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Image of NATO 1949: The Origin of an Offensive, Expansionist, Imperialist Military Alliance

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, was launched sixty five years ago following the signature of the Atlantic Pact in 1949. The original member states that came together under US tutelage claimed that their alliance was dedicated to the preservation of peace and to the defence of Western Europe against the supposed threat of military aggression. It is noteworthy that the launch of NATO coincided with the intensification of the Cold War, the political division of Germany and the first tentative steps by the US and Britain to rearm the new West German state.


Although obvious to everyone at the time of its formation in 1949 that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was a military alliance directed against the Soviet Union, its raison d’etre as such was never explicitly stated by its founders. Instead it was presented in the Western Cold War generalities common at the time as an alliance dedicated to the defence of the “Free World”, more particularly Western Europe, which faced a supposed threat of aggression by an unnamed totalitarian power or powers. NATO was supposedly dedicated to the cause of peace and the defence of small nations.


The conventional wisdom accepted as unassailable truth by the proponents and devotees of Western Cold War propaganda, has it that the United States and its allies who came together to form NATO were reacting in the late 1940s to a grave and imminent Soviet military threat to the “free” nations of Western Europe. Had it not been for their fortitude and unity in the face of this threat, the Red Army would have rolled westwards from Berlin and enslaved the whole of Western Europe. This would have been the prelude to the triumph of Communism on a world scale. According to this account, in 1949 NATO was the shield that defended the “Free World” in the hour of danger grim.


The precise mission of NATO was never clearly stated by its founders, preferring to simply assign it the role of “protecting the Free World” one of the great Orwellian terms circulated by American propaganda during the Cold War. The phrase is still used everywhere in the US/Western media without much questioning.

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In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. - Carl Sagan

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