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Birth of NATO

In May 1945, the World War II in Europe came to an end. However, the hard-won victory left the continent devastated and under the growing risk of Soviet invasion.

This short clip recounts the immediate aftermath of events, starting with the conferences in Yalta and Potsdam. It explains Soviet expansionism and the spread of communism, which led to the rise of the Iron Curtain and the division of Europe into eastern and western blocs.

Follow the birth of NATO as we know it today - a transatlantic agreement signed on 4 April 1949, which created an alliance of countries united against any form of military aggression.




"In May 1945 the war in Europe came to an end.

This had been the price of Europe's unpreparedness.

Our hard-won peace seemed at last secured.

A few days before, Allied forces from the West had joined hands with the Russians from the East.

Their statesmen had met cordially at Yalta and at Potsdam. They had agreed that the countries they had occupied should be truly liberated. And that freely elected governments should be set up as soon as possible.

Russia had swallowed up eight European countries without firing another shot. Great Britain and the United States protested that these countries had been coerced by the threat of force, and that Russia had broken her treaty. But Russia ignored the protests.

On April 4 1949, the North AtlanticTreaty was signed between France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Iceland, Canada and the United States.

The pact was designed to keep within the letter and spirit of the United Nation's Charter.

The treaty members realised that real peace is more than an absence of war, and they seek to promote political and economic stability in the North Atlantic area.

To ensure this, they're sworn to stand together against aggression. An attack against one would be an attack against all. This union of 12 nations became known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or more simply NATO."