that the empire’s honor, as well as its safety, demanded maintaining a clear 70 percent ratio in cruisers. Prime Minister Hamaguchi argued that failure to compromise at London would jeopardize international stability and trigger an arms race Japan could not win. While debate raged in Tokyo, Stimson in London hinted that America and Britain would conclude a separate agreement if Japan refused to accept the proposed compromise.
Hamaguchi finally sought an audience with young Emperor Hirohito, who directed him to make “every effort” to conclude a treaty speedily “in the interest of world peace.” That forced Kat? to concede, sped Cabinet approval of the deal, and caused a fistfight within the Japanese delegation in London. But three weeks later a treaty embodying the Reed-Matsudaira compromise and promising yet another conference five years later was signed in London.22
That success won high praise for the negotiators and their political masters but by no means ended debate over naval arms limitation. It was muted in London, where MacDonald’s Labour government believed that the treaty had preserved the empire’s security abroad and opened the door to greater economies at home. In Washington, naval officers who thought the accord compromised their ability to prevail in battle against Japan testified, without effect, against Senate ratification of the treaty.23
In Tokyo, another titanic struggle erupted between supporters and opponents of the treaty. Hamaguchi had to call on the aid of the last surviving elder statesman, the navy’s second most senior officer, and the Emperor himself to win Privy Council approval for it. But his victory proved Pyrrhic and short-lived. Six weeks later he was shot, and after months of agony he died. Reijir? Wakatsuki replaced him. Kat? lost the treaty battle but began a bureaucratic guerrilla campaign that eventually drove treaty supporters from positions of influence within the Imperial Japanese Navy.24
Failure in London
What happened in Tokyo in 1930 promised discord five years later. By the time negotiators gathered in London in December 1935, almost no one thought they would agree. The Japanese were to blame for that. They had invaded Manchuria, walked out of the League of Nations, and now pressed for a “common upper limit”—parity for the world’s three greatest navies. Then they announced that they would abrogate the existing naval arms limitation treaties if Washington and London did not agree to that standard. Six weeks of talks at the second London conference made it clear that the Anglo-Saxons would not do so. And so, the Japanese delegation departed London, leaving the tripartite naval arms limitation regime to die.25
Contemporary observers and later historians blamed Japanese admirals for that sorry result. Kanji Kat?’s faction prevailed within the navy and turned a deaf ear to diplomats’ and generals’ warnings of the folly of provoking foreign hostility and an arms race. But no one in Tokyo, reeling after a fearsome, barely averted military coup, dared stand up to the determined admirals.26
The United States and Britain also bore responsibility for the failure of the second London conference. American and British political leaders did not commit their prestige to its success, and they no longer thought continuation of the tripartite naval limitation regime essential for their nations’ security. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent the Chief of Naval Operations and a senior diplomat, not the secretaries of State and Navy, to the talks. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin did not participate in them as MacDonald had in 1930.
Britain and the United States also had fall-back grand strategies in place if the conferees failed to agree. The British had negotiated separate European naval arms limitation treaties, and they relied on their Singapore base and a “main fleet” sent to deter Japan and protect their Southeast Asian colonies and Australasian dominions. They hoped to negotiate an Anglo-American naval arms limitation agreement that would foster transatlantic harmony.27
Washington did so. But the U.S. Fleet, built up to existing treaty limits, stood foremost in America’s strategy for preserving peace. Roosevelt set out to strengthen it almost immediately after entering the White House. He issued an executive order to spend nearly a quarter-billion dollars to build three cruisers. A year later, he persuaded Congress to approve construction of more than a hundred ships and more than a thousand aircraft over the next eight years. If Japan abrogated the Washington treaty, the resulting U.S. Navy would be better able to implement its Pacific war plans. Article XIX’s crippling limits on island fortifications would fall away, and new submarines and aircraft carriers with twice the cruising range of their predecessors would project American fighting power far across the Pacific. That, presumably, would deter Japan from risking war.28
In the broadest perspective, however, the three-sided naval arms limitation regime collapsed because the ideas, economics, and politics underlying it had changed. In 1921 World War I had challenged the notion that navies were the pre-eminent guardians of national security. By 1936 years of negotiations over their strength had transformed them into measuring sticks of safety and status. That was why Japan demanded parity and why Britain and the United States, convinced of their greater power and resources, and perhaps their racial superiority as well, refused to allow it.
In the 1920s, economists and political leaders believed that less government spending, particularly on “wasteful” armaments, would promote prosperity. In the mid-1930s, precisely the opposite seemed true. Government spending in excess of revenues, even on warships, reignited macroeconomic growth—quickly in Japan, more slowly and uncertainly in Britain and the United States.29 By 1936 doing that was far more important to political leaders’ continuation in office than limiting navies by mutual agreement.
