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Quiz about Between the Wars The Washington Naval Treaty
Quiz about Between the Wars The Washington Naval Treaty

Between the Wars: The Washington Naval Treaty Quiz


The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 forestalled a new arms race - for a few years.

A multiple-choice quiz by ignotus999. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
ignotus999
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
361,930
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
9 / 15
Plays
208
- -
Question 1 of 15
1. The Washington Naval Treaty was a pioneering international effort to limit competition in armaments. Which of the following nations was NOT a signatory - and wasn't even invited to the conference? Hint


Question 2 of 15
2. Who issued the initial invitations that led to the Washington Naval Treaty? Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. The United States had never commissioned this type of warship - but in 1921 the U.S. planned to build a half-dozen of them, larger than any existing ships of their kind. The Washington Treaty put an end to the American plans. Hint


Question 4 of 15
4. As of 1921, Britain's HMS Hood was the largest warship in the world, but the Royal Navy had already decided not to build any sister ships. Why not? Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. During negotiations, the United States proposed several major limits on naval construction. Which of the following U.S. proposals was NOT adopted in the Washington Treaty? Hint


Question 6 of 15
6. The Washington Treaty used two basic criteria to define "capital ship". What were these criteria? Hint


Question 7 of 15
7. The building of which of these types of naval vessels was NOT limited by the Washington Treaty? Hint


Question 8 of 15
8. The Washington Treaty defined "standard displacement" to measure the tonnage of warships. This included almost everything a warship needed for operations - but this basic item was intentionally omitted from the calculation. Hint


Question 9 of 15
9. One important Article of the Washington Naval Treaty did not deal with warships at all. What did this Article govern? Hint


Question 10 of 15
10. The Washington Treaty is known for its "ten year battleship holiday". Did the signatory powers actually complete any new battleships during the ten years from 1922 through 1932? Hint


Question 11 of 15
11. The Washington Treaty sparked an unexpected naval arms race in building new "Treaty Cruisers". What were their two primary characteristics? Hint


Question 12 of 15
12. The Washington Treaty was highly controversial in Japan. Expansionists resented limiting Japan to 60% of the capital ship tonnage of the U.S. Navy. (Future) Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - who would mastermind the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 - supported the ratio. What was his reasoning? Hint


Question 13 of 15
13. One of the delegations to the Washington Conference received decoded intercepts of messages between the other delegations and their home governments. Which nation enjoyed this secret advantage? Hint


Question 14 of 15
14. The Washington Treaty required the U.S., Britain and Japan to scrap or demilitarize numerous existing capital ships by the end of 1922. Approximately how many capital ships (total) were destroyed by a piece of paper? Hint


Question 15 of 15
15. How long did the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 take to negotiate, from the first session through the initialing of the Treaty? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The Washington Naval Treaty was a pioneering international effort to limit competition in armaments. Which of the following nations was NOT a signatory - and wasn't even invited to the conference?

Answer: Germany

Great Britain, the United States, Japan, Italy and France possessed the five largest navies in the world when the Washington Conference convened in November of 1921. The postwar German government was not invited. German naval strength was severely limited by the Treaty of Versailles, relaxed somewhat by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935.

The 1935 Agreement produced a nasty surprise for Britain, but that's for another quiz.
2. Who issued the initial invitations that led to the Washington Naval Treaty?

Answer: Warren Harding (USA)

In 1916, the Wilson Administration introduced a massive naval expansion bill - pun intended. With the end of the war, Congress declined to continue funding the full program. The Republican Party won the White House in 1920 by promising a "return to normalcy".

This included cuts in the naval budget, provided other nations did the same - lower taxes and fiscal responsibility. Thus, the generally "isolationist" Republicans arranged a major international conference and an historic treaty for arms reduction.

The other powers had similar budgetary concerns. The Treaty and the negotiations that produced it were not under the auspices of the League of Nations. The American negotiating team was headed by Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, whom Wilson had defeated in the 1916 Presidential election.
3. The United States had never commissioned this type of warship - but in 1921 the U.S. planned to build a half-dozen of them, larger than any existing ships of their kind. The Washington Treaty put an end to the American plans.

Answer: Battlecruisers

A battlecruiser was the same size as a battleship (sometimes larger), with the same type of main battery guns, but with much higher speed and much less armor. The U.S. Navy usually sacrificed high speed in favor of guns and armor protection. The Lexington class battlecruisers were to be very different, featuring high speed and thin armor.

