NATO is one of the most iconic organizations
associated to the Cold War. NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is often used
by historians as a stand-in to represent the United States and its allies as one faction
of the conflict. And it makes good sense. It’s a military alliance, founded directly
because of a Soviet threat, and contained many of the US’s allies. We’ll be talking
about NATO a lot during this channel’s lifetime, so it’s about time we got to know it a little
better. How did it get started? How does it work? I’m your host David and today, we
are off to Brussels! This is the Cold War We start in 1945, yes our starting point is
the Second World War. AGAIN. Western Europe was in a dire economic position. Their armies
devastated, their economy decimated their people, another word for messed up. Now imagine
you were a capitalist or capitalist sympathizer living in America, or Western Europe at this
moment. The region with the significant capitalist powers was-
[checks thesaurus] Ravaged and in some countries like France
or Italy, Communism was on the rise. To the east was the Soviet Union, which despite a
weak start, wound up ending the Second World War as the absolute powerhouse on the continent,
with a sizable part of Europe under its control. In the years following the war, the Soviets
used this occupation to consolidate power, and enforce communist regimes throughout Eastern
Europe. As elderly baby and colonization enthusiast Winston Churchhill described it:
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an “iron curtain” has descended
across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of
Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest
and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must
call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet
influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.”
Thats the second time I’ve quoted that…almost like it’s a defining moment or something…
The shaky alliance of convenience between the western capitalist powers and the USSR
set up to defeat Nazi Germany was not only fraying at the edges, but it was also completely-
[checks thesaurus] Disintegrated. For case studies of this, you
can go and check… well, pretty much every video we’ve produced so far.
Now we’ve already talked about the Marshall plan, where the US pushed to rebuild the European
economy. And covertly or not so covertly weaken communist support there. They did it by backing
up a dump truck full of money and dumping it on the continent. Actually, it was more
like several dump trucks full of money. But what we did not talk about yet on this channel
was the project to rebuild the military of Europe. So, to talk about NATO, we need to
talk about the Brussels Treaty. In 1948, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands and the UK got together to expand an existing military alliance between the
UK and France to the Benelux countries, in case of renewed aggression from the USSR.
It also founded the Western European Union, which would manage said alliance until its
dissolution in 2010. This was good, but it became apparent very fast that even these
countries would not be able to adequately handle military aggression if the Soviets
mustered their entire sphere of influence against them. There would need to be a new
military alliance to counter it that was much more…robust.
At the same time, discussions of a broader alliance between the US, UK, and Canada were
already happening behind closed doors. The newly developed United Nations was already
bogged down with cold war politics. So, they wanted to build something that would handle
security issues and function as an alliance but would be distinctly NOT part of the UN.
This blossomed into the concept of a more extensive, multilateral defence treaty in
the wake of the 1948 Communist coup in Czechoslovakia. The rest of the Brussels Treaty countries
entered into the agreement as well as Norway. The next year, they came up with the North
Atlantic Treaty, or Washington Treaty. It came at the end of months of secret negotiations
between member states, meeting in the Pentagon. The treaty founded NATO, with its founding
nations consisting of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
OK, so NATO is now a thing. But what was NATO? What did..well, does, being a NATO member
mean exactly? The North Atlantic Treaty had 14 articles which member nations had to agree
to. They couldn’t go to war with each other; they had to promote democratic institutions
and economic collaboration; they had to resist the desire to invade other countries, and
had to respect each other’s territory and autonomy.
They also agreed to article 5, which if you’ve heard of any of the articles, it’s likely
this one you’ve heard of. Article 5 is the mutual defence pact. It states that an attack
on any one of these member countries will be considered an attack on all member nations.
It’s this part of the treaty in particular which has put the world on the razors edge
on a few occasions, and still does to this day. Fun fact though: article five, as a threat,
has done way more than its actual use. Only one time in the entire history of NATO has
article five been cited as a casus belli for war, and it was in response to the attacks
of September 11th, 2001. So not even during the Cold War this channel is focused on!
This agreement didn’t seem to do much for a little while. Early NATO didn’t make any
significant plans for military cooperation until the Korean War. The logistics of a big
international military conflict against a more coordinated global communist effort required
them to put in the leg work to make NATO actually function as they envisioned. That meant forming
new governing bodies and military organizations. One of the first projects was to appoint a
supreme commander in Europe, a man with experience in the role already, General Dwight Eisenhower.
But don’t worry about remembering his name, you’ll probably never see it again. There
was also a governing body founded called the North Atlantic Council where member states
could discuss security issues. The leader of the council would serve as the top civilian
leader, while the supreme commander would be the top military one. Their main projects
were to outline how these different militaries would work together and coordinate efforts
during a potential war. Each country must also keep military spending above a percentage
of GDP, and they all must contribute to running the organization.
NATO also encouraged for cooperation and standardization of the so-called little things in war. They
standardized the obvious stuff like making sure they all used the same calibre of bullets.
They standardized the less obvious stuff like making sure they used the same terminology.
They’d organize coordinated war games and drilling exercises both on land and at sea
to prepare for the event of a Soviet attack. NATO is even responsible for the phonetic
alphabet. You know, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot type stuff you hear in war movies.
The military problem Nato had on the ground though was that their military was.
[point at the thesaurus] Diminutive.
The Soviets just had way more soldiers and an overall more massive military by comparison.
But there was one ace up NATOs sleeve that they’d lean on the whole cold war period.
Nuclear weapons. The NATO strategy was, in the face of having
fewer troops, to maintain atomic and nuclear supremacy. Many NATO members had nuclear arsenals
and tried to maintain supremacy in the ‘missile’ gap between them and the USSR.
The Soviets noticed right away that this organization was an alliance in direct opposition to them.
To be honest, this mentality continues to this day with the Russian Federation under
Vladimir Putin still seeing NATO as a geopolitical adversary to Russian interests. Probably because
that’s precisely what it was and sort of still is. But anyway, in reaction to NATOs formation,
in 1955, the USSR and several of its communist satellite states started their own military
alliance, with blackjack and hookers! I’d love to talk more about the Warsaw Pact,
and in fact I’m going to get into a lot about it, but it’s on the schedule for a future
video, and if I talk about it now Nolan will yell at me.
NATO would continue to function through the entire Cold War period and into the present
as one of the world’s most powerful military forces. Soon after its founding, countries
in more…precarious situations with the USSR like Greece, Turkey and even West Germany
would become members. This would box in and limit or prevent opportunities for the USSR
to offer military defence to to those countries and could also help stop the creation of communist
movements there. Today, NATO contains 70% of the world’s military spending and includes
29 member nations, including several former Warsaw Pact states. Long after the end of
the Cold War, NATO still functions and exerts power across the globe. In fact, many people
ask why it’s still around. To which their explanation is…for another channel to give
because I’m not touching that one! We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s topic and
to make sure you don’t miss future episodes, please make sure you are subscribed to our
channel and have pressed the bell button. My thanks to Tristan at StepBack History for
today’s script! We can be reached via email at [email protected] We are also
on facebook and instagram at TheColdWarTV. If you want to ensure we are able to keep
the lights on in our studio, please consider supporting us via Patreon at
This is the Cold War Channel and don’t forget, “The trouble with a cold war is that it
doesn’t take too long before it becomes heated.”

