The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, also known as the Pact of Paris, was an international agreement to outlaw war. Its two clauses stipulated that war as a national policy was illegal and the nations that signed the pact should resolve their differences using peaceful means.Continue Reading
The pact was named after Frank B. Kellogg, U.S. Secretary of State, and Aristide Briand, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Briand originally proposed the agreement between the United States and France only. Concerned that such an arrangement would create a bilateral alliance between France and the United States, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Kellogg instead proposed that it become a general agreement between all nations. Because the pact only outlawed wars of aggression and not self-defense efforts, it was received favorably. In August 1928, 15 countries signed the pact, and 47 more countries subsequently signed. The U.S. Senate ratified the agreement almost unanimously.
As a deterrent to war, the pact was ineffective, as there were no practical means to enforce it. Additionally, nations that signed the pact circumvented it by subjectively defining what constituted self defense and by waging undeclared wars. However, the pact was never rescinded, and in its definition of war as a crime, it helped form the legal basis for the Nuremberg trials and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East to prosecute those responsible for initiating World War II.Learn more about World War 1