Skip to Main Content
Accessibility Information

HIS 100 - Perspectives in History

Tulsa Massacre, Wounded Knee Occupation, Stonewall Rebellion, Haitian Independence, Philippine Revolution, Iranian Revolution, The Great London Smog, Creation of Earth Day, Chernobyl, Creation of the UN, Act Prohibiting Slavery, Founding of NATO

Founding of NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an international defense alliance established on April 4, 1949, when twelve countries (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, and Canada) signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, DC. It was originally created as a response to the increasing threat of Soviet expansion in Western Europe. Please review the below reference articles (tertiary sources) for more information on this topic. (Please note, encyclopedias/tertiary sources should NOT be cited in your assignment. Scroll down for primary and secondary sources)

Primary Sources

Note: For help with citing primary sources properly, check out this FAQ and be sure to reach out to your instructor with any questions you may have. For help citing interviews in particular, click here

The actual text of North Atlantic Treaty, also called the Washington Treaty, is a legal document and primary source. It was signed by the 12 founding members of the Alliance providing a basis for the implementation of NATO. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the direct link to the digitized version of the original North Atlantic Treaty.

This is a transcript of an NBC network broadcast, the first in a group of eight State Department programs entitled, "The United States in World Affairs." The subject of this first broadcast was "The United States and Collective Security." Within the broadcast they discuss why NATO was needed. Linked from the Harry S. Truman Library website's "The Development of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)" collection.

Secondary Sources

This article presents a chronology of important events and changes to NATO security over 50 years.  Topics covered include the founding and politics of NATO, economic and military strategies, as well as the impact of the arms race and the end of the cold war. 

This source is the first chapter from the eBook,  Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order. It describes the lead-up to NATO as a result of European and American fears of the Soviet Union's intimidation strategy, and a desire to avoid a repeat of their recent experience with Germany's Nazi government.