Comments (75)

  1. The original treaty included Algeria as part of French territory covered by Article 5.

  2. I like that these get less and less formal as the series goes on

  3. NATO is useless, get America out. Give me Amexit!!!

  4. North Atlantic Terrorist Organisation.

  5. At 7:45, "the standardization of the little things of war". So pistol ammo is 9 mm but the US drags it's feet for about 40 years before switching over from .45 caliber. Leading by example (sic).

  6. 9:20 Don't forget their glorious commander Zapp Brannigan, uh I mean Georgy Zhukov.

  7. @9:20 "…started their own military alliance with blackjack and hookers.." What the heck did I just hear?

  8. nice video as always guys!

    fun fact on the side when I was a kid and learnt about NATO I always assumed russia would join soon as this was the time when countries in eastern europe would join/where planning to join and it just seemed logical to get everyone in

  9. Why is NATO still in place? Well, the situation in Europe is pretty unstable still.
    For a while it wasn't , after the fall of the USSR. Yeltsin's Russia sure came a long way in improving relations with the west, but, no great progress was done in terms of a slow and progressive multilateral nuclear disarmament. So, a dismantlement made no sense. Russia thought keeping a huge nuclear arsenal was paramount to protect her from another Barbarossa, on her huge and open european plains, and the ex-SSRs that were forced into the USSR, like the baltic states thought and still think they are safe from being re-annexed by Russia, under the umbrella of NATO. Militarily weaker smaller countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania, saw in NATO membership the possibility of keeping their independence and self determination from foreign aggressors, or forced unholy aliances under autoritarian regimes. What happened recently in the Crimea and the Donbass, surely reaffirms the self preservation and survival instincts of several NATO members in eastern europe, so one can bet that NATO will still be around for a long long time.

