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NATO: The Reasons and Purpose Behind Its Creation

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The situation in Europe also began worsening in NATO’s early years. The Berlin Crisis, in which the US was the Alliance’s major player, gave the Soviet threat even more credibility, contributing to the controversial rearmament and admission of West Germany. In response, the Warsaw Pact was formed (Ismay). Later, even as the Cuban Missile Crisis passed and détente slowly progressed, NATO faced major internal crisis when France withdrew, citing American hegemony and perceived lack of French power. Nuclear weapons were a hot topic; despite arms control attempts by the NPT and SALT I, NATO maintained or acknowledged controversial policies such as nuclear sharing, massive retaliation, and the Double-Track Decision (Burr, “Dual-Track Decision”).

NATO was born from the Atlanticist need for defense against the communist threat. Even before its formation, the soon-to-be members were exploring new methods of international peacetime cooperation and mutually beneficial exchange. In the early years, the members drew closer together as the Alliance fleshed out its structure, united old enemies, and helped each other recover in ways the West had never encountered before. Before NATO was formed, the American government authorized a large financial aid package to Turkey and Greece, ostensibly to prevent “totalitarian regimes” from taking hold and threatening not only the Middle East but also the US by extension (Edwards 131-132). As part of his Doctrine, Truman called upon Congress to authorize financial aid to Turkey and Greece, saying “totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples … undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States” (Edwards 131).

Representative Judd pressed a sense of emergency against imminent communist expansion and claimed that “if we do not pass this bill … Greece as a free nation will go down tomorrow … and if Greece goes down, Turkey is hopelessly flanked” (Edwards 140). With nearly all vestiges of isolationism overwhelmed by fear of communism, the bill easily passed through both houses. The aid bill represented several firsts and set new precedents in the exploration of the new post-WWII world order. The US fully shifted away from isolationism and exercised the Truman Doctrine for the first time, assuming leadership of the global fight to contain communism. Atlanticist cooperation was evident as well; the UK, the original guardian of Greece, passed the torch to the US due to economic difficulties (Binder 98). International cooperation against the rapidly forming Eastern Bloc became a serious possibility, one that would grow into NATO. The aid bill also served as the precedent for the Marshall Plan, a similar aid program for Europe.

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Nato: the Reasons and Purpose Behind Its Creation. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 28, 2021, from
“Nato: the Reasons and Purpose Behind Its Creation.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
Nato: the Reasons and Purpose Behind Its Creation. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Nov. 2021].
Nato: the Reasons and Purpose Behind Its Creation [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 11 [cited 2021 Nov 28]. Available from:
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