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What is NATO?
- NATO stand for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and was established in the aftermath of World War 2.
- The origins of the organisation trace back to March 1947, when France and the United Kingdom signed the ‘Treaty of Dunkirk’ to create an alliance in the event that Germany of the Soviet Union attack.
- This treaty was expanded over the next few years, eventually encompassing more countries in the North Atlantic Treaty – also known as the Washington Treaty – which was signed in April 1949.
- The purpose of the organisation is that of a collective security to its member states.
- This means that if a member state is threatened by an external country, a mutual defense will be given in response.
- NATO has intervened in conflicts such as that seen in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo and Libya.
It is a 28-country military and political alliance. To protect the freedom and security of the member nations, the organization was formed. The headquarter of the organization is located in Brussels, Belgium. NATO was created for collective defence on 4 April 1949, meaning that an offensive on any of its member nations would be viewed as an attack on all its allies. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.
NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere. After the destruction of the Second World War, the nations of Europe struggled to rebuild their economies and ensure their security.
The former required a massive influx of aid to help the war-torn landscapes re-establish industries and produce food, and the latter required assurances against a resurgent Germany or incursions from the Soviet Union. The United States viewed an economically strong, rearmed, and integrated Europe as vital to the prevention of communist expansion across the continent.
As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a program of large-scale economic aid to Europe. The resulting European Recovery Program, or Marshall Plan, not only facilitated European economic integration but promoted the idea of shared interests and cooperation between the United States and Europe. Soviet refusal either to participate in the Marshall Plan or to allow its satellite states in Eastern Europe to accept the economic assistance helped to reinforce the growing division between east and west in Europe.
In 1947–1948, a series of events caused the nations of Western Europe to become concerned about their physical and political security and the United States to become more closely involved with European affairs. The ongoing civil war in Greece, along with tensions in Turkey, led President Harry S. Truman to assert that the United States would provide economic and military aid to both countries, as well as to any other nation struggling against an attempt at subjugation.
A Soviet-sponsored coup in Czechoslovakia resulted in a communist government coming to power on the borders of Germany. Attention also focused on elections in Italy as the communist party had made significant gains among Italian voters. Furthermore, events in Germany also caused concern.
The occupation and governance of Germany after the war had long been disputed, and in mid-1948, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin chose to test Western resolve by implementing a blockade against West Berlin, which was then under joint U.S., British, and French control but surrounded by Soviet-controlled East Germany. This Berlin Crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of conflict, although a massive airlift to resupply the city for the duration of the blockade helped to prevent an outright confrontation.
These events caused U.S. officials to grow increasingly wary of the possibility that the countries of Western Europe might deal with their security concerns by negotiating with the Soviets. To counter this possible turn of events, the Truman Administration considered the possibility of forming a European-American alliance that would commit the United States to bolstering the security of Western Europe.
What is the full form of NATO?The full form of NATO is North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
How Does NATO Work?
NATO’s mission is to protect the freedom of its members and the stability of their regions. Its targets include weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and cyber-attacks.
A key aspect of the alliance is Article 5, which states that “an armed attack against one Ally is considered an attack against all Allies. In other words, if someone attacks one NATO nation, all NATO nations will retaliate.
NATO’s protection does not extend to members’ civil wars or internal coups. During a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, for example, NATO did not intervene on either side of the conflict. As a NATO member, Turkey would receive its allies’ support in the case of an attack, but not in case of a coup.
NATO is funded by its members. The United States contributes roughly three-fourths of NATO’s budget. Only 10 countries have reached the target spending level of 2% of gross domestic product (GDP).The United States was forecast to spend 3.52% of its GDP on defense in 2021.
Which countries are in NATO?
There are currently 30 member states of NATO, with 3 aspiring states.
The 12 founding states, who signed the initial 1949 treaty, are:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
Greece and Turkey joined the alliance in 1952, with Spain joining in 1982.
West Germany joined in 1955, with East Germany assimilating into the alliance upon the reunification of Germany in 1990.
