The NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an international alliance that consists of 28 member states from North America and Europe. It was established at the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it should be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.
Of the 28 member countries, two are located in North America (Canada and the United States) and 25 are European countries while Turkey is in Eurasia. All members have militias, although Iceland does not have a typical army (it does, however, have a military coast guard and a small unit of soldiers for NATO operations). Three of NATO's members are nuclear weapons states: France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NATO has 12 original founding member nation states and through April 2009 it has added 16 more member nations.
Member states by date of accession
|4 April 1949||Belgium||Founders|
|Denmark||Denmark's NATO membership does include the Faroe Islands and Greenland.|
|France||France withdrew from the integrated military command in 1966 to pursue an independent defense system but returned to full participation on April 3, 2009.|
|Iceland||Iceland, the sole member that does not have its own standing army, joined on the condition that it would not be expected to establish one. However, its strategic geographic position in the Atlantic made it an invaluable member. It has a Coast Guard and has recently contributed a voluntary peacekeeping force, trained in Norway for NATO.|
|18 February 1952||Greece||First||Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure from 1974 to 1980 as a result of Greco-Turkish tensions following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.|
|9 May 1955||Germany||Second||Joined as West Germany; Saarland reunited with it in 1957 and the territories of Berlin and the former German Democratic Republic reunited with it on 3 October 1990. The GDR (East Germany) was a member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1956–1990.|
|30 May 1982||Spain||Third|
|12 March 1999||Czech Republic||Fourth||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of Czechoslovakia.|
|Hungary||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991.|
|Poland||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991.|
|29 March 2004||Bulgaria||Fifth||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991.|
|Estonia||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of the Soviet Union.|
|Latvia||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of the Soviet Union.|
|Lithuania||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of the Soviet Union.|
|Romania||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991.|
|Slovakia||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of Czechoslovakia.|
|Slovenia||Previously part of Yugoslavia 1945–1991 (Non-aligned)|
|1 April 2009||Albania||Sixth||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1968.|
|Croatia||Previously part of Yugoslavia 1945–1991 (Non-aligned)|
(2010, US$ millions)
(2011, US$ millions)
(2011, % of GDP)
(2011, per capita)
|From "Data Relating to NATO Defence", estimates for 2011|
a Iceland has no armed forces.
- "The North Atlantic Treaty". North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 1949-04-04. Archived from the original on 2004-03-20. http://web.archive.org/web/20040320051445/http://www.nato.int/issues/faq/index.html. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Financial and Economic Data Relating to NATO Defence" (PDF). NATO. 13 April 2012. http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2012_04/20120413_PR_CP_2012_047_rev1.pdf. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
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