Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's May 2001

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NATO The role of NATO has changed drastically over its 50-year history. It was first conceived right after the Second World War on April 4, 1949 . NATO was designed in response to the rise of communism in the USSR. The members of NATO we dedicated to the defense of each other . Ten European nations and two North American Nations were the original members. If there were an attack on a NATO member it would be treated like an attack against them all .

        People believed in the domino effect during the time when NATO was expanding. The domino theory is based on the idea that if communism spreads to one country then the entire area will become communist until the whole world is communist, as setout in the Truman Doctrine. This is the theory upon which Johnson sent American troops into Vietnam. In order to stop the spread of communism and hostilities between the USSR and west Europe, NATO was conceived.

The original charter of the treaty follows the same spirit of the United Nations . It reads; "member countries commit themselves to maintaining and developing their defense capabilities, individually and collectively, providing the basis for collective defense planning" . The theory behind this treaty is that if the USSR thought that it would be strategically beneficial to over take a county in west Europe they would not just be fighting that one small country they would be at war with 12 nations including the United States. This passive defense treaty worked very well during the cold war; however, in 1989 it was clear that NATO would have to reassess its role from a passive treaty to an active peacemaker.

The role of NATO remained the same until the massive changes to Europe in the early 1990s when the...