The Antarctic Treaty states that:
- All uses of nuclear weapons are prohibited
- All uses of biological weapons are prohibited
- All uses of chemical weapons are prohibited
- Dropping space colonies or large asteroids onto Earth is prohibited
- All POWs must be treated humanely
- All neutral territories must be respected and combat operations in these regions are prohibited. The neutrality at Side 6 was recognized and respected
Events Leading to the Treaty
Prior to the treaty are a series of events happening before the original Gundam TV series Mobile Suit Gundam. First told in Gundam Century in a detailed manner, the first and second chapter, titled Zeon mobile forces and Background of Guerrilla warfare, mentions small conflicts of Guerrilla warfare started by Principality of Zeon of Side 3 to claim independency from the Earth Federation and on the third chapter, titled Operation British, is a detailed version of the opening narration of Mobile Suit Gundam, where Zeon declared an all-out war on the Earth Federation government on January 3rd, U.C.0079, starting the One Year War. During the battle, Zeon forces gassed entire colonies, killing billions of people, and both sides used nuclear warheads in the battle. With the element of surprise and their nuclear-powered Zaku mobile suits, the Zeon forces overwhelmed the Federation colonial garrisons. The Zeon forces then launched Operation British, attempting to drop a depopulated colony cylinder onto the Federation's Jaburo HQ in South America. However, the Earth Federation Space Force engaged the Zeon forces on the Earth's orbit, and the battle caused the colony cylinder to disintegrate. The fourth chapter, Disaster, follows the impact on the largest chunk hit Sydney, Australia and wiped out 16% of the continent, creating a 300-mile crater. The first week of war (known as the One Week War) resulted in the complete destruction of Side 1, 2 and 4, and catastrophic climate change on Earth, killing third of Earth Sphere's population.
Gundam Century then jumps to the events happening in the beginning of Mobile Suit Gundam, yet Gundam Officials specifies in detail that after the failure in missing the primary target, Zeon forces then attempted to repeat Operation British by hijacking a colony in Side 5 (also known as Loum). The Earth Federation's 1st Combine Fleet, under General Revil, set out to intercept the Zeon fleet. The two forces engaged at Side 5 on January 15th, and due to Zeon's tactical advantage with their mobile suits, the Battle of Loum ended in the destruction of 80% of the Federations 1st fleet and the capture of General Revil.
Although actually a pyrrhic victory, the outcome of the battle gave the Principality a huge propaganda advantage. With the Earth Federation severely demoralized, Gihren Zabi attempted to frighten the Federation into submission by threatening to drop the space fortress Luna II on Jaburo. The two side met in Antarctica to discuss the terms of Earth Federation's surrender. However, General Revil escaped with the help of Federal agents and sympathizers within Zeon, arriving at Luna II just in time to broadcast his famous "Zeon is exhausted" speech, citing what he had seen in Side 3 and exposing Gihren Zabi's bluff. Regaining the spirit to fight on, the Earth Federation rejected all terms of surrender, but agreed to discuss on issues regarding the rules of war. On January 31st, U.C. 0079, both sides agreed on the treaty.
In the Gundam Encyclopedia:"Gundam Officials", the editor, Yuka Minakawa, quoted the original author of Mobile Suit Gundam, Yoshiyuki Tomino, in the Antarctic Treaty section in page 532, that the Federation needed the treaty to be signed because:
- They had no effective way of defending themselves from colony drops, especially against the tactical advantage of Zeon mobile suits at the time
- They knew Zeon's main weakness was the scarcity of mineral resources, and prolonging the war meant taking the lead in mass-production of ships and weapons, thus a long-term strategic advantage
- They needed time to catch up with their own mobile suit development.
The same section also states the Principality of Zeon agreed to the treaty in light of the following factors:
- The continual use of weapons of mass-destruction were also dangerous to Zeon, as the Federation Forces could retaliate back with NBC strikes. The EFSF had enough nuclear warheads stored in Luna II to completely annihilate Side 3 (a few thousand according to Gundam Officials).
- The banning of weapons of mass destruction meant that conventional/mobile warfare would be the norm. With their mobile suits, Zeon would have the tactical advantage — they already outpaced the Earth Federation in MS development, having successfully deployed their Zakus in real combat (although the Federation engineers proposed their own mobile suit research project in U.C.0078, the Project V didn't formally start until after the Battle of Loum, and the mass deployment of Federation mobile suits didn't appear until November, U.C.0079)
- The treaty allowed Zeon to bring the battlefront down to the surface of Earth. Surface access was considered paramount because in a prolonged war scenario their raw material resources were insufficient (Zeon's national strength was only 1/30 compared to the Federation), and they soon after started various mining operations on Earth (the biggest being the M'Quve mining operations near Odessa).
