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The Long Road to NATO, 1917–1949

March 29, 2024 | By Tyler Bamford, PhD

President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales during the Atlantic Conference in August 1941. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photo)
President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales during the Atlantic Conference in August 1941. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photo)
President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales during the Atlantic Conference in August 1941. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photo)
Roosevelt and Churchill
President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales during the Atlantic Conference in August 1941. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photo)
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 240329-N-XX999-1001

The signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 and the subsequent creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) marked a fundamental transformation in US foreign and defense policy by committing the United States to an ongoing military role in Europe. As part of a broader package of economic, humanitarian, and military aid, US participation in NATO demonstrated Americans’ resolve to rebuild and stabilize the continent after the turmoil of World War II. President Harry Truman declared at the signing ceremony that protecting the NATO signatories would be “a long step toward permanent peace in the whole world.” 1 Yet, the North Atlantic Treaty was not simply a general promise of protection or coordinated action in the event of war, but rather it inserted the United States into the European balance of power in a manner that created a lasting peace among member states. 2 Within a few short years, the North Atlantic Treaty also led to the creation of an unprecedented multinational force led by a single commander and trained to act as a combined arms team that benefitted from uniform communications and logistics standards. 

The establishment of NATO marked the first time since 1800 that the US government had concluded a military alliance with a European power in peacetime. For nearly a century and a half, the United States had held fast to President George Washington’s council to “steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world” except “temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.” 3 While this admonition did not prevent US forces from being deployed abroad to fight in multiple wars and military actions throughout the nineteenth century, America’s commitment to NATO signaled a radical departure from even previous instances in which the US military fought alongside allies.  


During World War I, the first large-scale US military deployment in Europe led to battlefield success but renewed disenchantment with involvement in European affairs among the American public. Following Congress’ declaration of war on Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, however, US President Woodrow Wilson carefully avoided designating the United States as a formal ally of Great Britain, France, Japan, Italy, and the other nations that it fought beside. Instead, Wilson asserted that the United States was an associate power in order to maintain the nation’s independence when negotiating a postwar peace. 4 Regardless of this technicality, American destroyers conducted antisubmarine operations in the Atlantic under the direction of the Royal Navy, and more than a million American soldiers trained and fought under the command of British and French commanders on the Western Front. 5 


US involvement in World War I lasted just nineteen months, but more than 116,000 Americans died during the conflict. 6 While these casualties were a mere fraction of those suffered by the other major belligerents, many Americans felt that their nation’s entrance into the war had been a mistake. Following the Armistice, the US Senate narrowly rejected the Treaty of Versailles, which would have committed the United States to joining Wilson’s League of Nations. Wilson proposed the League as an international organization to settle disputes and enforce settlements that would avoid future wars. The president’s opponents, however, feared that joining the League would limit the nation’s freedom of action and commit it to fighting in foreign conflicts in which it had no interest. 7 Without US participation, the League of Nations lacked the strength or prestige to do more than issue resolutions condemning Italian, Japanese, and German aggression in the 1930s.  

Americans’ disillusionment with their involvement in World War I grew throughout the 1920s as they witnessed what they perceived as France’s punitive treatment of Germany, the publication of revelations regarding the alleged falsehoods in Allied wartime propaganda, and disagreements over the Allies’ repayment of war debts owed to the United States. 8 These developments destabilized Europe and hindered its recovery, ultimately leading to the outbreak of the Second World War and demonstrating the pitfalls of America’s disengagement from the continent. During World War I, US leaders had told the public that the nation was fighting a crusade to make the world safe for democracy, but the British, French, and Japanese empires all grew dramatically after the conflict ended. Finally, a naval arms race that emerged between the United States, Great Britain, and Japan in 1919 gave credence to the belief that the sacrifices of the Great War had not improved US security but rather enlarged empires and enriched bankers. Some US naval and military leaders had hoped that their wartime cooperation with Great Britain and France could continue, but America’s complete military withdrawal from Europe precipitated the dismantling of all formal structures of the wartime partnership. 9  


