What is NATO? Founding history, functions and member states

What are the purposes and functions of NATO? In this article, we have examined in detail NATO’s main purpose, history and member states. Here’s everything about NATO.

What is NATO?

NATO stands for “North Atlantic Treaty Organization” and is a military alliance. NATO is a defense alliance formed by European countries and some countries in North America.

NATO’s history dates back to 1949, when the Washington Treaty was signed. This treaty is a defense cooperation agreement between European countries, Canada and the United States. The purpose of this agreement was to counter a possible attack by the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries.

NATO founding date


The Soviets’ expansion efforts in Europe and especially the Czechoslovak coup d’état in February 1948 resulted in the creation in March 1948 of an alliance system called the Western European Union between England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The year 1949 was a turning point in US foreign policy, as the US, which until then had seemed unwilling to play a direct role in the defense of Western Europe, this year played a major role in the creation of NATO . The United States, which has not allied with Europe since the Monroe Doctrine, passed a “Vandenberg Resolution” on June 11, 1948, allowing participation in regional and other joint agreements.

On June 21, 1948, an anti-inflation program went into effect in the American and British occupation zones in Germany and West Berlin without the authorization of the USSR. Contrary to previous agreements that Germany would remain as a single economic unit, the USSR blockaded West Berlin on 24 June.

After this, the US on the one hand began to provide aid to West Berlin and on the other hand began to focus on the idea of ​​forming an alliance for the defense of Western Europe.

As a result of negotiations with Western European countries, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed on April 4, 1949 in Washington. The treaty established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in accordance with the principle of “collective self-defense” in the UN Charter.

The US, Belgium, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Italy, Iceland, Canada, Luxembourg, Norway and Portugal were initially members of NATO. The creation of NATO is proof that there is now a clear division between East and West. Some time after the birth of the Alliance, the Federal Republic of Germany was established by the US on German soil and the USSR responded by establishing the Democratic Republic of Germany. A divided Germany would become one of the main symbols of the Cold War.

With the creation of NATO, the expansion of the Soviet Union in Europe came to an end after that day, but until 1949 they closed a significant part of Europe within their borders or took it under their control.

What is the purpose of NATO?


NATO’s founding goal, II. It was supposed to keep Europe together after World War II and to counter a possible attack by the Soviet Union. NATO’s main purpose is to develop joint strategies to ensure the security of member states and to coordinate their forces. To this end, NATO enables member states to cooperate in the provision of military training and equipment.

  • Contributing to the establishment of global peace and security.
  • It helps maintain international peace and stability by participating in peacekeeping operations.
  • It also strives to combat terrorism, proliferation and other threats to international security.
  • It also promotes political and economic cooperation between member states.
  • They work together to form common policies and support each other.
  • It is the bringing together of different investments on a common denominator, not only in the military, but also in the economic and social field.

What are the functions of NATO?


NATO performs many functions to ensure the security of its member countries and to maintain international peace and stability. In this section we look in detail at NATO’s main functions.

Joint defense

NATO coordinates the armed forces of the member states and develops common defense strategies. For example, member states support each other in the event of an attack. Thus, NATO contributes to the maintenance of regional and global stability by ensuring the security of its member states.

Crisis management

NATO also plays an active role in crisis management. In this context, it creates fast-moving forces to address threats to member states’ security. NATO also works to deal with natural disasters, humanitarian crises and other emergencies.

Collaboration and education

NATO conducts military cooperation and training activities between its member countries. In this context, it is committed to the modernization and development of the armed forces of the Member States. It also organizes military training and exercises and contributes to the development of the knowledge and skills of the member states’ military.

International cooperation

NATO also attaches importance to international cooperation. In this context, NATO member states contribute to peace and stability in the world by cooperating with other countries and international organisations. NATO also works with other countries to combat terrorism, proliferation and other threats to international security.

Political cooperation

NATO also promotes political cooperation between member countries. In this framework, it works together to form a common policy between the Member States and to support each other. NATO also supports political dialogue between member states.

NATO member states


There are many countries in NATO where military, political and economic cooperation converge. The Member States show mutual solidarity on many points. Here are the NATO countries;

  • Germany (1955)
  • Turkey (1952)
  • United States (1949)
  • Albania (2009)
  • Belgium (1949)
  • United Kingdom (1949)
  • Bulgaria (2004)
  • Czech Republic (1999)
  • Denmark (1949)
  • Estonia (2004)
  • France (1949)
  • Croatia (2009)
  • Netherlands (1949)
  • Spain (1982)
  • Italy (1949)
  • Iceland (1949)
  • Canada (1949)
  • On the Landǧ (2017)
  • North Macedonia (2020)
  • Latvia (2004)
  • Lithuania (2004)
  • Luxembourg (1949)
  • Hungary (1999)
  • Norway (1949)
  • Poland (1999)
  • Portugal (1949)
  • Romania (2004)
  • Slovakia (2004)
  • Slovenia (2004)
  • Turkey (1952)
  • Greece (1952)
  • Romania (2004)
  • Slovakia (2004)
  • Slovenia (2004)
  • Greece (1952)

What does NATO mean?

NATO is the abbreviation for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This organization was established to ensure the security of North American and European countries and to support each other.

How many member states are members of NATO?

NATO currently has 30 members. All US, Canada and European countries are members of this organization.

Why was NATO founded?

NATO was founded during the Cold War, at a time when Western European countries were threatened by the Soviet Union. The aim was to ensure the security of the member states and to support each other.

What activities does NATO carry out?

NATO carries out many activities, such as joint defence, crisis management, cooperation and education, international cooperation and political cooperation.

What is NATO’s decision-making mechanism?

NATO has a number of decision-making bodies in which representatives of the member states participate. The highest decision-making body is the NATO Summit, attended by the leaders of the member states. NATO also has a number of committees composed of defense ministers, foreign ministers and other senior officials.

Is Turkey a member of NATO?

Yes, Turkey is a member of NATO. Turkey joined NATO in 1952 and has been an active member of the organization ever since.

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