Happy 75th Birthday, NATO

Posted on April 5, 2024

by Eric P

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, was born 75 years ago. It’s kind of like an exclusive country club only without the annual dues. And with tanks instead of golf carts. Actually there are lots of ways it’s nothing like a country club, but the point is, it turns 75 in 2024, and how many can say that? Besides Ozzy Osbourne?

In April of 1949, representatives of the alliance’s twelve founding member countries – Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United States, and the United Kingdom – congregated in Washington DC and signed a treaty pledging to strive for peaceful resolutions to international disputes, and to come to the defense of one another against not-so-peaceful aggressors.

The notion of a mutual defense pact was very attractive to its members in the immediate aftermath of World War II and in apprehension over aggression from a rising Soviet Union. That anxiety spurred the creation of NATO’s oft-cited Article 5, which declares that an attack on any member state should be responded to as an attack against all of them. It’s the kind of declaration whose very existence, its participants hope, will mean they never actually have to act on it. And in fact, as it turns out, the only time Article 5’s mutual defense requirement has ever been explicitly invoked had nothing to do with the Cold War but rather with member countries deploying troops to aid the United States after September 11. So far, anyway.

Over the decades it’s had its share of both successes and fiascos, but today NATO has 32 member nations, including Sweden which joined just last month. The alliance promises to be in news headlines for the foreseeable future, especially given the ongoing aggression of Russia against Ukraine. Ukraine would like to join NATO, while Russia considers any NATO expansion – especially one that incorporates Ukraine – to be an unacceptable threat.

Did you like this blog post? Keep up to date with all of our posts by subscribing to the Library’s newsletters!

Keep your reading list updated with our book lists. Our staff love to read and they’ll give you the scoop on new tv-series inspired titles, hobbies, educational resources, pop culture, current events, and more!

Looking for more great titles? Get personalized recommendations from our librarians with this simple form.