  10. Truman should have started with and built up “Five Eyes” as the absolute core of defense. Well it sort of is, but we still miss Australia in NATO.

  11. Nato: where every euro country talks shit on the USA but if shtf they’d be using our military and our supplies. Ungrateful one sided alliance

  12. Completely unrelated, but whenever I see that my name's the "V" in the NATO alphabet, I can't help but laugh.
    Great one as always, happy holidays, folks!

  13. Looks like popular demand is for a video on the Warsaw pact. ( If this is a democracy)
    Otherwise you can all pound borscht !

  14. 10:06 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦

  15. NATO


  16. 10:16That’s is a Visby-class corvette of the Swedish 🇸🇪 Royal Navy, Sweden who is NOT an NATO-member!

  17. They still around because comunisim is still a thread and russia is still a big player.

  18. They just beeped out blackjack but not hookers? Why'd they beep anything out?

  19. Blackjack and hookers

  20. What was beeped out????

  21. Great content as always

  22. I just realised: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot spells out WTF😂😂

  23. 17 angry russians disliked video

  24. anyone seen the map where NATO complains that Russia has their bases too close to NATOS bases and the map basiclly shows NATO Bases surrounding Russia XD

  25. thanks happy new year !!!…

  26. N orth A tlantic T errorist O rganization

  27. Article number 1:
    Fuck the Soviets

    Article number 2:
    Also fuck the chinese

  28. That futurama reference though…
    You are better than Nydell now

  29. I enjoyed your video and would like to offer one critique, the continuous short pause to search for the correct…..lets say adjective when describing the state of something appears very artificial and forced.

    My solution would be just roll the one word descriptions out smoothly and or if you want to continue pausing and then pretending to find a good wholesome word then you should add some emotion and relatable facial expressions to it.

  30. Talking about NATO and use footage of Swedish Visby-class stealth corvette Karlstad (10:13).
    Sweden is not part of NATO.

  31. In all fairness to NATO still existing, recall that they have been rebuffed by Russia in them joining forces. "Great powers don't join coalitions, they create coalitions. Russia considers itself a great power."-Dmitry Rogozin, former Russian Representative to NATO. This post has not been filled I believe since 2018 though the NATO-Russia Council had a meeting October of 2018. Since the 2014 invasion of Ukraine though has strained this relationship almost to the breaking point.

  32. There is no more Soviet Union, no Eastern Bloc. In my view, NATO needs an external enemy to justify its existence, so there is a constant search for one, and provocations to create adversaries where there are none.

    …Today it is an instrument of American foreign policy. There are no partners in it, only vassals.

  33. Dislike for the cliche bullshit of Churchil and the iron curtain and the epic music playing throughout the video, there is nothing epic about NATO's war crimes. USA bullying around the globe and their lapdogs getting some leftovers, sometimes, that's what NATO is.

  34. Are you going to touch on Operation Gladio?

  35. It's pretty interesting that in Thunderball (1965), after SPECTRE stole the two RAF nuclear missiles, although we mostly see the MI6 at work and of course it's their agent James Bond who saves the day, it was officially a plot against the whole of NATO. (ETA: Especially seeing that the threat was that an unknown British or AMERICAN city would be nuked if the ransom wasn't paid. — and the nearest opportune target as Bond would find out was in fact Miami.)

  36. I was named after Dwight D. Eisenhower.

  37. NATO standardization is pretty impressive TBH, sometimes going beyond what the commercial world has come up with. Things like the NATO common slave receptacle which makes jumper cables obsolete and allows any vehicle in any nato army to jump start any other with a simple plug instead of rummaging around to get vehicle batteries close enough to run jumper cables.
    Terminology is also huge, the fact that I can listen to a Spanish guy rattle away on a radio and have 0 knowledge of spanish but still understand the format of what he is saying and thus know what he needs is great.

