NATO: A Timeline

Timeline for the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Here is a chronology of the key events in NATO's history.
AprilNATO is formed as Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States sign the North Atlantic Treaty.
Sept. 18-26 The North Atlantic Council (NAC) agrees to create a military force to defend Europe, commanded by a Supreme Commander and aided by an international staff.
Dec. 19 NAC announces that General Dwight D. Eisenhower will be the first Supreme Commander.
April 2Allied Command Europe (ACE) and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) become operational under the command of General Eisenhower.
July 23
SHAPE headquarters opens at Rocquencourt on the outskirts of Paris.
June-Sept.Admiral Carney, Admiral Brind, and Marshal Juin assume commander-in-chief roles for, respectively, Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH) in Naples, Italy; Northern Europe (CINCNORTH) in Oslo, Norway; and Central Europe (CINCENT) in Fontainebleau, France.
Feb. 18 Greece and Turkey join NATO.
Feb. 20-25 The NAC reorganizes the structure of the Alliance and NATO permanently becomes an organization.
May 2 The Federal Republic of Germany joins NATO.
Dec. 15-16 The NAC approves allied forces' development of atomic weapons as a means of improving NATO's military strength.
Dec. 13 The NAC agrees to a resolution allowing the peaceful settlement of disputes and differences between member countries, including a resolution on non-military cooperation in NATO.
March 29 French President Charles De Gaulle announces France will stop participating in NATO on July 1, 1966, and that all allied military headquarters and facilities must leave France by April 1, 1967. Following the "French Initiative," many significant changes are made to NATO strategy and the integrated military structure.
July 1 French military forces withdraw from NATO's integrated military structure.
Nov. 15 Headquarters of Allied Land Forces Central Europe and Allied Air Forces Central Europe, located at Fontainebleau in France, are amalgamated into a single command center: Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT).
Dec. 19-20/TD>
The Nuclear Planning Group is established and the Standing Group is disbanded. Integrated military staff becomes executive agency of the Military Committee.
March 31 SHAPE becomes operational at its new headquarters in Casteau, Belgium.
June 1 AFCENT inaugurates its new headquarters in Brunssum, Holland.
Dec. 13-14 The Council approves Harmel Report on the Future Tasks of the alliance. The Defense Planning Committee then adopts NATO's new strategic concept of flexible response.
September West Germany agrees to give more than $2 billion to the United States in response to American efforts to reduce troop commitment.
Jan.-Dec. In response to the first Soviet deployment of intermediate-range missiles, President Carter urges NATO allies to increase the defense budget.
Dec. 11-14 NATO's "dual-track" decision, an attempt to modernize theater nuclear forces while continuing talks on arms control measures, takes effect.
May 30 Spain becomes the 16th member of NATO.
Jan.-Dec. Mikhail Gorbachev is declared general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party as relations between NATO and the Warsaw Pact improve drastically.
December 8

President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev sign the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, eliminating a class of nuclear weapons, with profound implications for NATO's nuclear strategy.

