NATO soon expanded its membership to include Greece, Turkey and West Germany during the Cold War which resulted in the Soviets forming its own defense organization known as the Warsaw Pact. Later members of NATO were Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and Croatia. NATO continues to play an important role in post-Cold War Europe.
What does NATO stand for? NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
When was NATO formed? The date NATO was formed was on April 4, 1949.
Who were the original members of NATO? The original members of NATO were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Why was NATO created? NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was created to provide collective security after WW2 and to counter the threat of further Communist expansion during the Cold War.
Facts about NATO
The establishment of the "Iron Curtain", the boundary that separated the free democratic countries of the West with the communist dominated countries of the East, and the threat of further Communist expansion started the Cold War.
During the Cold War the United States adhered to the Domino Theory and adopted the policy of Containment, which was designed to restrict communist expansion by keeping communism within its present territory by diplomatic, military and economic actions.
17 March 1948: The Treaty of Brussels was signed on 17 March 1948 by western European countries consisting of the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Treaty of Brussels and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the military agency called the Western Union Defence Organization in September 1948.
The Berlin Crisis (1 April, 1948 – 12 May, 1949) saw the Soviets mount the Berlin Blockade and convinced many Americans that the Soviets were planning to extend their power through further conquests in Europe. Support began to grow for the idea of a post-war military alliance with the countries of western Europe which would further the US policy of containment.
The countries of western Europe realized that a new mutual defense agreement involving the United States and Canada was necessary due to the Soviet threat. The US was responsive to the concept and secret meetings between officials began in March 1949 to negotiate a trans-Atlantic mutual defense pact.
The secret meetings were held at the Pentagon between 22 March, 1948 to 1 April 1948 between the United States, United Kingdom and Canada and led to the formation of NATO.
Representatives from 12 countries gathered for a meeting in Washington, D.C. The committee was chaired by US diplomat Theodore Achilles who was the head the Office of Western European Affairs at the Department of State.
4 April 1949: The North Atlantic Treaty was signed on 4 April 1949 and established NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty was to create a mutual defense pact aimed at containing possible Soviet aggression against Western Europe.
The North Atlantic Treaty was the first peacetime military alliance ever concluded by the United States and was signed by the foreign ministers of the twelve signatory nations
NATO originally consisted of 12 countries - Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States
The goal of NATO was to "safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization" of its members by promoting "stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area". Its aim was to block Soviet expansion into Europe. Members of NATO agreed to come to the aid of any member who was attacked.
The NATO phonetic alphabet was adopted during the Cold War to improve communications between different countries and eliminate misunderstandings and errors.
1952: Following the Turkish Straits crisis and Greek Civil War (1946–1949) the NATO alliance expanded to include Greece and Turkey.
1955: On May 5, 1955, the American, British and French forces formally ended their military occupation of West Germany, which became an independent country. Four days later, on May 9, 1955, West Germany was made a member of NATO and included in the Western European defense system
1955: The USSR condemned NATO as a warmongering alliance and on May 14, 1955 the Soviet Union created a counter-alliance called the Warsaw Pact. The Warsaw Pact was a collective defense treaty among 8 communist 'satellite nations' of Central and Eastern Europe in existence during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was led by the USSR and consisted of the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria..
1982: Spain had adopted a democratic constitution but this had been threatened by an unsuccessful coup d’état against the fledgling Spanish democracy. Due to its military vulnerability Spain sought membership of NATO and became a member of the organization on 30 May 1982
1991: The Warsaw Pact was dissolved at the end of the Cold War, after the break-up of the USSR in 1991.
1994: In 1994 NATO offered former Warsaw Pact members limited associations in the form of the Partnership for Peace program.
1999: Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland became the first former Warsaw Pact countries to gain NATO membership in 1999.
2001: Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the supportive reaction from Russia led to the establishment of the Nato-Russia Council in May 2002. The Nato-Russia Council gives Russia an equal role with the NATO countries in decision-making on policies to counter terrorism and other security threats.
In 2004 Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania were all welcomed as new NATO members
In 2009 Albania and Croatia became members of NATO.
There are currently 28 independent member countries of NATO: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.
NATO played and important role throughout the course of the Cold War and continues to play an important role in post-Cold War Europe
NATO Members and Countries
NATO and SEATO
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