Founding of NATO
Why and how?
Why was it founded? Was it to prevent Soviet expansion? Meh.
Stopping Soviet expansion was a reason, but not the only one.
Founded for three reasons
1. To prevent Soviet expansion
2. Preventing nationalism from rising up again in Europe
3. Helping along the political integration of Europe
Provided a sense of security against the large number of ground forces that the Soviet Union and pro-Communist countries were capable of committing to Europe.
In order to achieve the second and third goals, the United States wanted to maintain a presence in Europe post-occupation.
Fears were common that after the chaos and destruction of World War I, people would turn to totalitarianism or
What did it do?
Besides simply assuring mutual defense, also set up a framework for military cooperation.
Somewhat set up a framework for non-military cooperation.
Gradually helped restore political stability in Western Europe because of the sense of security it created. Political security was a prerequisite to cooperation and eventual economic rebuilding. With the guarantee of support against possible Soviet aggression and US economic aid, the western European countries felt less pressure from extremist groups than they did after World War I because of the external support that helped rectify post-war issues.
Indicated a significant switch in doctrine in US foreign policy from its past isolationism. The US clearly realized it was the only power left that could combat the Soviets and the founding of NATO was a sign that it felt ready to do so. This is a massive shift from its previous isolationism. This is in significant part because the end of colonialism reduced the power of the British. Also, the United States committed itself to rebuilding Europe.
Led to the Soviet creation of the COMECON, which marked the official recognition of both sides of the "worlds apart" doctrine in which sides were clearly delineated. The standoff between NATO and the Warsaw Pact Alliance would mark the two opposed sides in the Cold War. This perhaps more than any other action would lead to the formal acknowledgement of two different competing worlds.
Ushered in the policy of massive retaliation, which reduced strain on the conventional forces of the United States and the western European countries because they did not have to build up conventional forces to combat the Soviet Union. Instead, they could deter Soviet aggression and risk-taking by threatening to use non-conventional forces, even if disproportionate, against any attack.
"The Founding of NATO." The Founding of NATO. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/founding-nato>.
Cavendish, Richard. "The Founding of NATO." The Founding of NATO. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/founding-nato>.
Amadeo, Kimberly. "What Is NATO? Purpose, History, Members and Alliances." Web. 18 Dec. 2014. http://useconomy.about.com/od/internationalorganizations/p/NATO.htm