North Atlantic Treaty Organization


July 5, 2022

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, abbreviated as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization in English, Organization du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord, OTAN in French) is a military association, an alliance of 30 North American and European countries, which after the Second World War, on April 4, 1949 I was founded in Washington. The objectives of the organization are included in the North Atlantic Treaty, according to which the member states use all political and military means in order to preserve the freedom and security of the member countries. Its official languages ​​are English and French. NATO is a direct result of the Cold War arms race. Nowadays, it also performs peacekeeping tasks beyond the borders of the member countries. Hungary - together with the Czech Republic and Poland - became a member of NATO in 1999.


Historical background

In 1945, after the end of the Second World War, Western European countries were exhausted by the long conflict, and because of this, they began to downsize their expensive armies extremely quickly and drastically. On the other hand, the rival Soviet Union came out of the war stronger and communist governments loyal to Moscow were established in the Eastern European countries it occupied. As the opposition between the two blocs intensified, the Iron Curtain was created and communist parties became active in the Western states. In order to stop and counter the Soviet advance on the continent, the United States created the Marshall Plan in 1948 as part of the Truman Doctrine, which is significant provided assistance to countries belonging to the American sphere of interest in restoring their economies. At the same time, the restoration of the region's military power and the creation of a Western defense alliance began. As a first step, the United Kingdom and France signed the Dunkirk Treaty in 1947, which was still primarily directed against Germany, and then in 1948 collective defense was extended to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in the Brussels Treaty. The move was also supported by the American administration led by Truman. At the same time, it quickly became clear to Western European governments that a stronger military alliance was needed. Meanwhile, secret negotiations were also started between the USA, Canada and the UK, as the three states did not trust that the UN could maintain global peace. The NATO charter, the North Atlantic Treaty, was finally signed on April 4, 1949 in Washington. The 12 signatory countries were the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, in addition to the three Benelux states, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Article 5 of the document guaranteed that if an external state attacked one of the member states, all members of the alliance would join the fight.

Accession of West Germany

Within NATO, the issue of West Germany's accession caused serious debate. Many member states found it dangerous to rearm the Germans due to the country's role in the world wars, but at the same time it became clear that the area was crucial for defense against the Soviets. The military alliance with the German leadership was finally agreed upon in the Treaty of Paris in 1954, as a result of which the military occupation of the country came to an end. The following year, NATO added West Germany to its membership, and in response to this move, the Soviet Union and its ally states created the Warsaw Pact just a week later. Germany literally rebuilt its army from scratch, the Bundeswehr, and a large number of foreign troops also arrived in Russia.