On the morning of the signing of the treaty of Versailles, the entire German High Seas Fleet was scuttled. The second largest navy in the world instantly ceased to exist without the firing of a single shot. But soon a new arms race began between Britain, the United States and Japan. Radical new battleships, larger, and with more firepower than ever before were planned.Fearing another global catastrophe, US Secretary of State, Charles Evan Hughes called a conference to try and halt the madness. The Washington Conference set limitations for the size and power of the fleets of the world's navies. Battleships were scrapped and, for a brief moment in history, it appeared that sanity would prevail. One of the extraordinary results of the Washington Agreement was that America now matched Britain in naval power. Japan had been delegated to a 'second-class' naval power, restricted to maintaining a fleet substantially less powerful than either Britain or the USA.Japan brooded about the agreement, and a decade later, consolidated plans to build new battleships in secret. By the mid-1930's Italy, Russia and re-emerging National Socialist Germany began building up their battle fleets. Germany, ignoring the Treaty of Versailles restrictions, laid down a small but powerful fleet of "pocket battleships". On September 1st, 1939 the first shots were fired in what was soon to become the most horrendous war in global history.