July 5-6 The North Atlantic Council issues the London Declaration, radically transforming NATO: Proposed joint NATO-Warsaw Pact declaration that they are no longer adversaries and will refrain from the threat or use of force. As Soviet forces withdraw from Eastern Europe and the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty is implemented, NATO's military structure will change.
Nov. 19 The Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty is signed. SHAPE played an active role supporting the negotiations.
Dec. 6-7 The Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Defense Planning Committee and Nuclear Planning Group restate that radical changes will occur in NATO force structure and strategy.
January ACE Mobile Force (AMF) aircraft deploy to Turkey as a precautionary measure following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. On Jan. 16, the day before coalition air forces begin attacking Iraq, NATO countries begin deploying additional air defense equipment in Turkey.
May 7 The Yugoslav Defense Minister declares his country is in a state of civil war. /TD>
July-August The Warsaw Pact is officially disbanded. A Soviet coup temporarily overthrows President Gorbachev. Russian President Boris Yeltsin leads the opposition to the short-lived coup. When Mr. Gorbachev returns to Moscow, he finds a radically altered political environment.
Oct. 17-18 Following important U.S. and Soviet nuclear initiatives, NATO Defense Ministers approve an 80 percent reduction of NATO's nuclear weapons stockpiles.
Dec. 21 Eleven of the constituent republics of the former Soviet Union create a Commonwealth of Independent States. Four days later, President Gorbachev resigns.
April 1 First meeting of NATO Defense Ministers with Cooperation Partners identifies further areas for defense-related cooperation. FONT>
June 4 In response to the deteriorating situation in former Yugoslavia, Alliance Foreign Ministers state NATO is prepared to support peacekeeping activities under the responsibility of the CSCE on a case by case basis.
July 16 Marks the beginning of Operation "Maritime Monitor." This is the first NATO operation in support of UN operations or sanctions directed at the former Yugoslavia.
August 26-28 The London Peace Conference sets a basis for a negotiated settlement in the former Yugoslavia. In the next few days, SHAPE provides the NAC options to support UN humanitarian activities in Bosnia and monitor heavy weapons.
October-November ACE begins Operation Sky Monitor, NATO monitoring of the U.S. No-Fly Zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The operation necessitates increased cooperaion between the UN and NATO. The NAC agrees NATO will enforce the UN embargo against the former Yugoslavia.
March Police arrest more than 30 ethnic Albanians on suspicion of preparing an armed revolution.
July-August A Serbian court sentences 68 ethnic Albanians for up to eight years in prison for allegedly setting up a parallel police force. Serbian authorities settle several hundred Croatian Serb refugees in Kosovo, drawing protests from ethnic Albanian leaders.
September NATO outlines proposals to upgrade political and military ties with Russia, and the Council of Europe unfreezes the country's bid for membership.
September-December Serbia signs a deal with ethnic Albanian leaders to return Albanian students to mainstream education after a six-year boycott of state schools and colleges. The clandestine separatist group Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) emerges and claims responsibility for several bomb attacks.
January The Serb rector of Pristina University is badly injured by a car bomb. A suspected leader of the outlawed KLA is killed in a gun battle with police
September Armed men stage simultaneous night attacks on police stations in 10 Kosovo towns and villages. As the number of guerrilla incidents increase, clashes continue sporadically between police and peaceful protesters.
June The United State informs NATO it wants to invite only Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to join the alliance initially.
February-March Dozens are killed in Serbian police operations against suspected Albanian separatists in the Drenica region of Kosovo. Houses are burned and villages evacuated. Tens of thousands protest in the Kosovo capital, Pristina, against the violence, and street clashes erupt. Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova, disregarding Western calls for compromise, demands outright independence for Kosovo. Ethnic Albanians vote for a president and parliament in elections considered illegal by Belgrade.

US envoy Richard Holbrooke begins a round of shuttle diplomacy which results in Yugoslav President Milosevic inviting Ibrahim Rugova for peace talks.
Ethnic Albanian and Serb negotiators start talks in Pristina as fighting continues.

September The Serbian army continues to attack villages in the Drenica region of Kosovo. United Nations Security Council votes in favor of a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Kosovo, and warning the Yugoslav government of "additional measures" if it fails to comply. NATO takes the first formal steps towards military intervention in Kosovo.
October Western nationals are advised to leave Yugoslavia as NATO prepares for air strikes. NATO countries give the go-ahead for military action against Yugoslavia if President Milosevic does not comply with United Nations resolutions on Kosovo.
November-December NATO and the U.S. accuse both the Belgrade government and the ethnic Albanian rebels of endangering the cease-fire in Kosovo. Serbian authorities say their forces killed at least 30 ethnic Albanians in the worst clash since October's cease-fire agreement.
January The bodies of almost 40 ethnic Albanians are found at a scene of recent fighting in southern Kosovo in what appears to have been a mass execution. NATO sends two senior military officers to Belgrade to warn the Yugoslav authorities that they face air strikes if they do not end the violence.
March 12 The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland formally become NATO members.
March 24
NATO begins a series of intensive air strikes to force Yugoslavia to halt attacks on and expulsion of the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo.

Produced by Aaron Wertheim. Copyright 1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.