Like most Americans, US military leaders strongly preferred a Chinese, British, and French victory when war broke out again in Asia and Europe in 1937 and 1939 respectively. Yet most Americans saw no need for the United States to become a direct belligerent in the conflict. Two months after Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Roosevelt unequivocally declared that no one in any position of authority within the US government had ever so much as suggested the possibility that American troops might once again be sent to fight in Europe. 10 Instead, the United States approved sales of weapons and war materiel to Britain and France on the condition that these nations paid in cash and transported the shipments on their own vessels. 11 Congress insisted on these provisions to avoid being drawn into the conflict. Even after the dramatic German conquest of the Low Countries and the defeat of France in June 1940, nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed in a Gallup Poll believed that it was more important for the United States to keep out of the war than it was to aid Great Britain as that nation fought Adolf Hitler’s forces. 12 Nevertheless, dramatic radio and newspaper reports of British fortitude in the face of indiscriminate German bombing as well as Japanese atrocities in China bolstered support among a majority of Americans for sending aid to Great Britain and China in their struggle for survival.  

On 2 September 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt announced the transfer of 50 over-age destroyers to Britain in exchange for 99-year leases on eight British bases in the Western Hemisphere. This act belied America’s professed neutrality but received widespread public support and resulted in a clear strategic gain for the United States. 13 That same year, Congress approved an enormous buildup of US military and naval strength and the nation’s first peacetime draft in recognition that the nation was no longer immune from events overseas. Anti-interventionists in the United States argued that Roosevelt’s support for Britain and concurrent military buildup were pushing the nation closer to entering the war. Roosevelt’s supporters, in turn, countered that America was not immune to threats overseas and that it was not the Atlantic Ocean that had protected the United States for the past 125 years but rather the British Royal Navy and the balance of power in Europe. 14 The invention of new weapons such as strategic bombers, aircraft carriers, and long-range submarines, moreover, signaled to many Americans that the United States could no longer rely on its distance from Europe to ensure its national security.  

British and American sailors examine depth charges in front of three US Navy destroyers prior to their transfer to the Royal Navy as part of the Destroyers for Bases deal in September 1940. (Courtesy Library of Congress)
British and American sailors examine depth charges in front of three US Navy destroyers prior to their transfer to the Royal Navy as part of the Destroyers for Bases deal in September 1940. (Courtesy Library of Congress)
British and American sailors examine depth charges in front of three US Navy destroyers prior to their transfer to the Royal Navy as part of the Destroyers for Bases deal in September 1940. (Courtesy Library of Congress)
Depth Charge Inspection
British and American sailors examine depth charges in front of three US Navy destroyers prior to their transfer to the Royal Navy as part of the Destroyers for Bases deal in September 1940. (Courtesy Library of Congress)
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 240329-N-XX999-1002

The expectation that the United States could remain neutral in the global conflict faded as Japan’s conquest expanded into Southeast Asia at the expense of colonial European empires. In response, Roosevelt ordered the US battle fleet to remain at Pearl Harbor following scheduled maneuvers in early 1941 in the hope that its presence would deter further Japanese aggression. Germany, Japan, and Italy reacted to this move and US support for the Allies by forming the Tripartite Pact in late September 1940. This alliance was intended to intimidate the United States into halting its support for the Allies, but it had the opposite effect of galvanizing American opinion against the Axis powers. 15 Following’s Roosevelt’s reelection to the presidency for a third term in November 1940 and the exhaustion of British dollar reserves with which to buy weapons, Congress passed the Lend Lease Act in March 1941. 16 The act permitted the US government to supply weapons to Great Britain and other Allies without requiring any form of payment. 17 Although Lend Lease promised British, Dutch, Chinese, Australian, Free French, and other allied forces expanded US materiel support, the Allies continued to suffer devastating reverses in the Balkans and Africa. In June 1941, Hitler’s forces invaded the Soviet Union. Educated observers widely expected the former German ally to collapse within a matter of weeks.  

