Founded on April 4th, 1949, in the capitol Washington D.C., the mission behind NATO was to provide a collective defense for all member countries; essentially, one member could not be attacked or it would be seen as an attack on the entirety of NATO. This way, countries could not be conquered one-by-one like the beginning of World War II.
The original NATO members included the United States of America, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Canada, Portugal, Italy, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and later West Germany (Or the Federal Republic of Germany) in 1952. Today NATO also includes many other members of Europe such as Spain, Turkey, Greece, and many former members of the Warsaw Pact who sought protection against Russian intervention, including Albania, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Slovenia, bringing the total number of member countries to twenty-eight.
During the Cold War, i
Member-nations are not the only nations who cooperate with or contribute to NATO missions, as there is also the Partnership for Peace program, including countries from Europe such as Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Sweden, Russia, etc. but also countries outside of Europe such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, etc. There is also the NATO-Russia Council, an organization formed at the NATO-Russia Summit held in Rome during 2002, which is responsible for maintaining the relationship between NATO-members and Russia. The NRC has thus far been very successful, as the NRC is currently working with both groups on multiple issues despite the two being former enemies for many years.
The effects of the NATO alliance can be seen in many places today, from the standard NATO cartridges developed for firearms to the many operations and meetings held between member countries. Although some people believe NATO’s role has been fulfilled with the end of the Cold War, NATO has been shown giving teeth to UN-mandated peace keeping operations and providing security to the nations of Europe, stabilizing the region while assisting in multiple ways around the world.