Last updated: 18-Feb-2005 15:07 NATO Topics


Lecture 1:

How did NATO survive the Cold War?
NATO's transformation after the Cold War from 1989 to the present

Lecture by Jamie Shea, 6 November 2003

NATO-Russia relations
NATO-Ukraine relations
NATO Member countries
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council members
Mediterranean Dialogue countries
Official texts
The North Atlantic Treaty
UN Charter
25/01/99 - NATO
NATO: Its 50th Anniversary - The Washington Summit - The Next Century
25/01/99 - NATO
NATO and the New Millennium
PDF library
The Prague Summit and NATO's Transformation
(.PDF/1370 Kb)
Bibliographic reference on Cold War from NATO Library
(.PDF/111 Kb)
Key links
The Cold War


The Warsaw Pact may have ended following the Cold War, yet the North Atlantic Alliance has managed to survive and continue to play a role in building security.

NATO was born over fifty years ago from the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty due to the threat of the Soviet Union and the declared ideological aims of the Soviet Communist Party.

NATO's essential purpose was (and still is) to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members through political and military means in accordance with the North Atlantic Treaty and the principles of the United Nations Charter.

Over fifty years later, despite the end of the Cold War and the transformation of old enemies to new allies, NATO continues to expand its Alliance and to project security further and further afield.

NATO and the Cold War

The Cold War was the term coined to describe the relationship between the democratic and capitalist United States and the Communist USSR post World War II.

From 1945 to 1949, Western European countries and their North American allies viewed with concern the expansionist policies and methods of the USSR.

Extending a "hand of friendship"

Between the creation of the Alliance and the present day, half a century of history has taken place. For much of this time, the central focus of NATO was providing for the immediate defence and security of its member countries.

Today, this remains its core task, but its immediate focus has undergone fundamental change as old enemies have now become allies able to work together for peace and security.

Creation of new institutions

The establishment of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in December 1991 brought together the member countries of NATO and, initially, nine Central and Eastern European countries, in a new consultative forum.

In March 1992, participation in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council was expanded to include all members of the Commonwealth of Independent States and by June 1992, Georgia and Albania had also become members.

Europe and the United States: maintaining their Alliance

Today, despite the end of the Cold War with the former Soviet Union and the threat of general war in Europe has virtually disappeared, North America and Europe have continued to maintain their Alliance in the face of new threats.

There are now other risks and uncertainties facing the members of the Alliance and other states in the Euro-Atlantic region, such as ethnic conflict, the abuse of human rights, political instability, economic fragility, terrorism and the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and their means of delivery.