Hague Conferences, term for the International Peace Conference of 1899 (First Hague Conference) and the Second International Peace Conference of 1907 (Second Hague Conference). Both were called by Russia and met at The Hague, the Netherlands. Neither succeeded in the main announced purpose of effecting a reduction in armaments, but a number of declarations and conventions respecting the laws of war were adopted and were later ratified by many states. Ratified prohibitions of aerial bombardment and of the use of submarine mines and poison gas proved ineffective, but more heed was given to conventions respecting the rights of neutral shipping (particularly respecting contraband) and the protection of noncombatants. A substantial achievement was the founding by the First Hague Conference of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, popularly called the Hague Tribunal. However, at the second conference the United States failed in its effort to secure the establishment of a world court. A third conference, scheduled for 1916, was canceled because of World War I. In the attempt to formulate certain rules of international law, the Hague Conferences furnished an example for both the League of Nations and the United Nations.
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