Violations of the treaty
Within the multiple storylines, the Antarctic Treaty did not remain in effect after the end of the war (in U.C.0080) but was effectively broken many times:
- U.C. 0079: Operation Odessa: Zeon CO M'Quve, after realizing the Eastern and Western European theaters were lost, launched a nuclear missile at the advancing Federation forces as he retreated. The missile was successfully intercepted by Amuro Ray in the RX-78-2 Gundam. (Mobile Suit Gundam TV series storyline)
- U.C. 0079: In the waning days of the war, Zeon covert ops forces under the command of Zeon commander Killing plan a nuclear strike against the Side 6 colony Libot, where the RX-78NT1 Gundam 'Alex' is under development. Patrolling Federation vessels intercept Killing's forces before the strike can be executed, saving the colony inhabitants. (Mobile Suit Gundam 0080:War in the Pocket)
Events mistaken as violations of the treaty.
All events below are commonly thought of as violations but as the treaty was no longer in effect after the OYW ended they did not violate the treaty, at least to the Earth Federation side. Although to the Zeon side, the Zeon independent war never ended, and thus the 0083 development of GP02A was viewed as a violation of the treaty and thus Delaz fleet used this as a reason to use the atomic weapon and drop the colony. They may have violated the Granada peace accords but as that is different from the Antarctic treaty they should not be counted as violations of the antarctic treaty. Gundam official states this "When the Principality is dissolved at the end of the One Year War, the Antarctic Treaty becomes officially defunct. However, most of its provisions are enshrined as international law with the signing of the Granada peace accords.". 
- U.C. 0083: the Federation secretly contracted Anaheim Electronics to develop the RX-78GP02A Physalis Gundam unit; the unit was designed to attack with the Mk.82 tactical nuclear warheads, and was capable of sustaining the shock resulting from such explosions with its massive shield; for this reason all official records of it were subsequently deleted.(Mobile Suit Gundam 0083:Stardust Memories)
- U.C. 0083: Operation Stardust: after successfully stealing the GP02A from Federation's Torrington base in Australia, the Delaz Fleet, a remnant group of Gihren Zabi loyalists who refuse to accept defeat in One Year War, fired a nuclear warhead on the Federation Naval Review, destroying/disabling two thirds of the ships taking part.(Mobile Suit Gundam 0083:Stardust Memories)
- U.C. 0083: Operation Stardust: the Delaz Fleet dropped a colony on the North American continent to drastically reduce Earth's food production.(Mobile Suit Gundam 0083:Stardust Memories)
- U.C. 0085: the 30 Bunch Incident: the Titans task force used G3 nerve gas on Side 1's 30th colony, which were actively protesting against Federation's policies, killing all 3 million of its inhabitants. This inspired the first organized resistance to the Titans.
- U.C. 0087: Gryps Conflict: the Titans gassed Side 2's 21st Block colony with G3 as a show of force.(Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam)
- U.C. 0088: Haman Karn's Neo-Zeon dropped a colony on the city of Dublin, as a show of force and intimidation.(Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam)
- U.C. 0093: Char Aznable's Second Neo-Zeon dropped the space fortress Fifth Luna on the city of Lhasa (Earth Federation's headquarter at the time), as part of a series of attempts to initiate a nuclear winter on planet Earth.(Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counter Attack)
- U.C. 0093: Char Aznable attempted to drop the asteroid Axis on Earth, to complete his plan of rendering Earth uninhabitable and forcing the space migration of the whole human race.(Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counter Attack)
- U.C. 0093: the Earth Federation's Londo Bell task force used nuclear missiles during the space battle to stop the Axis drop on Earth, but failed to destroy the asteroid. The asteroid was later pushed away by a resonating force field generated by Amuro Ray's psychoframe-equipped ν Gundam.(Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counter Attack)
- U.C. 0099: the Moon Crisis: a group of Zeon remnants plan to terrorize the Earth Sphere by sabotaging and dropping a large portion of the Moon onto Earth. The plan is foiled by Earth Federal Forces.(Mobile Suit Gundam 0099: Moon Crisis)
- U.C. 0100: with the reabsorption of the Republic of Zeon into the Earth Federation, the Antarctic Treaty becomes technically defunct.(Mobile Suit Gundam 0099: Moon Crisis)
The Antarctic Treaty is defunct at the end of the One Year War. With the signing of the Granada Accords, it is assumed that based on the numerous colony drops, colony exterminations, and nuclear warhead uses that the Granada Treaty lifts the ban on nuclear weaponry only, but still bans biological and chemical weapons.
- ↑ (ja)
- ↑ Universal Century :: Glossary :: Miscellaneous Terms :: One Week Battle. Gundam Official. Retrieved on 2007-11-04.
- ↑ Gundam Officials, P.532 Antarctic Treaty, (ja)
- ↑ Gundam official http://www.gundamofficial.com/worlds/uc/background/glossary_misc.html#antarctictreaty