Research Institute for the History of Global Arms Transfer

Research Institute for the History of Global Arms Transfer

Project Summary

Aims of the Research Institute
Preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is one of the most important national security issues in the post-Cold War era. Furthermore, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons has been increasingly identified as a key problem that has exacerbated armed regional conflicts and hindered the free flow of development support to developing countries. Through comprehensive historical studies, our research institute aims to clarify the complicated structure of the modern world that prevents disarmament and arms control.
Subject and Perspective
Our research institute focuses on the influence of disarmament on the armament industry, the achievements thus far in this area and the continuing challenges in disarmament and arms control, as well as the relationship between the armament industry and states and universities (such as the industrial–military–research complex). This investigation is done from a comprehensive historical perspective, which includes economic history, history of international affairs, imperial history, military history and other related fields. In the process, historical research is related to debates on current policy issues. Through such an approach, interdisciplinary and international research is fostered. 
Arms Transfer as an Analytical Concept
The problems of disarmament and arms control are not solely limited to the post-Cold War period. Since the Second World War, the arms trade has expanded rapidly and has become more complicated. However, the essential structure of this expansion and complexity was already formed prior to the First World War. To clarify this historical fact, our research project analysed arms transfer in diverse ways. Arms transfer broadly includes not only the transfer of weapons but also the licensing for arms production and the dispatching engineers for repair and production capabilities (and hence the technology transfer). Arms transfer is an analytical concept for comprehensively understanding the strategies and relationships of the armament industries, militaries and the governments of two countries (i.e. the sender and the receiver). The analytical concept of arms transfer has been frequently used in international politics with a focus on the post-Cold War period. However, our research project applies this concept for the first time to the field of historical research.

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