Day 32 – Q 3. Discuss the historical background of the NATO. How is it shaping the events in Eastern Europe today? Discuss. (15 Marks)

  • IASbaba
  • March 3, 2022
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TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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3. Discuss the historical background of the NATO. How is it shaping the events in Eastern Europe today? Discuss.

नाटो की ऐतिहासिक पृष्ठभूमि की चर्चा कीजिए। यह आज पूर्वी यूरोप की घटनाओं को कैसे आकार दे रहा है? चर्चा करें।


Candidates need to discuss the historical background of the NATO and how is it shaping the events in Eastern Europe today.


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. It was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere.

The historical background of the NATO

  • After the destruction of the Second World War, the nations of Europe struggled to rebuild their economies.
  • The United States viewed an economically strong, rearmed, and integrated Europe as vital to the prevention of communist expansion across the continent. 
  • As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a Marshall plan. 
  • The plan resulted in promotion of the idea of shared interests and cooperation between the United States and Europe. 
  • Aid provided through the US-funded Marshall Plan (also known as the European Recovery Program) and other means fostered a degree of economic stabilisation. 
  • European states still needed confidence in their security, however, before they would begin talking and trading with each other. 
  • Military cooperation, and the security it would bring, would have to develop in parallel with economic and political progress.
  • With this in mind, several Western European democracies came together to implement various projects for greater military cooperation and collective defence, including the creation of the Western Union in 1948, later to become the Western European Union in 1954. 
  • In the end, it was determined that only a truly transatlantic security agreement could deter Soviet aggression while simultaneously preventing the revival of European militarism and laying the groundwork for political integration.
  • Accordingly, after much discussion and debate, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed on 4 April, 1949. 

How is it shaping the events in Eastern Europe today?

  • The current confrontation between Russia and the west is fuelled by many grievances, but the greatest is the belief in Moscow that the west tricked the former Soviet Union by breaking promises made at the end of the cold war in 1989-1990 that NATO would not expand to the east.
  • The threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine has placed heightened importance on the United States’ and NATO’s defences across eastern Europe, which for decades have acted as a buffer between Russia and the West. 
  • NATO has four multinational battalion-size battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which operate on a rotational basis.
  • Although Ukraine is not a NATO member, the alliance also provides strategic-level advice to the country and has described the relationship as “one of the most substantial of NATO’s partnerships.”
  • Other assets at NATO’s disposal in the region include a missile defense system in Romania, designed to “detect, track, engage, and destroy” ballistic missiles in the atmosphere.


Today, the crisis in Ukraine makes it all too clear that the U.S. and NATO need to take a very different approach to creating an effective strategy and to NATO’s force planning and modernization on a country-by-country level. Regardless of how Russia’s present pressure on Ukraine works out, it is clear that Russia is likely to be hostile as long as President Putin is in power.

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