King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
From Empire to Nationhood

NATO and Warsaw Pact

Lord Ismay, NATO Secretary GeneralLord Ismay, NATO Secretary GeneralThe division of the world into two spheres of influence was hastened with the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation following the signing in Washington DC of the North Atlantic Treaty in April 1949.

The treaty bound its twelve founding members that included the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France and Italy, to the principle of collective security - an attack on one was an attack on all.

The first NATO Secretary General to be appointed was General Hastings Ismay, Winston Churchill's former Chief of Staff.

The Soviet Union and its allies set up the Warsaw Pact in May 1955 in response to the Paris Agreements of October 1954 that permitted limited West German rearmament for the purposes of self-defence and that welcomed the country into NATO.

Warsaw Pact members included Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

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