Nato: The world's biggest defence alliance

2012-05-16 13:10
Brussels - Founded in the early days of the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) has grown into a collective defence group of 28 nations from North America and Europe.

The United States, Canada and 10 European allies signed a treaty in Washington on 4 April 1949, creating an enduring military alliance based on solidarity against threats from the Soviet Union.

The first European nations to team up with North America were Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Over the subsequent years, 16 more nations joined the club as the fall of the Iron Curtain brought former Soviet satellites into the transatlantic family.

Nato welcomed Germany, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into the fold over the years.

A second wave on March 2004 brought Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania. The last two nations to join Nato were Albania and Croatia in 2010.

The United States is by far the biggest contributor to the alliance, representing 75% of defence spending, compared to 50% a decade ago.

The alliance's central tenet is Article 5, which states that an attack on one Nato nation represents an attack on all.

This principle was invoked only once in Nato's history, on 12 September 2001, the day after al-Qaeda's suicide airplane attack on the United States.

Nato was first headquartered in London and then Paris before moving to Brussels in 1966. Its military command centre, known by its acronym Shape, is in Mons, Belgium

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister, has held the post of secretary general, the alliance's top civilian official, since August 2009.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  nato  |  9/11

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Hostages safe in Paris

2016-12-02 22:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.