Reliability of League of Nations Armaments Yearbooks

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Winnie the Vladimir Pootin
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Reliability of League of Nations Armaments Yearbooks

Post by Winnie the Vladimir Pootin » 23 Jun 2019 00:15

Hello forum members,

This is my very first post, and for it I wanted to ask about the reliability of a collection of sources I've found. While diving into the world of logistics and armament research in the 1930's, I've come across League of Nations Armament Yearbooks for the late 20's through the mid 1930's, detailing order of battles, defense expenditures, and even specific armaments of numerous nations, including many minor nations that otherwise have very limited sources. Yet, I've barely seen them referenced on these forums, and have yet to see any references to them in the (albeit limited) texts on the subject I've read, namely the works of Branko Bogdanovic and Henrikas Gaidis.

Does anyone have any experience working with these reports, or can anyone speak to their veracity? If I've learned one thing in my quest it's that not all sources are made equal, and even texts that would appear to be the authoritative source for information can be sorely misguided when working with periphery regions of the world (definitely not looking at you Robert Ball).

Respectfully,

Vladi the Poo
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pugsville
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Re: Reliability of League of Nations Armaments Yearbooks

Post by pugsville » 24 Jun 2019 01:02

is it available on line?

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Winnie the Vladimir Pootin
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Re: Reliability of League of Nations Armaments Yearbooks

Post by Winnie the Vladimir Pootin » 25 Jun 2019 21:01

Not especially. There are reports published from 1925-1939, as far as I can tell so far they come with additions that are oriented towards Order of Battle and some towards armaments. My local university library has several on online editions on catalog via a partnership with University of Michigan, but the only one I can find online is for Order of Battle in 1939, the link of which is below. That's a text only translation, you can find the original text easily from there.

https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli ... k_djvu.txt
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reedwh52
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Re: Reliability of League of Nations Armaments Yearbooks

Post by reedwh52 » 26 Jun 2019 01:47

The information in the yearbooks are as accurate as any governmental document of the time. The information for each country is provided by the government of that country.

One caveat-The weapons totals are likely the weapons in the hands of troops.I say this because the US totals DO NOT include weapons in storage. For example, short several thousand field guns, tens of thousands of machine guns, and well over 1 million riflesThey represent a much reduced portion on the



The yearbooks are available on line on a nation by nation (by year) basis.

Web archive has an archive of Northwestern University's League of Nations collection at https://wayback.archive-it.org/6321/201 ... u/league//

The directory of contents is at https://wayback.archive-it.org/6321/201 ... earch.html;

and the individual nations Armements yearbook is athttps://wayback.archive-it.org/6321/20160901214707/http://digital.library.northwestern.edu ... -4a08.html

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Winnie the Vladimir Pootin
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Re: Reliability of League of Nations Armaments Yearbooks

Post by Winnie the Vladimir Pootin » 26 Jun 2019 05:23

Thank you Reed! I was concerned that the figures may be unreliable considering the reputation of the League of Nation's in many countries (say Hungary). I hadn't found them online just with Google, but now that you've posted a full catalog through Northwestern, you've saved me a bike ride over to the library every morning!

As a second point, I would agree with you on the notes about weapons in storage, France is also equally lacking even though they should have well over one million more Lebels and Berthiers laying about. I don't suppose you have any thoughts on sources that may include weapons in storage, country specific or otherwise?
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Stiltzkin
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Re: Reliability of League of Nations Armaments Yearbooks

Post by Stiltzkin » 26 Jun 2019 06:03

defense expenditures
They are more accurate for transparent nations (aka democratic), but unreliable (unsurprisingly) for dictatorships. This document will not give an insight into the outlays of Soviet and German war preparations though.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Reliability of League of Nations Armaments Yearbooks

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Jun 2019 14:05

They were dependent entirely on League members providing the information. As the yearbooks were open sources, this conflicted with the requirements of military secrecy.

My guess is that they were more accurate initially in the 1920s, when good will for the League was at its highest, but declined in value as international competition and rearmament took off in the 1930s.

Cheers,

Sid.

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