2013 - 2014

Arming all Sides

Arming all Sides conducted research into the arms trade before, during and after the First World War. The project aimed to compare and contrast the arms trade at the time with it now, in the run up to the First World War Centenary commemorations.

After the First World War many believed the arms trade to be a primary cause of war. The unprecedented scale of death and destruction wrought by modern weaponry led a majority of people to support disarmament and international conciliation. Arming All Sides questions what role the arms trade played before, during and after the war, what opposition was mounted to the trade and how the war affected what people thought about making and selling armaments.

Visit the website here

25 volunteer researchers, supported by On the Record scoured archives and libraries the length and breadth of Britain to uncover the case studies you can read on the 'Arming all Sides Website'. Many of them also wrote up their research for the site. The case studies are organized around four themes: the making and selling of arms, opposition to the arms trade, the government’s relationship with the trade and cultural perceptions and representations of the arms trade. You can also explore them through the timeline or by location.

The project was managed by Campaign Against Arms Trade and On the Record.

Year 10 students from George Mitchell School in Waltham Forest, London conducted a modern day Peace Ballot to gauge public opinion towards the arms trade compared to the 1930s. Read more (and watch a film of the Ballot in action) here.

Kindly supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (via the Trust for Research and Education on the Arms Trade).


"Four years of war has seen the toiling millions of the industrial world forced and hounded by senile laws to expend their labour upon transforming billions of pounds worth of wealth into millions of death-dealing instruments of human murder."  - William Paul