The Antartic Treaty
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The Antartic Treaty. Charlotte, Naffie, Kristin and Aiko. Post WWII. In the 1950’s nations claimed rights to sovereignty over the Arctic due to exploration or discovery The U.S. and Soviet Union asserted their dominance and did not recognize the claims of other nations in the Arctic.

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The Antartic Treaty

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The Antartic Treaty

Charlotte, Naffie, Kristin and Aiko


  • In the 1950’s nations claimed rights to sovereignty over the Arctic due to exploration or discovery

    • The U.S. and Soviet Union asserted their dominance and did not recognize the claims of other nations in the Arctic.

Why might the Arctic need protecting?

  • Possible exploitable resources

  • Largely uninhabited area = space for nuclear weapons storage

Something had to be done to protect the Arctic and

prevent future possible conflicts concerning the Arctic!

Build up to the Treaty

  • International Geophysical Year of 1957-1958 (IGY) 12 nations made a joint peaceful effort to protect the Arctic and conduct research there in a peaceful manner.

Who was involved?

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States

Beginning of Treaty

  • On May 3rd 1958 the U.S. proposed three points of regulation for the Arctic to the eleven other nations in the IGY:

    • 1. that the legal status quo of the Antarctic Continent remain unchanged

    • 2. that scientific cooperation continue

    • 3. that the continent be used for peaceful purposes only

Ratification of the Treaty

  • The Washington Conference on Antarctica was held from October 15 to December 1, 1959 where all of the 12 nations signed the treaty.

    • The U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty on August 18, 1960 and the Antarctic Treaty entered into force on June 23, 1961.

Official Terms of the Treaty

  • The Antarctic Treaty Banned the following in Antarctica:

    • establishment of military bases (but military personnel or equipment may be used for scientific purposes.)

    • military maneuvers

    • stationing or testing of any type of weapon

    • nuclear explosion

Success of the Treaty

  • The Antarctic Treaty was seen as a model for future arms limitation treaties.(i.e. prevention of nuclear products in the seabed or outer space.)

  • Today there are 44 nations which participate in maintaining the Antarctic Treaty.

Historic Events Occurring at the Time of the Creation of the Antarctic Treaty

• Key movements in nuclear/atomic weaponry earlier in the decade

*Truman approves production of hydrogen bomb (1950)

*First hydrogen bomb test in South pacific (1952)

*Nautilus launched (1954)

•Cold War (1945-1991): Growing political unease over possible use of Antarctica for military purposes.

• 1957-1958: International Geophysical Year

• 1958: First U.S Satellite launched

• 1959: Khrushchev tours the U.S

  • Some things have been added to the treaty to ‘fill in gaps’, mainly due to conservation

    • 1964- The Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Flora and Fauna

    • 1972- The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals

    • 1980- The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

    • 1991- The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty

Argentinean Compliance

According to the BAS, the Treaty “provides that no new or enlarged claims can be made”

  • Argentina is trying to lay claim to the Antarctic Peninsula

    • Claim contested by Chile and the UK

  • These claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty, although Argentina is pushing for them to be recognized.

  • Argentine Antarctica

    Image from Wikimedia Commons:

    Japanese ‘Loophole’ Whaling

    • ‘Scientific’ Whaling Program

      • Undertaking a wide spread whaling program in the waters off of Antarctica

    • Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

      • “an anti-whaling group that often goes to extreme measures to stop the Japanese whaling fleet” –National Geographic

    Members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society prepare to confront the 8,000-ton Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru.

    Photo by Paul Taggart

    Work Cited

    • "The Antarctic Treaty - Background Information - British Antarctic Survey." British Antarctic Survey - Homepage. Web. 05 Oct. 2009. <>.Joyner, Christopher C. International law in the 21st century: rules for global governance. MD: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc., 2005. Print."StateMaster - Encyclopedia: Argentine Antarctica." StateMaster - US Statistics, State Comparisons. Web. 05 Oct. 2009. <>.Taggart, Paul. Whaling. Photograph. National Geographic. Web. 5 Oct. 2009. <>."Whale Wars : Is Japan Complying With Antarctic Treaty? : Animal Planet." Animal Planet : Pets, Wild Animals, Dog Breeds, Cat Breeds. Web. 05 Oct. 2009. <>."Whaling Wars in the Antarctic Seas - National Geographic Adventure Magazine." National Geographic - Inspiring People to Care About the Planet. Web. 05 Oct. 2009.

    The End

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