This Module outlined the development of the international arms trade from its early days to modern times. The arms trade has developed significantly. It started as an unregulated trade between colonisers and colonies (as part of the triangular trade from Britain, for example). During the first half of the 20 th Century, two global conflicts drove partnerships and the demand for arms, and there were suggestions that private companies' involvement in their supply should not be permitted. In the Cold War era, which was also essentially colonial in nature, some regulations between blocks of allies started to emerge, but the main elements of regulation took place in the post-Cold War era.
The economic and political need for a legitimate arms trade has been explored, as well as the key players identified, in terms of manufacturers and state importers/exporters. The Module also demonstrated the importance of international legal frameworks, which help to ensure that legitimately traded firearms are not diverted to illegitimate users.