These 40,000-ton plus vessels underwent several design changes before being cancelled by the Treaty - as battlecruisers, at least. Under the Treaty, the Lexington and Saratoga were completed as aircraft carriers. Material procured for the other four ships was used to modernize U.S. battleships and other vessels.
4. As of 1921, Britain's HMS Hood was the largest warship in the world, but the Royal Navy had already decided not to build any sister ships. Why not?

Answer: Hood lacked modern armor protection

At over 45,000 tons "deep load," HMS Hood was by far the largest warship in the world in 1921 and well into the 1930s. She was originally planned as the the first of a class of four battlecruisers. However, she was designed prior to the Battle of Jutland (1916), and was thought to lack sufficient armor protection for her magazines, powerplant and deck. (This may have contributed to her loss in 1941.) Instead, the Royal Navy planned a new class of four 45,000+ ton battleships and four battlecruisers of similar size; both with improved armor protection.

The new ships would have cost far more than Hood, giving the postwar British government additional motivation to seek international naval arms limitations.
5. During negotiations, the United States proposed several major limits on naval construction. Which of the following U.S. proposals was NOT adopted in the Washington Treaty?

Answer: Limiting the total tonnage of cruisers

The Washington Treaty focused on capital ships (battleships and battlecruisers) and somewhat on aircraft carriers. There were no limits on the number of new cruisers, as long as they were individually under 10,000 tons displacement and carried guns no larger than 8 inches. Limits on total cruiser tonnage would come later, via the London Naval Treaty of 1930.
6. The Washington Treaty used two basic criteria to define "capital ship". What were these criteria?

Answer: Tonnage and main-battery gun size

In order to restrict the construction of "capital ships", the Treaty had to define them: basically, a warship armed primarily with guns that (1) displaced more than 10,000 tons and/or (2) carried guns larger than 8 inch caliber. The definition of "capital ship" created an unexpected arms race to build cruisers of about 10,000 tons and carrying 8 inch guns.
7. The building of which of these types of naval vessels was NOT limited by the Washington Treaty?

Answer: Submarines

During negotiations, Britain sought a complete ban on the construction and use of submarines. France opposed the ban, arguing that it needed a type of naval weapon to counter British numerical superiority in capital ships - which would be perpetuated by the Treaty. France counter-proposed an alowance of 90,000 tons of submarines, which was also rejected. Ultimately, the construction of submarines was not limited.
8. The Washington Treaty defined "standard displacement" to measure the tonnage of warships. This included almost everything a warship needed for operations - but this basic item was intentionally omitted from the calculation.

Answer: Fuel

American ships usually carried more fuel than their foreign counterparts. The U.S. delegation argued that it would be unfair to include the weight of fuel in calculating tonnage, because American ships would have to cross the Atlantic or (more likely) the Pacific while other navies would be fighting closer to their bases.

The U.S. won the argument. Fuel and reserve feedwater for boilers were excluded from "standard displacement". In exchange, the U.S. accepted restrictions on the establishment and improvement of naval basis in the western Pacific.
9. One important Article of the Washington Naval Treaty did not deal with warships at all. What did this Article govern?

Answer: Fortifications and bases

Although it was included in CHAPTER I.-GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE LIMITATION OF NAVAL ARMAMENT, Article XIX of the Treaty prohibited the establishment of new bases in much of the Pacific Ocean, and banned the strengthening of most existing bases.

The net effect was to prevent the U.S. from improving bases west of Hawaii. Japan, however, was allowed to improve some of its bases in the western Pacific. The U.S. agreed to these restrictions largely because Japan accepted the limits on its capital ship tonnage and accepted the U.S. position excluding fuel from the calculation of "standard displacement" of warships.
10. The Washington Treaty is known for its "ten year battleship holiday". Did the signatory powers actually complete any new battleships during the ten years from 1922 through 1932?

Answer: Yes - 2, both British

It seems strange that the British Navy - the largest in the world in 1922 - was allowed to construct two new battleships during the "holiday". The reason why tells us about the give-and-take of the Conference. The U.S. Navy had two battleships carrying 16" guns with a third almost completed: the U.S. insisted on finishing the third ship. Japan had one battleship with 16" guns and a second at an earlier stage of construction: Japan insisted on finishing its second 16" gun battleship because the U.S. would have three.

At the time, Britain had no battleships with 16" guns, although it had several mounting 15" guns. The parties allowed Britain to construct two new 35,000 ton battleships armed with 16" guns, and scrap some older ships to compensate.

