NATO since 1969
IMF Warsaw Pact

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Norway, Denmark, the Benelux Countries, France, even Italy, the western zones of Germany and Austria haf been liberated from Nazi occupation or from Fascism/Nazism, either directly by US troops or largely due to the huge commitment the US has made both financially and in terms of troops it committed in World War II. The same countries, plus a number of states neutral during the war, such as Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey, came to benefit from the MARSHALL PLAN (since 1947/48).
In 1948 it became evident that the USSR was intent to establish PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACIES within its sphere of influence; USSR arms policy (the development of the nuclear bomb in 1949), the BERLIN BLOCKADE (1948-49), Stalin's expressed desire to control the Bosphorus (1947) and Soviet aid to the communists in the GREEK CIVIL WAR (1947-1949) raised the desire in western democracies to form a military organization able to meet a potential threat posed by the Soviet block.

NATO was founded in 1949 by the following 12 member nations : the USA, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Greece and Turkey joined in 1950, the FRG in 1955. The seat of NATO was PARIS, France. NATO was, and continurs to be, an organization stressing military cooperation - arms, organization and strategies of member country's armies, navies and air forces had to be harmonized - and of mutual defense. In case one NATO member was attacked, the others were obliged by treaty to join in its defense.
Spain, because being a Falangist dictatorship, criticized by many member nation governments because of its human rights record etc., was not permitted to join. Yet the US used military facilities in Spain; military cooperation was arranged by treaty.
NATO obligations did not extend to various member nations' colonial possessions.

NATO became a stabilizing factor in post-war European history. The US played a dominant role within NATO. France, in an attempt to establish a European defense structure as a counterweight to US influence, in 1967 left the military structure of NATO and founded the WEU instead, calling on the other European governments to follow them. The call was not answered, the only fallout being NATO headquarters being moved from Paris to BRUSSELS.
Throughout the 1950es and 1960es, NATO has not been engaged in any military confrontation.

NATO History, from Center for Military and Strategic Studies, UCalgary
NATO: History of NATO: Information about NATO, from World Book Encyclopedia
NATO Website
DOCUMENTS Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy : NATO, compiled by Vincent Ferraro at Mt. Holyoke
North Atlantic Treaty; April 4, 1949, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on July 17th 2001, last revised on November 11th 2004

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