Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


The objectives of making a study of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are threefold. These objectives are to show the background, development, structure, operation, problems and accomplishments of NATO; to determine whether NATO has fulfilled the general objectives of the treaty; whether NATO has fulfilled the general objectives of the treaty; and to furnish a bibliography and source materials useful as teaching aids for further study of the organization. We are living in a period when people of the West are turning to world organizations, such as NATO, as the hope of the world. A knowledge of what they have accomplished seems necessary if there is to be confidence in such organizations. A knowledge of their failures also seems necessary in this evaluation. The average American on the street is not familiar with the history of NATO. He probably knows something of its recent activities, but little about its background, issues and struggles. This is largely due to the fact that he shows little interest in the politics, dates and details that are associated with the organization. Even so, however, more people are expressing a greater interest in world affairs because of such crises as Berlin, Germany, the Middle East, the Orient and the threat posed by Russian development of intercontinental missiles. A personal interest in this study was prompted by a feeling of inadequacy while teaching current historical topics in an Iowa public school system. Due to insufficient time, the history courses taken in this writer’s undergraduate study could not adequately cover all the important events since World War II. A heavy teaching load prevented sufficient private study of this time period. The interest of this writer in this topic was also aroused by several references to NATO while doing research for a term paper in American Foreign Policy. It is hoped that this study will provide knowledge of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as well as knowledge of the major world events since World War II. It is the plan of this study to trace the development of NATO in chronological order from its conception to its present status, which, because of the changing conditions must be incomplete. The early chapters deal with NATO’s background, including the reasons for NATO, the leaders and countries responsible, early negotiations and provisions and purposes. The second part traces the changes that have come about since the treaty began functioning in 1949, and the structure, with explanations of the various civilian and military officials, committees, organizations and commands. The study closes with a summary of the accomplishments made by NATO in its eleven years of existence and of the problems NATO has faced, is facing, and will face in the future. Information for this study was taken from an encyclopedia, books, pamphlets, newspapers and magazines. The books were used to provide the general background, while the other sources were used to make the study more current and detailed. The writer found the material from the Department of State and the United States Government Printing Office, especially the reports, documents and speeches, very helpful. An especially helpful organization was the American Council on NATO, Inc., an independent information center located in New York City, which suppled much current literature.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- History


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University