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NATO: The World’s Largest Alliance

NATO meeting

Source: Benoit Doppagne/Reuters

Subject Social Studies — US History, World History
Grade Level Grades 9-12, Higher Education
Resource Type

Attribution Non-commercial NoDerivative



As World War II ended and the relationship between the Soviet Union and other Allied powers deteriorated, the United States, Canada, and a group of ten European countries organized themselves for a new geopolitical reality. In 1949, they created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance with the aim of preserving a free, integrated, and democratic Europe, particularly against the Soviet Union.

This lesson explores NATO’s history—from its origins as a bulwark against the Soviet Union to its present-day operations far from Europe’s shores—and examines the effects of its expanding membership, evolving mission, and recent funding concerns, all of which point toward an uncertain future.


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