Foundation of NATO

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History on 4th April

Foundation of NATO

The 4th of April 1949 AD

After WWII ended Europe was exhausted, many of its people facing potential starvation. Though there was immense friction between the USSR and the countries of Western Europe and their North American allies, this exhaustion meant there was a breathing space before friction could ignite a war.
Wary of the possible resurgence of German power, the UK and France signed the Dunkirk Treaty in 1947. The following year these two plus the Benelux nations signed the Treaty of Brussels, with the same possible enemy in mind, plus the background fear of the increasing might of the USSR, a situation brought into closer focus by the Berlin Blockade, which saw in September 1948 The Western European Union agree a defence organisation.
It was obvious to the countries of Western Europe, however, that without the support of the USA in any conflict with the USSR there was every likelihood of defeat. Thus diplomats from both sides of the Atlantic worked feverishly towards a mutual defence pact, leading to the signing in Washington DC on April 4 1949 of the North Atlantic Treaty, where the five parties to the Brussels Treaty were joined by the USA and Canada, along with Portugal, Iceland, Italy, Denmark and Norway.
The heart of the agreement was worded as follows: "The Parties of NATO agreed that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." Such an attack would be met with the combined forces of the 12 nations.
The two sides in the Cold War were drawn up. For decades there would be an uneasy armed peace in Europe, but peace nonetheless. Every week at the NATO HQ on the Boulevard Leopold III in Brussels the permanent representatives to NATO meet to discuss matters pertaining to the maintenance of this peace. There are now far more members, including some nations once part of the competing bloc, but the aim remains the same.

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The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of the pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes. - John Stuart Mill
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On this day:
The Hundred Years War begins - 1337, Ashmolean Museum Opens - 1683, Westminster Bridge Opens - 1862
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