The history of Nato in Europe, in one gif

The history of Nato in Europe, in one gif

Nato's first secretary general Lord Ismay stated the purpose of the group was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down".

Nato's founding members in 1949, in alphabetical order, were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK and the US, but since then its membership has grown significantly - significant because it now includes eastern European states that were once Soviet republics.

Here is the history of Nato's expansion in Europe. Countries in dark blue are existing Nato members, light blue new Nato members in the year that is shown, and countries in red either the USSR (later Russia), satellite states or members of the Warsaw Pact.

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