The Use Force Between States – 1919 to 1939
This chapter examines the evolution of the international law of the use of force from 1919 to 1939 and the continuing shift towards the use of peaceful means to settle disputes. An important aspect of this examination is a detailed study of the General treaty for the renunciation of war 1928 and its relevance to the origin, nature and legal scope of the inherent right of self-defence. Identified for the first time in the scholarly works is the creation by this treaty of a corollary legal right in favour of states to remain free from the use of war in their international relations and the relevance of the inherent right of self-defence to protecting this right. The end of this period is critical to understanding the legal scope of this right at the time Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations 1945 was introduced. This scope remained the imminent threat, or use, of armed force directed against the territory of a state or that of an ally. There is a continuing absence of reference to the concept of ‘anticipatory self-defence’ in international law. The basis for the hypothetical definition for the legal commencement of an armed attack in international law discussed in the previous chapters is applied to the period examined in this chapter.