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What is NATO?


We are 31 Allies and 40 partners, committed to upholding democracy and security. And who understand that talking improves relationships- even between countries- and that problems are easier to solve when you have friends to help you. 

Founded after the Second World War, the aim was to guarantee peace in Europe. 

Over the years NATO's mission and membership has evolved. Originally intended as a way of uniting nations to oppose the threat from Soviet Russia, the collapse of the Soviet Union led to NATO:

  • Extending the hand of friendship for former members of the Soviet Union -  including with Russia (with whom we cooperated closely, until their intervention in Ukraine)
  • Focusing its military efforts on the new threats to our security which emerged after the Cold War – from terrorism to crisis management.

We started with 12 members in 1949, today there are 31 Allies (some of whom are former Cold War adversaries) and 40 partners all of whom are committed to democratic principles, individual liberty and the peaceful resolution of disputes, as well as to co-operating to ensure our collective security. 

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