Author Topic: Chemical Weapons, The Hague and Nicholas II  (Read 17517 times)

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Offline Naslednik

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Chemical Weapons, The Hague and Nicholas II
« on: September 14, 2013, 08:30:54 AM »
The current problem with chemical weapons in Syria has me thinking about early legislation against the use of these gases.  Nicholas II called on European leaders to convene and discuss military issues, with an emphasis on the huge resources spent on the military that can impoverish a nation.  They convened for the 1st time in 1899 in The Hague.  At this first convention the nations agreed on a number of restrictions in war, banning the use of exploding bullets and yes, chemical weapons.  More specifically, they banned the use of "asphyxiating gases' delivered in projectiles.  I think that it is important for the modern world to understand that leaders have been trying to forbid the use of these gases; if we consider the long timeline, we have a responsibility to continue the work of the past, using diplomacy as was done at the Hague. I also think that we need to give credit to Nicholas II for initiating these conventions, which took some courage; he risked the disdain of other royals, but created a lasting legacy that led to the League of Nations and later, the United Nations.

Offline edubs31

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Re: Chemical Weapons, The Hague and Nicholas II
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 12:28:13 PM »
I agree with you for the most part. I've always credited Nicholas with offering his leadership and helping to organize the conferences/conventions, although I would stop short of giving his efforts too much credit in influencing the eventual (and ill-fated) League of Nations, followed by the more successful UN.

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if we consider the long timeline, we have a responsibility to continue the work of the past, using diplomacy as was done at the Hague.

I suppose that's the correct sentiment. Of course diplomacy failed to stop the world from entering a horrific world war chalked full of chemical weapons a mere decade and a half later. Diplomacy is important but so is action, or at least the genuine threat of action. Something we should also remember with regards to Syria and the oppressive Assad regime that, sadly, Nicholas's successor in the Russian government have partnered with.
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Offline TimM

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Re: Chemical Weapons, The Hague and Nicholas II
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 05:35:04 PM »
Of course, they didn't have the chemical weapons of our time back then.  Still, the gas attacks of WWI were pretty horrible.
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Offline Naslednik

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Re: Chemical Weapons, The Hague and Nicholas II
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013, 10:15:32 PM »
Yes, you both make good points.  It wasn't much later that the grim horrors of WWI took place, but I still admire opening up the concept of nations meeting all at the same time, rather than following only the traditional path of embassies/ambassadors, etc.  And you are right, if I understood correctly, about the successors to the Revolution in Russia partnering with oppressive regimes.

I have read that the mustard gas was horrific when one's exposure was severe enough; pain from burned skin, throat, and sometimes a very slow death. But you are right that modern technology has intensified the lethal effects of chemical weapons.

Yes, you are also right that there is no direct connection between Nicholas and the League of Nations or the UN.  But I believe that the creation of the Hague was an important statement on the value of speaking out conflicts and creating codes of warfare between nations, some of which we finally began to respect (like the treatment of prisoners.)

The Hague also has a personal connection for me and for Russia.  When we adopted our 2 Russian boys, we had to comply with laws created in a Hague convention; those laws were designed to protect the kids. On our end, we had to submit regular reports regarding the boys' progress, attachment and general welfare. And this is what diplomacy does well, connecting citizens of different countries into a system to promote peace and fair behavior.