The new battleships were HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney. Ironically, the Treaty also allowed Italy and France to construct two new battleships each during the ten-year "holiday", but neither nation actually did so due to budget constraints.
11. The Washington Treaty sparked an unexpected naval arms race in building new "Treaty Cruisers". What were their two primary characteristics?

Answer: Displacement about 10,000 tons and 8" guns

Designing a warship was a balancing act: the ship's projected tonnage was divided among guns, armor and speed (powerplant). The rule-of-thumb was that a warship with, say, 8" guns should carry enough armor to protect against 8" shellfire at typical battle ranges.

The Washington Treaty upset the design balance. The Treaty Cruisers mounted 8" guns because that was the maximum size allowed, but on a displacement of only 10,000 tons they could not be well-protected against 8" (or sometimes 6") shellfire.

This led to their other nickname, "eggshells with hammers". The U.S. Navy's earliest Treaty Cruisers, the two-ship Pensacola class, were a particular embarrassment. As completed, they were only 9,100 tons standard displacement; about 10% underweight. Additional armor was added, but the design was still deemed a failure.
12. The Washington Treaty was highly controversial in Japan. Expansionists resented limiting Japan to 60% of the capital ship tonnage of the U.S. Navy. (Future) Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - who would mastermind the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 - supported the ratio. What was his reasoning?

Answer: The U.S. could out-build Japan by more than 40%

The Harvard-educated Yamamoto was fluent in English and had considerable understanding of American politics and culture. He was a junior officer during the Washington Conference and so was not influential at that time. He participated in the London Naval Conference of 1930, as a Rear Admiral. Yamamoto generally opposed Japanese adventurism in China, conflict with the U.S., and the Japanese alliance with Germany and Italy.

His motive for supporting the Treaty may have been pragmatic, or political, or sentimental.

His reasoning was accurate. After the Treaty structure collapsed in the mid-1930s, Japan completed only 2 battleships; the United States completed 10 and could have built even more if needed.
13. One of the delegations to the Washington Conference received decoded intercepts of messages between the other delegations and their home governments. Which nation enjoyed this secret advantage?

Answer: The U.S.

Tapping into the transmissions was easy. Decoding the messages was hard. The outfit that did it called themselves "The Black Chamber". The organization was founded in 1919, and was officially entitled the "Cipher Bureau" (with an "i"). Key personnel came from the cryptographic section of U.S. Army Intelligence.

The Chamber operated under cover of a business in New York City that sold codes to corporations. It was funded jointly by the U.S. Army and the State Department - plus a small profit from its commercial sideline.

The Chamber was most successful in decyphering the Japanese codes. This helped U.S. negotiators to obtain the maximum concessions from Japan, without demanding too much and causing the Japanese to withdraw from the Conference.

The Chamber was disbanded in 1929. Thrown out-of-work in the Depression, the Chamber's former chief Herbert Yardley told all in a 1931 book.
14. The Washington Treaty required the U.S., Britain and Japan to scrap or demilitarize numerous existing capital ships by the end of 1922. Approximately how many capital ships (total) were destroyed by a piece of paper?

Answer: 44

The Treaty included arms reduction as well as future arms limitations. The exact numbers are a bit unclear, because the U.S. scrapped / demilitarized 17 capital ships but completed 2 new ones in 1922 for a net reduction of 15. Britain scrapped / demilitarized 19; Japan 10. Of the 17 American ships, 13 were obsolete "pre-Dreadnoughts", as were all 10 of the Japanese ships. Of the 19 British ships only 2 were pre-Dreadnoughts - which left the British delegation somewhat unhappy.

The obsolete ships would likely have been scrapped even without the Treaty, but the other 20-odd were still viable. France and italy were not required to scrap any capital ships. Both nations retained obsolete pre-Dreadnoughts that were even less capable than the ones the U.S. scrapped.
15. How long did the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 take to negotiate, from the first session through the initialing of the Treaty?

Answer: Less than three months

The first session began on November 12, 1921; the Treaty was signed (subject to ratification) on February 6, 1922. The Treaty contained only 24 Articles, most of which were brief, and five tables. It was remarkably clear and straightforward for a document of such historic importance. The negotiating process was sometimes rancorous but remarkably swift.

The United States government was given custody of the final signed documents - and received the official renunciation of the Treaty by Japan in December of 1934.
Source: Author ignotus999

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