(President Truman and members of the NATO Alliance, April 3, 1949)
"A simple document. Had it existed in 1914 and in 1939, supported by the nations that are here today, I believe it would have prevented the acts of aggression which led to two world wars." President Truman
Sixty years ago today, President Truman signed the treaty that created NATO, a document which basically stated that an aggressive act towards one member nation constituted an aggressive act towards all member nations. Viewed as another block of ice in the already frozen Cold War, it was largely a reaction to the increased presence of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe and a rise in tensions brought about by the situation in divided Germany. Six years later, in response, the Eastern Bloc nations would form The Warsaw Pact, pledging to do pretty much what NATO was doing.
In his opening statement, President Truman remarked if NATO was in existence in 1914, World War 1 and World War 2 would have been prevented. I'm not entirely sure that would have been the case in 1914 since the heads of most of the warring nations were, in fact cousins. Perhaps family counseling, but not NATO would have been a good idea.
But that's another story.