As the second World War was coming to an end, the representatives of some fifty nations met in San Francisco to sign the United Nations Charter in an attempt to unify many countries. The date was June 26 1946, and the countries that signed the charter did so to put themselves in a better position if any conflict were to arise in the future. During the time the charter was drawn and the treaty was signed, April 4 1949, ten countries who had signed the charter were in need of more protection that would require a stronger means of defense. The United States and Canada were to write the pledge of mutual security, that each country was to uphold if they wished to be a part of the alliance. The European countries by 1949 were all at a great disadvantage, since the defeat of Japan and Germany occurred there would be an opening for the Soviet Union to have its influential ways on imposing communism throughout Europe. The Soviet Union began to add on to its empire during World War two because they knew that the small countries which included: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania, North-East Germany, and parts of Finland. All these countries combined contained an estimated 23 million people. This was only the beginning of the expansion according to the Soviets at the time, they planned to impose communism on as much of Europe as they could. They were all for the expansion of communism on a world wide level, with Russia at the core. The Soviets were doing the best to gain control of Eastern Europe because they knew if they controlled a large portion of it they would have immense power. The North Atlantic Treaty would enable countries to protect themselves against any threat through utilizing the powers of many countries.
To better understand the alliance of the many countries a closer look must be taken at the treaty itself. The treaty was more than a military alliance, what it also did to the relations between the many members was to open up closed doors in economic, political, and social fields that would allow all of the countries to grow as a unit. The countires main two goals were to promote the well-being in the North Atalntic area, and to encourage economic growth within their own counrtry. Thus the treaty provided for the internal growth of many countires while allowing the growth of all of the mebers as a whole. The treaty was composed of a preamble, which outlines the treaty’s main features, and fouteen articles that provided the backing for what the treaty was to impose. The first article i beleive is the most basic, but it provides the ground work for the other articles. It states that the countries that are a part of NATO will do their best to coply with the rules set forth by the treaty, also it demands that the members avoid endangering the peace and tranquility of other countries around the world. As I read through the articles i realized that in a way the first article was repeated, included, or referred back to in some way. The other article that I believe has great importance is the fifth article, which says, “The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all…”. This one phrase ensures that a country can not be attacked by another without serious repercussions. Each country that is a member of NATO is free, which means that any action taken in retaliation is up to the discretion of the country itself. Under article 51 of the United Nations Charter the framework is provided for article five of the North Atlantic Treaty, making it clear that any actions taken will be ceased upon review by the Security Council. The treaty was a little more intricate, but what it basically did was to provide a council of representatives that could intervene and assist any member of the alliance in need of assistance. For example if Canada was under attack by means of nuclear arms, which Russia was about to fire, the other members of NATO would be obliged to take some action to come to their defense.
The development of the allianced countries can be broken down in to three main phases. The first phase was from 1949 to 1955, this was th period where the machinery and other means of upholding the commitments made after the end of the war. Many countries had to be rebuilt because the war had torn apart their homeland, and as members of NATO they would work together to give aide. Also the twelve original signatories of the treaty were to be joined by Greece, Turkey, and The Federal Republic of Germany. I would consider this a growing period for NATO, they were putting together the infrastructure that would provide the stability that all of its members expected. The second phase was from 1955 to 1964, which had a great deal to do with the Soviet threat that was ominous to many other countries. The negotiations between the USSR and the West were basically cut off in 1949, occasionally there were meetings, but nothing substantial. The Soviets were expanding its supply of weaponry, and part of their armament was nuclear war-heads, which were feared by the entire world. This meant that the countries must all work in conjunction if they wished to expand on the peace between all nations. The third phase was from 1965 to 1968, many scientific agreements were made by all members of NATO’s members, and the USSR became somewhat involved. The allianced countries used this time to develop their defense planning, which had a great deal to do with nuclear arms as a means of defense. NATO was allowing itself to grow as a unit rather than just one or two countries prospering, but was NATO really capable of if they were called on.
