Washington Treaty 1922
|Background||By the end of World War 1, large numbers of warships had been made obsolete,
or were prematurely heading for obsolescence by the advance of Technology
during the war. (Mainly submarine warfare and the coming emergence of
Until the early part of the 20th century, Britain had a policy of maintaining the Royal Navy's strength to be at least equal to the next two naval powers combined.
The emergence of the USA from isolationist policies together with it's huge industrial strength, plus the militarisation of Japan meant Britain would need a huge building program to maintain the ratio of RN capital ships to other navies.
Britain's, France's and Italy's bankruptcy due the cost of World War 1 meant a new world naval military order was needed. Otherwise international tensions would rise as the USA and Japan would not countenance the old Royal Navy domination of the world's trade routes.
In addition another Naval Arms Race could not be contemplated due to the costs and war weariness in Britain, it's Empire, France and Italy.
To control costs, and reduce international tensions in the post World War
Especially after considering the tensions caused by the naval build up by Germany from about 1906 to the start of WW1, and Britain's response to this.
|What was agreed||
The world's main naval powers - Britain; it's Empire and Dominions; the
USA; France; Italy; and Japan agreed.
- the overall total tonnage,
- the individual size,
- the overall tonnage,
- the calibre of guns,
for all ships covered by the treaty. (Ships greater than 10,000 tons standard displacement and emerging aircraft carrier fleets.)
|Ending the Treaty||
The Treaty was to continue in force until at least 31-Dec-1936, unless any
signatory gave notice by 31-Dec-1934 of its intention to terminate the
If no notice to terminate had been given by 31-Dec-1934, the Treaty would continue until 2 years after any signatory gave notice of its intention to terminate.
|Capital Ship Limits||
The overall total standard displacement tonnage for each power set at;
United States - 525,000 tons (533,400 metric tons);
The maximum standard displacement for any ship to be 35,000 tons (35,560 metric tons).
The maximum calibre of gun was 16 inches (406mm).
The overall total standard displacement tonnage for aircraft carriers
United States - 135,000 tons (137,160 metric tons);
All existing aircraft carriers were considered experimental and could be replaced at any time provided the total tonnage limit was not exceeded. Two Aircraft Carriers for each power could not exceed 33,000 tons standard displacement, with all others limited to no more than 27,000 tons.
|Replacing Capital Ships||
A schedule of scrapping and replacing ships for each country was listed
This also ensured existing British tonnage which exceeded it's treaty limit, would progressively reduce and comply with the new limit.
|Ships up to 10,000 tons||
The solution to placing similar limits on cruisers and smaller warships was
left until the London Treaty of 1930.
This page last edited -
04 February, 2013.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.