Since 1997, NATO has expanded east to include more countries such as:
- Czech Republic
NATO participates in three alliances that expand its influence beyond its 30 member countries. The first is the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, which helps partners become NATO members. It includes 20 non-NATO countries that support NATO’s purpose. It began in 1991.
The Mediterranean Dialogue seeks to stabilize the Middle East. Its non-NATO members include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. It began in 1994.
The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative works for peace throughout the larger Middle East region. It includes four members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. They are Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. It began in 2004.
NATO also cooperates with eight other countries in joint security issues. There are five Asia-Pacific countries, which include Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, and New Zealand. There is one in South America (Colombia), and there are three cooperative countries in the Middle East: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.
History of NATO?
The founding members of NATO signed the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949. It worked in conjunction with the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. The organizations were created during the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference.
NATO’s primary purpose was to defend member nations from threats by communist countries. The United States also wanted to maintain a presence in Europe. It sought to prevent a resurgence of aggressive nationalism and to foster political union. In this way, NATO made the formation of the European Union possible. U.S. military protection gave European nations the safety needed to rebuild after World War II’s devastation.
The most recent additions to the alliance are Montenegro in 2017 and North Macedonia in 2020.
The three countries who are currently classed as ‘aspiring members’ are Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine.
NATO currently allows any country to join its ranks, with the group saying that they have an “open door policy”.
The groups states on their website: “Any European country in a position to further the principles of the Washington Treaty and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area can become a member of the Alliance at the invitation of the North Atlantic Council.
“Countries aspiring for NATO membership are also expected to meet certain political, economic and military goals in order to ensure that they will become contributors to Alliance security as well as beneficiaries of it.”
the Mutual Defense Assistance Program
The result of these extensive negotiations was the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. In this agreement, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom agreed to consider attack against one an attack against all, along with consultations about threats and defense matters.
This collective defense arrangement only formally applied to attacks against the signatories that occurred in Europe or North America; it did not include conflicts in colonial territories. After the treaty was signed, a number of the signatories made requests to the United States for military aid. Later in 1949, President Truman proposed a military assistance program, and the Mutual Defense Assistance Program passed the U.S. Congress in October, appropriating some $1.4 billion dollars for the purpose of building Western European defenses.
Soon after the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the outbreak of the Korean War led the members to move quickly to integrate and coordinate their defense forces through a centralized headquarters. The North Korean attack on South Korea was widely viewed at the time to be an example of communist aggression directed by Moscow,
so the United States bolstered its troop commitments to Europe to provide assurances against Soviet aggression on the European continent. In 1952, the members agreed to admit Greece and Turkey to NATO and added the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955. West German entry led the Soviet Union to retaliate with its own regional alliance, which took the form of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and included the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe as members.
The collective defense arrangements in NATO served to place the whole of Western Europe under the American “nuclear umbrella.” In the 1950s, one of the first military doctrines of NATO emerged in the form of “massive retaliation,” or the idea that if any member was attacked, the United States would respond with a large-scale nuclear attack.
The threat of this form of response was meant to serve as a deterrent against Soviet aggression on the continent. Although formed in response to the exigencies of the developing Cold War, NATO has lasted beyond the end of that conflict, with membership even expanding to include some former Soviet states. It remains the largest peacetime military alliance in the world.
When the United States and many European nations joined the North Atlantic Treaty to cooperate against attackers, NATO was created in 1949, after the 2nd World War.It began with just 12 member nations in 1949: Belgium, Denmark, Canada, France, Italy, Iceland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, the UK (United Kingdom) and the US (United States).Greece & Turkey entered the association in 1952.
It was entered by West Germany in 1955.Spain entered the association in 1982.In 1997, they welcomed Hungary, the Czech Republic as well as Poland to participate in the organization. Seven nations entered in 2004, one year after NATO took charge of the United Nations Mandated ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), Estonia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.Albania & Croatia were members in 2009.