  38. 1:33 What a weird map Soviet Union was Russia . What do you insinuate ?

  39. I hate the new “funny” scripts

  40. Caught up on the Cold War now. Now to wait for upcoming episodes. 👍👍👍

  41. Can you guys do an episode on de-stalinization

  42. Members 🇺🇸🇹🇷🇸🇰🇸🇮🇷🇴🇵🇹🇵🇱🇳🇱🇲🇪🇱🇻🇱🇺🇱🇹🇮🇹🇮🇸🇭🇺🇭🇷🇬🇷🇫🇷🇪🇸🇪🇪🇩🇰🇩🇪🇨🇿🇧🇬🇧🇪🇦🇱🇲🇰🇧🇦

  43. “Imagine you’re a capitalist sympathizer-“
    You lost me there chief

  44. Please make a video about Korea!

  45. Kings and Generals be like: time to rip off every other history channel's format

  46. Happy 2020 David and The Cold War crew.

  47. Can you do a video of US policy in apartheid South Africa during the cold war?

  48. Happy New Year everyone!

  49. @The Cold War will you update your set (and the leader pictures) as you move on in the timeline of the decades?

  50. Soviet threat is gone yet NATO felt it was necessary to encroache on a severely weakened Russian state following the fall of the USSR.

  51. Are you going to talk about the Jonestown Massacre as Jim Jones ideology was the closest time commumism was successfully implemented. He used religion in the same way as the communists did by preaching equality while making money for himself & exploiting he followers.

  52. is this channel part of the great war group?

  53. Why it still exists? Because it bloody works…

  54. NATO current purpose is to make sure European countries feed the US military-industrial complex with their tax payers money.

  55. plz explain end of nato,too

  56. Why do you use the pre WW2 map of Yugoslavia in post WW2 animations?

  57. What a scam… Cold war? B.S.
    Kept people in opposite camps in fear….. We never really fought communism….we made the world SAFE for communism

  58. NATO today doesn't include several WP states, it includes ALL former WP states. Not even USSR itself is an exception, as the Baltics – 3 of 16 USSR republics – are in NATO too.

    Considering that accession to NATO typically happens by referendum this says a thing or two about WP's popularity among its members.

  59. Allies*forms NATO*
    Stalin- ill form my own defense organization with blackjack and hookers

  60. Why WOULDNT NATO still be around? The threat is that was present then is present now.

  61. Why it still exists? I do not know exactly, but I do know that those standardized arms are constantly being renewed, which keeps weapon manufacturers in business. I also know that when a new member joins the equipment they have is gradually replaced with those standardized arms, so that makes new customers. When Germany reunified a large potion of the East German Soviet designed weaponry was immediately sent to Croatia. That's how they had tanks, small arms, and artillery so quickly in their war against what was left of Yugoslavia.

    I read that Macron in France is keen on an EU Army. Would that mean the end of NATO? France has always preferred an independent nuclear deterrent etc, so it would not surprise me if they are not so comfortable being in a NATO where the USA is boss. I think Russia is not keen on the EU in step with NATO, but I think an EU independent of it would actually have the Americans concerned more than the Russians, because it would create a political bloc more independent of the USA that could have greater influence in some regions than the EU currently has — influence that may not coincide with the interests of the USA. I think the Russians might even prefer an EU in that form.

    It is US actions in the Middle East that have created the greatest threat to the continuation of the EU. Millions of refugees from Libya, Iraq and Syria especially. Open borders within the EU had people concerned that their country within the EU would be flooded with refugees, so opposition to the EU grew. US actions in the Middle East also disrupt Russia and China's project for Eurasia, which is mostly focused on commerce flowing from China to Europe via the new Silk Road etc. Trade that would foster closer political cooperation between participants along the routes, which would reduce US influence in those regions.

