What Is NATO?
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance of 28 European and North American countries and was established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Two of the member states (Canada and US) are located in North America, 25 in Europe, and one (Turkey in Eurasia. All countries, save for Iceland, have militaries. Three countries (France, UK, US) are nuclear powers. There were 12 original founding members. In 1955 NATO had its first enlargement, with Greece and Turkey being added to the alliance. There have been six enlargements in total, with the last one taking place in 2009. The objective of the organization is to provide mutual protection for member states in case of attacks. Formed in 1949 in the early years of the Cold War, it was initially directed at the Communist Soviet Union.
Who Are The Member States Of NATO?
NATO was originally established on 4 April 1949 by 12 nations. These were Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, France Luxembourg, Portugal, the UK, and the US. On 18 February 1952, the organization had its first enlargement, with Greece and Turkey joining. The second enlargement was on 6 May 1955, when West Germany joined. The third expansion took place on 30 May 1982, with Spain becoming a member. The fourth enlargement on 12 May 1999 added the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to the organization. The fifth enlargement was on 29 March 2004, when Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined. The last enlargement was the sixth which took place on 1 April 2009, adding Albania and Croatia to NATO.
Member States’ Military Personnel And Military Expenditures
Member states are expected to provide military personnel for NATO activities when called upon to do so. Of the member states, the US has the largest military personnel at 2,220,412. It is followed by Turkey at 1,041,900; Poland at 635,000; Greece at 389,070; and the UK at 387,571. The top five contributors of military personnel in NATO, those with the largest number of deployable military personnel, according to 2013 figures are the US at 1,370,000; Turkey at 494,000; France at 213,000; Italy at 186,000; and Germany at 184,000. Regarding military expenditure the leading NATO countries, according to 2014 figures, are the US at 609,914,000, which is 3.5% of its GDP, France at 62,289,000, which is 2.2% of its GDP. The UK also spends 60,482,000, which is 2.2% of its GDP and Germany at 46,455,000, which is 1.2% of its GDP; and Italy at 30,909,000, which is 1.5% of its GDP.
NATO Agreements Between NATO Countries: The North Atlantic Treaty
Agreements between the members of the North Atlantic Treaty include article 1 which states that member states shall settle international disputes peacefully, maintaining international security and justice. Article 5 also states that whenever an armed attack occurs against one member country, the other members shall consider it an attack on the collective, and shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces whenever necessary. Article 6 also states that the treaty only covers member nations’ territories in North America, Europe, and islands in the North Atlantic North of the Tropic of Cancer, plus French Algeria, a condition that excluded the US state of Hawaii.
The Soviet Union is no longer a threat after its collapse, NATO is no longer as relevant as it once was. It does, however, have a symbolic relevance, and countries like Ukraine and Georgia are pushing for admittance into the organization for the connection it gives to the US, Canada, and the EU member states.
What are the NATO Countries?
NATO is an alliance of 28 European and North American nations and was established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. They include the United States, Canada, Iceland, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
|Date Of Accession||Country||Enlargement|
|4 April 1949||Belgium||Founders|
|4 April 1949||Canada||Founders|
|4 April 1949||Denmark||Founders|
|4 April 1949||France||Founders|
|4 April 1949||Iceland||Founders|
|4 April 1949||Italy||Founders|
|4 April 1949||Luxembourg||Founders|
|4 April 1949||Netherlands||Founders|
|4 April 1949||Norway||Founders|
|4 April 1949||Portugal||Founders|
|4 April 1949||United Kingdom||Founders|
|4 April 1949||United States||Founders|
|18 February 1952||Greece||First|
|18 February 1952||Turkey||First|
|6 May 1955||Germany||Second|
|30 May 1982||Spain||Third|
|12 March 1999||Czech Republic||Fourth|
|12 March 1999||Hungary||Fourth|
|12 March 1999||Poland||Fourth|
|29 March 2004||Bulgaria||Fifth|
|29 March 2004||Estonia||Fifth|
|29 March 2004||Latvia||Fifth|
|29 March 2004||Lithuania||Fifth|
|29 March 2004||Romania||Fifth|
|29 March 2004||Slovakia||Fifth|
|29 March 2004||Slovenia||Fifth|
|1 April 2009||Albania||Sixth|
|1 April 2009||Croatia||Sixth|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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