NATO and the Warsaw Pact
Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History , 2009 The United States, Britain, and France along with other Western European nations grew further apart from the Soviet Union after World War II. The USSR, which had been their World War II ally, was increasingly seen as a potential aggressor. The United States and several Western European nations agreed that potential Soviet aggression warranted a stronger alliance among them. What resulted was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The USSR had detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949, thereby raising additional concerns and solidifying the consensus in Western Europe that if the United States pulled out of Europe and went back to its former isolationist ways, Western Europe would face a Russian threat. American leaders began to believe that it would be easier to prevent another global war than to win one after it began. The United States also realized that the oceans that had protected it for years were no longer a strong defense against Russian air and missile technology. The North Atlantic Treaty bound together the United States, Canada, and most Western European nations as a bloc promising each other assistance in case any of them were attacked. Though there was no mention of the USSR in the treaty, it was abundantly clear that it was a Soviet attack that was feared. By 1955, the Allies formally ended their occupation of Germany and gave the new West German Republic full sovereignty. This new country was given full membership in NATO and began to rearm itself for the first time since Hitler's defeat. The creation of NATO and the resurgence of Western Germany encouraged the USSR to create an alliance with its satellite nations—the Warsaw Pact. The USSR had essentially controlled or at least held strong influence over Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, East Germany, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. The Warsaw Pact codified the existing relationships the USSR had with those countries and both formally...
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