What difference did the interwar naval arms limitation regime make? Answers to that question have varied wildly over the last 75 years. Viewing the limitation system in its entirety, present-day historians generally agree on three points. It did, as its creators hoped, promote international harmony and reduce defense expenditures. It did not quash the competitive spirit among naval professionals that sparked the design of ships, the maintenance of fleets, and understandings of how victory was to be achieved in battle. Its life and efficacy depended on changing international circumstances—favorable in the 1920s, hostile in the 1930s.
The generation that fought and lived through the Pacific war drew much stronger, contradictory conclusions about the prewar naval arms limitation regime. In America, Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison damned the treaties in his widely read history of the U.S. Navy in World War II. “Disarmament” was a delusion that left Guam and the Philippines defenseless and forced Americans to pay a terrible price in blood and treasure to recover them and destroy Japan’s maritime empire. The Navy would have been better prepared to fight if the United States had never signed a single naval limitation treaty.30
Japanese who suffered the privations of war and humiliation of defeat and occupation came to a no less sweeping but opposite conclusion. The naval limitation regime had made a positive difference. While it lasted, Japan had prospered and grown in relative national strength. The empire might have continued to flourish and perhaps even have avoided war if only weak political leaders had stood up to narrow-minded and aggressive admirals and generals.31
During the Cold War, analysts looked back to the interwar naval limitation era for clues as to what might be done to reduce the threat of nuclear war. Historians drew on newly available archival evidence to shape a much more nuanced picture of what had happened in the interwar years.32 Theorists relied on their findings to draw contradictory conclusions about arms control more generally. Some insisted it could be achieved on its own by men of reason and technical knowledge. Others argued it could only be gained by simultaneously discussing armaments and the international conditions that created a need for them.33 Naval officers, for the most part, stood by as skeptical observers of the debate.34
How did the naval limitation regime influence the way the Pacific war was fought? More recent verdicts on it are intriguingly nuanced. While it did shape the “treaty” navies with which the belligerents fought, it had a differential impact on the way they thought about fighting. The Washington treaty prolonged the Royal Navy’s superiority and reinforced its admirals’ conservatism. That bred overreliance on capital ships and the Singapore naval base as a deterrent to war and led to defeat in Southeast Asia in 1942.35
The fight for specific ratios had an even more negative effect on the Imperial Japanese Navy. Its leaders focused too narrowly on the decisive battle, fought too hard for specific ratios in it, and wasted too much money on building the world’s biggest and most heavily armed battleships, the Yamato class. That blinded them to the need to improve intelligence and antisubmarine warfare capabilities that might have saved their naval and merchant fleets, and indeed the empire itself, from destruction.
By contrast, the combination of prewar treaty and budget limits fostered an innovative spirit among American admirals that made them better able to fight the Pacific war. They reshaped battleship, carrier, and submarine designs. They rethought how to project power across the Pacific without fortified island bases en route. And they prepared for the unlimited submarine warfare that helped bring Japan to its knees.36
That result points to an ironic conclusion about the interwar naval arms limitation regime. The seeds of victory or defeat in the Pacific war were sown by the restraints that preceded it.
2. Stephen E. Pelz, Race to Pearl Harbor: The Failure of the Second London Naval Conference and the Onset of World War II (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974).
3. Roger Dingman, Power in the Pacific: The Origins of Naval Arms Limitation, 1914-1922 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), pp. 196-197. Unless otherwise indicated, the information about the Washington Conference that follows is taken from this source.
4. David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie, Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887–1941 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997), pp. 187-198.
5. Harold and Margaret Sprout, Toward a New Order of Sea Power (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1943).
6. Warren I. Cohen, Empire without Tears: America’s Foreign Relations, 1921–1933 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987) ; Stephen Roskill, Naval Policy Between the Wars: I: The Period of Anglo-American Antagonism 1919–1929 (London: Collins, 1968),.pp. 331-332; Sadao Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006), p. 297; U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, Register of Alumni 1997 Edition (Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, 1997), pp. 147–168.
7. John Ferris, “‘It is Our Business in the Navy to Command the Sea: The Last Decade of British Maritime Supremacy, 1919–1929,” in Greg Kennedy and Keith Neilson, eds., Far-Flung Lines: Essays on Imperial Defence in Honour of Donald Mackenzie Schurman (London: Frank Cass, 1997), pp. 131–133, 139-140.
8. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, pp. 92-93, 99–109; The Cambridge History of Japan: Volume 6: The Twentieth Century, Peter Duus, ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 58.
9. Captain Dudley Knox, The Eclipse of American Sea Power (New York: Army and Navy Journal, 1922); Rear Admiral Bradley Fiske letter to the editor, The New York Times, 16 July 1927.
10. Richard W. Turk, “Edward Walter Eberle,” in Robert William Love Jr., ed., The Chiefs of Naval Operations (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1980), pp. 40–45; John T. Kuehn, Agents of Innovation: The General Board and the Design of the Fleet that Defeated the Japanese Navy (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2008), p. 32; Edward S. Miller, War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897–1945 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991), pp. 112–138.
11. Raymond G. O’Connor, Perilous Equilibrium: The United States and the London Naval Conference of 1930 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1962), p. 17; Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, pp. 111–115; Roskill, Naval Policy Between the Wars, pp. 498–500.
12. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, p. 117.
13. The New York Times, 9 July 1927.
14. Richard W. Fanning, “The Coolidge Conference of 1927: Disarmament in Disarray,” in Arms Limitation and Disarmament: Restraints on War, 1899–1939 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992), pp. 120-121.
15. The New York Times, 30 July 1927.
16. Craig L. Symonds, “William Veazie Pratt,” in Love Jr., ed., The Chiefs of Naval Operations, pp. 72-73.
17. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, pp. 131–133.
18. David Kahn, The Reader of Gentlemen’s Mail: Herbert O.Yardley and the Birth of American Codebreaking (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), pp. 63–80.
19. John R. Ferris, “The Road to Bletchley Park: The British Experience with Signals Intelligence, 1892–1945,” Intelligence and National Security 17 (Spring 2002), p. 57.
20. Asada , From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, pp. 134–136.
21. Los Angeles Times, 22 January, 1930.
22. O’Connor, Perilous Equilibrium, pp. 94–105; Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, pp. 137–153.
23. Thomas H. Buckley, “The Icarus Factor: The American Pursuit of Myth in Naval Arms Control, 1921–1936,” in Erick Goldstein and John H. Maurer, eds., The Washington Conference, 1921-1922 (Ilford, Essex, UK: Frank Cass , 1994), pp. 137, 144-145; O’Connor, Perilous Equilibrium, pp. 109–118.
24. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, pp. 153–156.
25. Although the French and Italian navies remained bound by the Washington treaty, they effectively dropped out of efforts to extend it, leaving a three power limitation regime in place. Stephen E. Pelz, Race to Pearl Harbor, pp. 137–164; Meredith W. Berg, “Protecting National Interests by Treaty: The Second London Naval Conference, 1934–1936,” in B. J. C. McKercher, ed., Arms Limitation and Disarmament: Restraints on War, 1899–1939 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992), pp. 217–220.
26. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, pp. 187–204.
27. Pelz, Race to Pearl Harbor, pp. 152–155.
28. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, p. 201; Pelz, Race to Pearl Harbor, pp. 77–80.
29. Richard Smethurst, From Foot Soldier to Finance Minister: Takahashi Korekiyo, Japan’s Keynes (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), pp. 261–270.
30. Samuel Eliot Morison, The Two Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War (Boston: Little, Brown, 1963), pp. 2–13.
31. This line of argument is implicit in the magisterial seven volume Taiheiy? sens? e no michi: kaisen gaik? shi (Road to the Pacific War: A Diplomatic History of the Origins of the War) (Tokyo: Asahi shimbun sha, 1962–1963).
32. Roger William Louis, British Strategy in the Far East, 1919–1939 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), Pelz’s Race to Pearl Harbor, and my Power in the Pacific exemplify the new historical writing of the 1970s.
33. Emily O. Goldman, Sunken Treaties: Naval Arms Control Between the Wars (State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993), pp. 14–32 summarizes this debate.
34. Former Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt stood out as a notable exception to this trend in his endorsement of the anti-limitation arguments in Harlow A. Hyde, Scraps of Paper: The Disarmament Treaties Between the World Wars (Lincoln, NE: Media Publishing, 1988), pp. xiii–xiv, xvii-xviii.
35. Except as noted, arguments in this and following paragraphs are drawn from John T. Kuehn, Agents of Innovation, pp. 145–161, 168–175.
36. Joel Ira Holwitt, “Execute Against Japan:” The U.S. Decision to Conduct Unrestricted Submarine Warfare (College Station, TX: Texas A & M University Press, 2009), pp. 63–120 demonstrates the impact of the prewar treaties on arguably the most devastating mode of war against Japan.