The History Of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization

1121 words - 4 pages

The History of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed after World War II when the North Atlantic treaty was signed in 1949. The original countries were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States. Greece and Turkey joined in 1952, West Germany in 1955 and Spain in 1982. Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic were admitted in 1999. Today, these 19 countries make up the alliance, which may be looking to add new members. NATO was formed as an alliance in which all the members agreed to help each other defend themselves against outside threats. These main outside threats were the recently defeated Germany and the powerful Communist Soviet Union. An old saying by one of the early leaders of NATO says, “NATO exists to keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down.” The North Atlantic Treaty consists of a preamble and 14 articles. The preamble states the purpose of the treaty: to promote the common values of its members and to “unite their efforts for collective defense.” Article 1 calls for peaceful resolution of disputes. Article 2 pledges the parties to economic and political cooperation. Article 3 calls for development of the capacity for defense. Article 4 provides for joint consultations when a member is threatened. Article 5 promises the use of the members' armed forces for “collective self-defense.” Article 6 defines the areas covered by the treaty. Article 7 affirms the precedence of members' obligations under the United Nations Charter. Article 8 safeguards against conflict with any other treaties of the signatories. Article 9 creates a council to oversee implementation of the treaty. Article 10 describes admission procedures for other nations. Article 11 states the ratification procedure. Article 12 allows for reconsideration of the treaty. Article 13 outlines withdrawal procedures. Article 14 calls for the deposition of the official copies of the treaty in the U.S. Archives. In the early years of NATO, it was mainly the United States that served as a defense for the rebuilding countries of Europe. As the Soviets became more of a threat, the NATO countries united more and sort of became one military power all together. As the Cold War era was unfolding, it looked as if it would be NATO versus the Soviet Union for a long time.
The one most important success that could be accredited to the treaty and the actions of the alliance is ending the cold war. With all the power that the NATO forces had along with the power that the soviets possessed, war seemed inevitable. “The much-vaunted nuclear capability of NATO turns out, as a practical matter, to have been far less important to the eventual outcome than its conventional forces. But above all, it was NATO’s soft power that bested its adversary”(Mastny 1). This ‘soft power’ is what surprised the Soviet Union and the...

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