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International Treaties  

1922 Washington Naval Treaty
Signed by Britain, France, Italy and Japan, this treaty limited naval construction by the major powers after the First World War (Germany was already limited by the Treaty of Versailles, and was not invited). This landmark treaty was one of two which defined the naval forces that each side would have at their disposal at the outbreak of World War Two.

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1930 London Naval Treaty
The 1930 London Naval Treaty was an extension of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, addressing issues such as aircraft carriers, submarines, cruisers and destroyers. This treaty, along with the Washington treaty, largely defined the size and composition of the navies of the major powers at the start of the Second World War.

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    1935 Anglo-German Naval Agreement
This stunning agreement between Great Britain and Germany allowed Germany to build a fleet greater than either the French or Italian navies, and allowed them to have a submarine fleet equal to the largest in the world.

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1936 London Naval Treaty
This treaty was an attempt to Britain, France and the USA to secure an extension to the lapsing naval treaties, signed in Washington in 1922 and London in 1930. Although Japan initially attended, they withdrew before agreement was reached. Without Japan's agreement the treaty was meaningless, and this treaty was never enforced.

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    1940 Tripartite Pact
The agreement forming the 'axis' of Germany, Japan and Italy was known as the Tripartite Pact, and the looseness of the ties between the European nations and Japan is clear from this text.  The main clause in the treaty was the agreement to divide the world into the European and Japanese spheres of influence.

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  National Acts and Proclamations    

1941 An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States
More commonly known as the "Lend-Lease Act", this piece of legislation allowed the President of the United States to require the manufacture of weapons and other equipment within the United States, using US funds, for transfer to any other country that the President chose.

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Background Documents

Ship Types
What is the difference between an Escort Carrier and a Merchant Aircraft Carrier; a Battlecruiser and a Pocket Battleship; a Sloop and a Corvette? Find out the definitions of the different types of warships, and how they were used in World War Two.


Glossary and Abbreviations
Rundown of nautical terms and abbreviations used on this site.

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