NATO developed a strategy that proved simple yet effective, if the enemy was kept at a distance more time would be available to plan an offensive attack. NATO began to set up integrated commands all over the world in 1951 in order to make sure that troops would be close to any confrontation that was to arise. Troops would have to be trained and equipped to protect against any enemy attack on a territory of NATO. NATO began to acknowledge the fact that a nuclear strike from Russia was an option to them, which may not be able to be deterred. This put a damper on keeping the enemy at a distance, but NATO was planning ahead so that they knew what precautions to take under any circumstances. In 1957 the Russians launched sputnik into orbit, which stirred up the reactions of the members of NATO, who were not at all happy with the developments in technology that the Soviets were achieving. In December of 1957 the Heads of Government met to discuss how NATO was to equip itself if Russia, who was more than capable of launching a nuclear attack, were to fire on a country. NATO’s members saw it necessary to keep a stock of nuclear war-heads, and to make available to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, intermediate range ballistic missiles. Any development of nuclear arms would be decided by the countries directly concerned in the confrontation. This was a big step for NATO because now they were equipped with weapons that could provide the defense necessary if any attack were to take place. In 1960 NATO began to developement mobile forces which were land and air means of defense that could be dispatched to a country under attack. This would allow for many smaller European countries to be a part of a unit that would deter any aggressor that may issue an attack. Another major development took place in 1963 when NATO strengthened its nuclear force substantially, by adding three submarines to the United States, and added the V-Bomber force to the United Kingdom. In 1966 the decision to establish two nuclear planning and policy making bodies, that were to remain until dispersed. The nuclear Defense Affairs Committee is one of these, the responsibilities of its members include policy making on nuclear affairs of the alliance. The second being the Nuclear Planning Group (NPG), which was comprised of seven elected officials from the NDAC. The NPG deals with the more specific issues that come along with the use of nuclear arms. These two organizations allow for the safety of many countries to be maintained, their objective is to make sure that the guidelines that they set are follwed. I believe that they are responsible for a large portion of NATO’s stability because of the dramatic effects of a nuclear strike against any country.
The North Atlantic Council is the highest authority that dictates the basic guidelines that make up pact between the alliance. The council is made up of representatives from the members, all countries are equal in their voting status for any decision. Upon meeting the council has the choice of meeting on the level of ministers or permanent representatives, which do meet at a certain time every year. When the ministerial meetings are called for each country may send several of their ministers, depending on the criteria that will be discussed. If the country for some reason is not able to send a minister as representation they may be represented by Heads of Government. The council of ministers usually meets two or three times a year, although the permanent representatives meet once or twice a week. The council does not deal with defense matters which are left to the Defense Planning Committee. What they do decide on is everything else besides defense, in a way they are the peacekeepers. The defense council and the North Atlantic Council can be brought together very quickly if need be to make strategic decisions that could effect the security of a member of the alliance. The Secretary General is Chairman of the North Atlantic Council, Defense Planning Committee, and Nuclear Planning Committee, also he is responsible for the direction of the international staff that makes up the rest of NATO. The responsibility that the Secretary General holds is tremendous, he has the ability to make decisions that could effect the world. The Assistant Secretary General has the power over the Political Committee, and the Information and Cultural relations between the many members of NATO. The responsibility that he holds is mainly directed by the organization of all political affairs concerned with NATO, and the functions that it may find itself involved in. Many people make up the political staff of NATO, but since there are a variety of sectors that each is responsible for working in conjunction with each other is a must.
NATO has been growing rapidly from the time it was formed some fifty years ago, which has proved to be a succesful half decade. The members of NATO have been confronted with an assortment of problems that made it neccessary to establish new rules to protect the innocent lives that were at stake. Many people forget the real reason NATO was formed, and that was to make sure that the safety and security of the inhabitnants of the member countries was to remain intact. As the years passed and NATO began to play a large role in world politics the views that the Europeans held were not the same as the Americans. For the majority of the smaller European countries their perception of the struggle between Russia and The United States to see who was the real superpower may drag them into a confrontation that they wanted no parts of. Throughout the eighties The United States has been labeled as unrespectful toward the interest of many of the allianced countries, which in a way was true, but if the U.S. did not step up to the leadership position then who would. There had to be a leader, and why not America who had already proclaimed its democratic nature. A poll was taken in Europe in the late 1980’s, the poll asked what the European public thought of the current alliance. Their response they were fearful of the Soviet and U.S. military buildup of nuclear arms. Also as the decline of communism has come into effect through much of Europe, with the exception of Italy, the Soviet Union is now viewed with the same regards held for the U.S. In 1987 a Gallup poll Americans felt obliged to protect any European country from invasion , particularly an attack led by Soviet forces. Although in the same year another poll was taken, and for the majority many of the allianced countries were in favor of NATO as a whole, and saw it as a gateway into European politics. For the most part many countries, including The United States, were in favor of NATO and the manner in which it functioned. It acted as a safety net for many countries that could not defend themselves against attack from a more capable country. NATO was not the aggressor in any situation, when a conflict arose NATO would be there to make sure that the confrontation would be resolved in the quickest, safest, and most efficient fashion.