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Topic – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1949, after the Second World War. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. At the time, many countries feared they would be attacked by the Soviet Union, which included Russia. Countries that were part of NATO agreed to work together to defend any NATO country that was attacked by the Soviet Union. Countries that are part of NATO are called NATO Allies.

The 12 founding members of NATO included Canada, the United States, Britain, France, and Italy. Today, 30 countries from Europe and North America belong to NATO.

Supporting NATO

Most of the support Allies provide to NATO is in the form of troops and equipment, such as fighter jets and ships, that are used in NATO missions. NATO Allies also support NATO by contributing money.

Preventing Wars

One of NATO’s main goals is to prevent any country from starting a war. If one NATO Ally is attacked, all the other NATO Allies will respond as if they were attacked, too. The strategy of having countries work together to defend a NATO Ally is known as collective defence. Collective defence makes wars less likely to happen.

The Tempe Healing Field pays tribute to all of the lives lost on September 11th, 2001

Fighting Terrorism

A terrorist attack is an attack carried out by a terrorist group, rather than a country. NATO treats these attacks just like an attack from a country. All NATO Allies work together to support a NATO country that has been attacked by terrorists. On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States by taking over airplanes and flying them into buildings. Canada, along with other NATO Allies, worked with the United States to find out who was responsible for the attacks and to prevent future attacks.

NATO doesn’t just respond to terrorist attacks—the organization also helps to prevent them. For many years, Afghanistan (not a member of NATO) was a country where international terrorist groups were able to plan attacks around the world. NATO sent thousands of troops to Afghanistan to train people there on how to fight terrorist groups. Why would NATO get involved in Afghanistan when the country is not a NATO Ally? The terrorist groups in Afghanistan could attack any NATO country. Making it more difficult for terrorists to plan attacks helps keep NATO countries safe from terrorism.

Canadian Participation in NATO Activities

Canadian troop badges

Canadian troops and equipment have been taking part in NATO missions since NATO was founded. Canada’s participation in NATO Mission Iraq is a recent example. The purpose of the mission is to help Iraqi forces fight terrorism. Canada has sent training teams to help train Iraqi forces. One of these teams specializes in training people on how to safely dispose of terrorist bombs that have not exploded. Canada has also sent helicopters to Iraq to move people and equipment to where they are needed.

Canada’s army, navy, and air force also take part in NATO military exercises, which allow troops to practice their skills so they are always ready for combat. Along with providing practice, these exercises also send a message to potential attackers: We are ready to fight if you attack.


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