  62. Sadly ill-informed, biased by repeating false history put out by the left, and oversimplified by its cold war focus. You start in 1945 and don't even notice that the Atlantic Alliance already had existed then ever since 1941, in forms that closely prefigured NATO, with both an Allied Council and the Supreme Allied Commander. You notice only the Brussels Pact, not the much more important roots of NATO in the WWI and WWII Atlantic Alliance. It gets worse from there. You manage to propound the idea that what made the world feel threatened by war was, not countries that were threatening to attack NATO members, but NATO's own Article 5, where the members pledge to defend each other against attack. You don't even notice that Article 5 was what made possible the long peace in Europe after 1949 and contributed greatly to preventing WWIII. You do;'t seem to know that this result was in precise keeping with its explicitly discussed intention for forming NATO: to learn from and not repeat the mistakes of the past, 1914 and 1939, when the failure of the Atlantic democracies to pledge mutual defense in advance of war was what allowed and in a sense invited Germany to start the world wars in the first place, by enabling Germany to expect America to stay out and hope for England to revert to relative indifference to the Continent after Germany won some quick victories. As historians you sure ought to know at least that much! And there are more, similar mistakes. It seems to me you are not concerned about actual peace, only about repeating the leftish arguments that you've heard being made in the name of peace, no matter how obviously wrong they are.

  63. Starts off pretty badly.

  64. Hey this is a great channel but I have a quibble: stop with the crazy angle shots from below-left where he isn't looking at the camera. It doesn't do anything good for the program.

  65. Not quite Kings and Generals quality.

  66. Great video! But I would have liked if you had said that the Soviet Union applied for joining NATO in 1954. It is a very interesting curiosity!

  67. Great work, as always.

    When you say NATO standardized to all use "the same caliber bullets" I can tell you're not thoroughly familiar with firearms – especially ammo. A 7.62×39, 7.62×25, 7.62×51 (.308), 7.62x54r, and a .30-06 are all "30 caliber." So, the Tokarev pistol and PPSH family of SMGs, the AK47/M fighting rifles, the FAL plus SCAR-H and HK91 battle rifles, and the Mosin-Nagant rifle all "use the same caliber bullet." But that doesn't mean they have interchangeable ammo! Even if they they all use the same caliber bullets, they don't use the same round! All 9mm bullets are the same caliber, but they aren't by definition the same round. 9x19mm Luger/Parabellum/NATO is not 9x18mm Makarov. Despite being the "same caliber bullet."

    The bullet is just the projectile, not the whole bit of ammo. Caliber is just the diameter of the bullet. Many diameters are extremely common. .45 ACP is not .45 GAP, which is not .45 LC, which is not .45-70 Govt. But they're all the same caliber bullet!

    What you sould would say is NATO "standardized their ammo, they agreed to all use the same round." A round is a complete self-contained cartridge of ammunition. Bullet, casing, powder, and primer. What people used to basically construct inside the gun before every single shot.

    I know you mean NATO decided on all using the 9x19mm round for pistols and SMGs and the 7.62×51 (.308) round for it's rifles and general purpose MGs. You just say it a way that sounds like "clip" when you mean "magazine," or "come from monkeys" when you mean "common ancestor with chimpanzees." It grates on the ear of someone familiar with these things. And really makes it sound like you don't know what you're talking about to some people (more pedantic than I).

    Being limited to only FMJ bullets (regardless of caliber) is older than NATO. And it is a practice I have legitimate tactical and terminal ballistics reasons for despising as stupid hypocrisy…

    I'd also hardly call such things the "small things" of war. IMHO war is decided by countless individual nameless platoons and companies where metal meets the meat, not by planes and tanks. Americans had the best small arms of WW2 and most had good reputations (some are still used today, see Travis Haley on the 1911 for more info), the Japanese had the worst and nearly all their firearms were pretty junky. It made a difference in the Pacific campaign. Ridiculously complicated ammo requirements for all their weapons had a marked impact on their war effort and combat performance. The Japanese just didn't have a strong cultural basis for firearms or understanding of them. They had Nambu as a designer – the US had Browning! And Garand…

    Watching Japanese soldiers (and those of most nations…) in old WW2 footage, I noticed as a teen that my traditional 4 position shooting positions were far more solid and consistent than theirs. They would never pass the rifle marksmanship qualifications for the US Marines.

    For more info on how small arms and their ammo being noticeably bad vs. noticeably good affects history:

    PS Using Axis and Allies for "joint war gaming" lolz good one

  68. Why are they using WW1 footage

  69. 10:05 – Hey it's 10% of the canadian military



  71. NATO is a big ass lie tbh

  72. what is the name of the song at the end?

  73. Wooow when you think they gonna speak truth on channel but u get this……… Im speachless

  74. Now what about the major Governmental organizations of the two superpowers in the cold war?
    We got the CIA, KGB, NASA, and the Soviet Space Program.

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