NATO 1949-1969

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Early in the 1970es the WARSAW PACT had a numerical superiority in many weapons categories, such as TANKS, fighter planes, as well as in numbers of soldiers. When Soviet SS 20 missiles were installed in bases all over Eastern Central Europe, FRG chancellor HELMUT SCHMIDT requested the US administration to develop a missile balancing it - the PERSHING.
In many countries of Western Europe, grassroots pacidist movements opposed to the installation of the Pershing missiles emerged. In 1982, when the missiles were ready to be installed, the German SPD overrode chanceller Helmut Schmidt, forcing him to reject the step he himself had requested; his government coalition faltered within weeks; the missiles were installed after all.

A number of US-Soviet negotiations to limit the ARMS RACE have taken place, resulting in the SALT I, SALT II and ABM TREATY.
In 1989 communist governments in Eastern Central Europe fell. Their successor governments, hoping to obtain security for their newly gained independence, applied for NATO membership - so Hungary, Poland. In the 1990es, NATO experienced an expension into Eastern Central Europe : SPAIN 1981/96, POLAND 1999, HUNGARY 1999, CZECH REPUBLIC 1999.

During the 1970es and 1980es NATO regarded the WARSAW PACT as a potential threat. After the disintegration of the latter in 1989, regional crises such as the dissolution of Yugoslavia posed new types of situations. NATO long tried to stay out of the conflicts in BOSNIA, but in the end interfered in order to separate the belligerent sides. When the Yugoslav army turned on majority Albanian Kosovo, after long standing on the sidelines, NATO airforce reacted by bombing targets in Kosovo and Serbia proper which were regarded military targets. The campaign caused tension within NATO, as NATO member GREECE sympathized with the Serbians.

NATO History, from Center for Military and Strategic Studies, UCalgary
NATO: History of NATO: Information about NATO, from World Book Encyclopedia
NATO Website
Timeline NATO History, 1990es, posted by Univ. Kassel, in German
SFOR Homepage, posted by NATO, SFOR being Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina
NATO's Role in Kosovo, from NATO
DOCUMENTS Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy : NATO, compiled by Vincent Ferraro at Mt. Holyoke
Images of the Pershing Missile, from The Launch Pad
Pershing History, from Redstone

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

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