Against this ominous backdrop, Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard the cruiser USS Augusta in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, on 9 and 10 August. The two men discussed their war aims and outlined their vision for a postwar international order, which they then compiled and jointly issued as the Atlantic Charter. The proclamation asserted that their two nations sought no territorial gains, supported free trade and freedom of the seas, affirmed the right to self-determination and self-government of all peoples, and supported the principle of collective security. Although the document was not binding, it expressed Roosevelt’s Wilsonian vision for the postwar world in which all peoples might enjoy the fruits of peace under a “wider and more permanent system of general security.” 18 

The Atlantic Charter marked an important evolution of American policy, and a further recognition that the United States was not immune to events abroad. Although Roosevelt still had no plans of forcing the United States to enter World War II, he and his military commanders recognized that if Britain were defeated the United States would likely find itself facing a hostile world. 19 Accordingly, Roosevelt authorized high level staff talks between British and US military leaders that began on 29 January 1941 with the goal of formulating strategic plans in the event that the United States entered the war. 20 Still lacking justification for US involvement in the war in the fall of 1941, Roosevelt authorized additional cooperation between the US Navy and Royal Navy in the Atlantic. US antisubmarine patrols pushed farther into the Atlantic and radioed the locations of German submarines to the Royal Navy. In October, the president ordered the Navy to shoot on sight all German U-boats and to escort all merchant ships as far as Iceland, hundreds of miles beyond US territorial waters. After retaliatory German attacks sank a US destroyer and damaged another, Congress repealed the prohibition on US merchant ships transporting war materiel to belligerents and authorized the arming of those same commercial vessels.  

By the beginning of December 1941, the United States had become what historian Mark Stoler called “an unofficial ally of Great Britain” and was fighting an undeclared naval war against Germany. 21 Despite its preparations for war, the United States only formally entered World War II after Japan’s devastating surprise attack on naval and air forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. The subsequent American war effort saw a closer coordination with US allies than any previous conflict including the creation of an Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff and the creation of unified commands in all theaters of war.   


Even as the war was being fought, the Allies began planning for a new postwar world order based on international cooperation. Less than one month after the United States became a belligerent, it hosted representatives from the 26 nations fighting the Axis powers at a conference in Washington. On 1 January 1942, the delegates signed the Declaration of the United Nations which reaffirmed the principles of the Atlantic Charter and prevented any of them from signing a separate peace with the Axis powers. 22 Unlike in World War I, the United States became a formal ally of these nations. Following the Quebec Conference in August 1943, the United States and Great Britain called for the creation of an overarching international organization founded on the premise of sovereign equality for all nations. To that end, American, British, Chinese, and Soviet diplomats gathered in Washington in the summer of 1944 to write the charter for a postwar organization based upon the principle of collective security. In April 1945, delegates representing fifty allied nations met in San Francisco to finalize the charter for the United Nations which included a General Assembly, Security Council, International Court of Justice, and various other councils and subordinate organizations.  

Determined to avoid Wilson’s failure to gain bipartisan support for the League of Nations, Roosevelt courted and obtained the endorsement of the Republican Party for US participation in a postwar international organization in September 1943. The Senate then ratified the final UN Charter on 28 July 1945 by a vote of 89 to 2. This overwhelming support reflected a decisive reversal in US public attitudes toward international commitments. Following the deaths of more 400,000 Americans in the war, the invention of atomic weapons, and the deployment of long range missiles and strategic bombers, Americans could no longer trust in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to isolate them from conflicts overseas. Consequently, the UN faced substantially less public opposition than the League of Nations had just 25 years earlier. The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, and Congress unanimously decided to invite the new organization to establish its headquarters in the United States. This rare political consensus indicated political leaders’ desire to ensure that American service members’ sacrifice in World War II would not need to be repeated because of another US diplomatic retreat. The American public generally welcomed the establishment of the UN and hoped that its creation heralded a new postwar era of internationalism in which disagreements would be settled through open diplomacy and the need for traditional alliances eliminated.  

