Friday, June 11, 2010

Organization and Objectives of NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO (also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, or the Western Alliance) is a military alliance, established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. With headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, the organization established a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

History

Beginnings

The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. This treaty established a military alliance, later to become the Western European Union. However, American participation was thought necessary in order to counter the military power of the Soviet Union, and therefore talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately.

These talks resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, D. C. on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states, as well as the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Three years later, on 18 February 1952, Greee and Turkey also joined.

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe. The NATO countries ultimately rejected this proposal.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organisation on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Minister of Norway at the time. Indeed, one of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union and its satellite states, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

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