Creation of NATO

In order to counter the threat of the Soviet Union, the United States created an alliance with Canada and several Western European countries on April 4, 1949.  This alliance was called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO for short.  NATO was the first post-war military alliance and today has over 28 member states.  NATO would form an important military component of the Cold War.

To counter the influence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Soviet Union organized its own military alliance among those nations in its sphere of influence.  This alliance was known as the Warsaw Pact, and was organized in May, 1955.

The division between NATO countries and the Warsaw Pact countries were a very real reminder of the Cold War, that at times pushed tensions almost to the breaking point.

NATO countries in blue. Warsaw Pact countries in red.
(Public Domain)