Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
An arms race may be defined as a pattern of competitive acquisition of military capability between two or more countries. The term arms race is often used quite loosely to refer to any military buildup or spending increases by a group of countries. This definition requires that there be a competitive nature to this buildup, often reflecting an adversarial relationship. The arms race concept is also used fruitfully in other fields, especially evolutionary biology; however, this entry deals only with military arms races. One example of an arms race is the “Dreadnought” arms race between Germany and Britain prior to World War I. In the early 20th century, Germany as a rising power sought to challenge the United Kingdom's traditional naval dominance. In 1906, Britain launched a new, more advanced warship, HMS Dreadnought , triggering a naval arms race. Between 1909 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914, ...