NATO, 1949

What is NATO?
NATO is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is a military alliance based on the promise of mutual defence against an attack by an external force.
When was NATO formed?
NATO was formed on 4th April, 1949.
Who joined NATO?
The original 12 members were: the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, Portugal and Iceland.
Why was NATO created?
NATO was formed by the USA and other western countries for 2 main reasons:
  • The actions of Stalin and the USSR in the Berlin Blockade had worried them.
  • They wanted military protection from future aggression.
What were the consequences of the creation of NATO?
There were 4 key consequences of the creation of NATO:
  • The USSR was contained in Europe, ensuring if it attacked any European member of NATO the other members would come to that country's aid.
  • All NATO members were protected by the promise of mutual military aid against any Soviet attack, helping to make the security of western Europe stronger.
  • In response to West Germany joining NATO, the Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955 so the USSR had full military control over eastern Europe.
  • The USA had committed to a military presence in Europe.
What message was sent by the creation of NATO?
The creation of NATO sent 2 main messages to the USSR:
  • The USA and western European countries would not accept Soviet aggression.
  • The West would maintain the idea of containment set out in the Truman Doctrine.
Why was NATO important?
NATO was important for 2 main reasons:
  • It was based on the idea of 'collective security' - when one country is attacked, the rest must assist it.
  • It acted as a deterrent to a military attack by the Soviet Union on western Europe.
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