NATO

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, is an international organization for defense collaboration established in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington, DC on April 4, 1949. Its other official name is the French language equivalent, L'Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord, or OTAN.

Contents

Origins

The core provision of the treaty is Article V, which states:

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 and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

This provision was intended so that if the Soviet Union launched an attack against the European allies of the United States, it would be treated as if it was an attack on the United States itself, which had the biggest military and could thus provide the most significant retaliation. Since a Soviet invasion of western Europe never occured, article five was never invoked until September 12, 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Member states

Greece and Turkey joined the organization in February 1952. Germany joined as West Germany in 1955 and German unification in 1990 extended the membership to the areas of former East Germany. Spain was admitted on May 30, 1982 and the former Warsaw Pact Countries of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic made history by becoming members on March 12, 1999. France is still a member of NATO but retired from the military command in 1966. Iceland, the sole member of NATO which does not have its own military force, joined on the condition that they would not be expected to establish one. Slovenia and the former Warsaw Pact countries of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia officially acceded to NATO on March 29, 2004. They attended their first NATO meeting in April 2004.

Timeline

Secretaries-General

  1. Hastings Lionel Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay (United Kingdom): 4 April 1952 - 16 May 1957
  2. Paul-Henri Spaak (Belgium): 16 May 1957 - 21 April 1961
  3. Dirk Stikker (Netherlands): 21 April 1961 - 1 August 1964
  4. Manlio Brosio (Italy): 1 August 1964 - 1 October 1971
  5. Joseph Luns (Netherlands): 1 October 1971 - 25 June 1984
  6. Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington (United Kingdom): 25 June 1984 - 1 July 1988
  7. Manfred Wörner (Germany): 1 July 1988- 13 August 1994
  8. Sergio Balanzino (Italy, acting): 13 August - 17 October 1994
  9. Willy Claes (Belgium): 17 October 1994 - 20 October 1995
  10. Sergio Balanzino (Italy, acting): 20 October - 5 December 1995
  11. Javier Solana (Spain): 5 December 1995 - 6 October 1999
  12. George Robertson (United Kingdom): 14 October 1999 - 1 January 2004
  13. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (Netherlands): 1 January 2004 - present.

Supreme Allied Commanders Europe (SACEUR)

  1. Dwight D. Eisenhower: 2 April, 1951 - 30 May, 1952
  2. Matthew Ridgway: 30 May, 1952 - 11 July, 1953
  3. Alfred Gruenther: 1 July, 1953 - 20 November, 1956
  4. Lauris Norstad: 20 November, 1956 - 1 January, 1963
  5. Lyman Lemnitzer: 1 January, 1963 - 1 July, 1969
  6. Andrew Goodpaster: 1 July, 1969 - 15 December, 1974
  7. Alexander Haig: 15 December, 1974 - 1 July, 1979
  8. Bernard Rogers: 1 July, 1979 - 26 June, 1987
  9. John Galvin: 26 June, 1987 - 23 June, 1992
  10. John Shalikashvili: 23 June, 1992 - 22 October, 1993
  11. George Joulwan: 22 October, 1993 - 11 July, 1997
  12. Wesley Clark: 11 July, 1997 - 3 May, 2000
  13. Joseph Ralston: 3 May, 2000 - 17 January, 2003
  14. James L. Jones: 17 January, 2003 - present

Note: starting with Ridgway all SACEUR have been simultaneously Commander in Chief, US European Command (CINCEUR)

United States Ambassador to NATO

See also

External links

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