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The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict establishes terms that are meant to ensure the preservation of archaeological sites, historical structures, works of art, scientific collections and other forms of cultural property during wartime.

This agreement compels parties to the convention to curtail the theft and vandalism of artifacts, help preserve cultural property when occupying foreign territory, and avoid the targeting and use of cultural sites and cultural property for military purposes.

Drafted by a host of nations, including the United States, and adopted at The Hague (Netherlands), the 1954 Hague ConventionĀ came about in reaction to the rampant cultural destruction that occurred in Europe during World War II. The indiscriminate destruction wrought by German forces between 1939 adn 1945 demonstrated the need for a new instrument to protect cultural property during military conflict and occupation.

While the DoD had long pledged to respect the 1954 Hague Conventon, the United States did not become an official party to the treaty until September 25, 2008, when the U.S. Senate completed ratification.

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