The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO for short was founded in 1949. And there were twelve founding members of the alliance in the beginning. And they included Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, The United Kingdom, and also the United States. Currently, there are a total of 30 members of NATO. And the additional eighteen members that joined the alliance after it was assembled include:
NATO has many purposes. But the primary purpose of the alliance is collective defense. And what that means is if any single member ally is attacked, then all NATO allies respond as if they were directly attacked as well. An example of such a response would be the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States on 9/11/2001. And once that attack occurred all NATO allies stood together and responded to that attack as one.
NATO also serves other purposes. Two of which are managing crises around the globe and fighting terrorism.