May 17, 2022

NATO (English North Atlantic Treaty Organization "Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty" or North Atlantic Pact Organization), also known in German as the Atlantic Alliance or as the North Atlantic Pact (French OTAN - Organization du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord), is a defensive alliance of 30 European and North American member states, which serves to jointly protect their own territories and also pursues the goal of global political security and stability. The basis of NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty according to Article 51 of the UN Charter. In its preamble, the members commit themselves to peace, democracy, freedom and the rule of law. According to the German Federal Ministry of Defence, NATO sees itself as a “community of values ​​of free democratic states”. As an international organization without sovereignty, its member states retain full sovereignty and independence. NATO headquarters have been in Brussels since 1967. It is home to the North Atlantic Council, the main organ of NATO, and its immediate subordinate bodies: the International Staff (IS) and the International Military Staff (IMS). The two most important military headquarters are the ACO (also known as Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe/SHAPE for historical and legal reasons) in Casteau near Mons, Belgium, and the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, USA. The North Atlantic Pact was signed on April 4, 1949 as part of the US containment policy against the Soviet Union. Initially limited to 20 years, it was extended indefinitely in 1969 due to the ongoing Cold War. The NATO headquarters were initially in London and from 1952 in Paris. Because of France's withdrawal from the military integration of the alliance, the headquarters were moved to Brussels in 1967.

History and development


Soon after the end of World War II, the antagonisms between the former participating powers in the anti-Hitler coalition became apparent: the USSR on the one hand and the UK, France and the USA on the other. With the Brussels Pact of March 17, 1948, the Western European countries of France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg joined together to form an alliance for economic, social and cultural cooperation and for collective self-defence. This alliance was still nominally intended as a pact of assistance against renewed German aggression. On June 11, 1948, the United States Senate passed what is known as the Vandenberg Resolution, which said that in exchange for a US commitment to defend any European country, it must also agree to defend the United States. In March 1947, the USA assumed the role of British protecting power over Greece and Turkey in order to counteract an expansion of Soviet power (Truman Doctrine). With the February 1948 coup in Czechoslovakia and the Berlin Blockade from June 1948 to May 1949, a possible military threat from the Soviet-led communist Eastern Bloc came to the fore in Western Europe. The Western European states now turned to the USA with a request for military assistance against possible Soviet aggression. This resulted in a mutual agreement, the North Atlantic Treaty. Consultations on the text and content of the treaty began on July 6, 1948. On December 10, 1948, negotiations for the North Atlantic Treaty began between the member states of the Brussels Pact, Canada and the United States.

Construction and expansion phase 1949 to 1955

On April 4, 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed by Belgium, Denmark (with Greenland), France (with the f