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Cold War

The Cold War is the term used to describe the tense relationship between post World War II East and West. The United States and Western Europe stood on the principle of opposing the communism that dominated Russia and Eastern Europe. Russia was overtaking smaller eastern European countries with force and did not want the United States to resist this movement into Europe. The two superpowers quickly abandoned the appearance of being allies, with Western Europe aligning with the United States and Eastern Europe aligning with Russia.


North Atlantic Treaty Organization, established under the North Atlantic Treaty (Apr. 4, 1949) by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States. Greece and Turkey entered the alliance in 1952, West Germany (now Germany) entered in 1955, and Spain joined in 1982. In 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined, bringing the membership to 19.

NATO maintains headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The treaty, one of the major Western countermeasures in the cold war against the threat of aggression by the Soviet Union, was aimed at safeguarding the freedom of the Atlantic community. Considering an armed attack on any member an attack against all, the treaty provided for collective self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The treaty was also designed to encourage political, economic, and social cooperation. The organization was reorganized and centralized in 1952

Marshall Plan

(European Recovery Program) project instituted at the Paris Economic Conference (July, 1947) to foster economic recovery in certain European countries after World War II. The Marshall Plan took form when U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall urged (June 5, 1947) that European countries decide on their economic needs so that material and financial aid from the United States could...