North Atlantic Treaty
The North Atlantic Treaty is the treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 that brought NATO into existence, signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. The original twelve nations that signed it and thus became the founding members of NATO were:
  • Canada

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington by:
  • Canada – Lester B Pearson and H. H. Wrong
    H. H. Wrong
    Humphrey Hume Wrong was a Canadian historian, professor, diplomat, and Canada's ambassador to the United States...

     – Gustav Rasmussen and Henrik de Kauffmann – Bjarni Benediktsson
    Bjarni Benediktsson
    Bjarni Benediktsson was Prime Minister of Iceland from 14 November 1963 to 10 July 1970. His father, Benedikt Sveinsson , was a leader in the independence movement in Iceland and a member of Althingi from 1908 to 1931.Bjarni studied constitutional law and became professor at the University of...

     and Ólafur Thors
    Ólafur Thors
    Ólafur Thors was an Icelandic politician of the Independence Party, who served as Prime Minister of Iceland on five occasions:* 16 May 1942 to 16 December 1942* 21 October 1944 to 4 February 1947...

     – Carlo Sforza
    Carlo Sforza
    Conte Carlo Sforza was an Italian diplomat and anti-Fascist politician.-Biography:Sforza was born at Montignoso ....

     – Ernest Bevin
    Ernest Bevin
    Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

     and Oliver Franks, Baron Franks – Dean Acheson
    Dean Acheson
    Dean Gooderham Acheson was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War...

Later the following nations joined:
(1952) (1952) (1955) (1982) (1999) (1999) (1999) (2004) (2004) (2004) (2004) (2004) (2004) (2004) (2009) (2009)

When German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

 occurred in 1990, the country as a whole became a member of NATO.

During the April 2008 summit, Croatia and Albania were officially invited to join NATO. They both signed the treaty and officially joined NATO on 1 April 2009.

The key section of the treaty was Article V which committed each member state to consider an armed attack against one state to be an armed attack against all states. The treaty was created with an armed attack by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 against Western Europe in mind, but the mutual self-defense clause was never invoked during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. Rather, it was invoked for the first time in 2001 in response to the 11 September 2001 attacks against the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 and The Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 in Operation Eagle Assist
Operation Eagle Assist
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Operation Eagle Assist began on October 9, 2001 after the North Atlantic Council's October 4 decision to operationalize Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, and ended on May 16, 2002...


In the United States, the treaty was approved by the US Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

in a vote of 82 to 13 on 21 July 1949.

External links

Official text
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