NATO’s Worst Crises in 70 Years as the World’s First Military Alliance
- During the Cold War, NATO effectively defended Western Europe with American nuclear weapons.
- Twelve countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949, and NATO has since expanded to 29 countries, including former Soviet states bordering Russia, angering Moscow.
- Here are six occasions, from the construction of the Berlin Wall to the attacks of September 11, where NATO has faced a crisis.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a pact launched 70 years ago from the ashes of World War II to deal with Stalin’s Soviet threat and bind Western Europe and the United States, is the main military alliance in the world.
The success of its deterrent power can be seen in a simple reality: NATO’s first combat mission did not come until after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
During the Cold War, NATO effectively defended Western Europe with American nuclear weapons, as the Office of the NATO Historian notes.
Read more: The real target of Russia’s 100-megaton submarine nuclear device
Since the treaty signed on April 4, 1949 by 12 powers, NATO has expanded to 29 countries and expanded to include the former Soviet states on the border with Russia, which angered Moscow.
Its forces are now facing off against Russia, which under President Vladimir Putin seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine by force in 2014. The Russian military is developing allegedly unstoppable missiles that travel more than five times the speed of sound and one apocalyptic torpedo that could radiate an entire ocean. .
Here is a look at six times NATO has faced a crisis that has brought it to the brink of war or in combat.