Also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between three of the five official nuclear-weapon states with the power to veto at the United Nations Security Council (United States, France and the United Kingdom) and 26 other North American and European countries.
The alliance is based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an international alliance that consists of 29 member states from North Americaand Europe. It was established at the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it should be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.
The formation of the Warsaw Pact was in some ways a response to the creation of NATO, although it did not occur until six years after the Western alliance came into being. It was more directly inspired by the rearming of West Germany and its admission into NATO in 1955. In the aftermath of World War Iand World War II, Soviet leaders felt very apprehensive about Germany once again becoming a military power–a concern that was shared by many European nations on both sides of the Cold War divide.
Like NATO, the Warsaw Pact focused on the objective of creating a coordinated defense among its member nations in order to deter an enemy attack. There was also an internal security component to the agreement that proved useful to the USSR. The alliance provided a mechanism for the Soviets to exercise even tighter control over the other Communist states in Eastern Europe and deter pact members from seeking greater autonomy.