United Nations poster c. 1942–1945. (Courtesy National Archives)
United Nations poster c. 1942–1945. (Courtesy National Archives)
United Nations poster c. 1942–1945. (Courtesy National Archives)
UN Poster
United Nations poster c. 1942–1945. (Courtesy National Archives)
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 240329-N-XX999-1003

The newly established UN’s structure, however, quickly evinced its unpreparedness to ensure peace and stability in a war-torn world. The most visible examples of this was the UN Security Council where Great Britain, France, the United States, the Soviet Union, and China each possessed veto power and therefore could block resolutions they viewed as detrimental to their interests. 23 This deadlock meant that the UN could not provide assistance to nations subject to internal communist movements or external pressure from the Soviet Union to grant it concessions.  


The experience of World War II and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor convinced most US military and political leaders that the United States needed a network of advanced military bases in both the Pacific and Atlantic far from US territory. The development of nuclear weapons further seemed to increase the likelihood of a surprise attack and therefore necessitated pushing the battlefront as far from American shores as possible. Though the Soviet Union did not possess atomic weapons until 1949 and had suffered enormously during the war, American leaders feared that it may seize control of the Eurasian landmass through the spread of communist ideology and nationalist uprisings. If the Soviet Union could gain predominance over the massive resources and population of Europe and Asia through its ties to newly established communist regimes, it could potentially pose a serious threat to US security even without a war between the two powers. 24 Despite this apprehension, US leaders moved cautiously because they did not want to risk causing an open diplomatic break with the Soviet Union through confrontational policies, nor did they anticipate military aggression by the Soviets prior to 1950. 

The year 1946 was a turning point in how the United States responded to the challenge of communism in Europe. According to historian Melvyn Leffler, US defense officials immediately after the war believed that “American prosperity required open markets, unhindered access to raw materials, and the rehabilitation of much—if not all of Eurasia along liberal capitalist lines.” 25 Europe’s economy lay in ruins immediately after the war, however, and its slow recovery was a source of growing concern for American leaders. When a series of minor crises arose that further threatened European stability, Truman reversed America’s longstanding aversion to peacetime interventions in European affairs.  

The immediate catalysts for this transformation in US foreign policy came from Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. In August 1946, the Soviet government sent a note to Turkey pressuring its government to accept joint administration of the Dardanelles. 26 As the Soviet Union’s rhetoric became more aggressive and expansionist, Bulgaria’s communist government abolished the country’s monarchy in September 1946. At the same time, the United States’ greatest ally in Europe, Great Britain, was suffering from protracted fuel and food shortages resulting in factory closures that damaged its economy. The British government therefore informed US leaders that it would have to withdraw peacekeeping forces from the eastern Mediterranean and reduce aid to Greece, which had been fighting a protracted civil war against a communist insurgency. 27 In response, US Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal promptly announced an expanded US naval presence in the region that operated from British bases. 28 This commitment marked a dramatic reversal from the US military drawdown in Europe that had been underway since the war’s end. It was also the first tangible indication that the United States did not plan to abandon Europe as it had after World War I. 

In what Truman later called one of the most serious decisions of his presidency, he determined that the United States should extend significant financial aid to Greece and Turkey. He recognized the implications of intervening in the domestic affairs of European nations and the potential for the commitments to expand. 29 Nevertheless, Truman went before a joint session of Congress on 12 March 1947 and declared that Greece and Turkey needed help and the United States was the only nation that could provide it. He revealed that Great Britain could no longer offer assistance, and delicately explained that the United Nations was “was not in a position to extend help of the kind that is required.” Truman lamented that the people “of a number of countries of the world have recently had totalitarian regimes forced upon them against their will” and that the time had come for every nation to “choose between alternative ways of life.” As he concluded his request to Congress for more than seven-hundred million dollars in relief assistance and military aid, Truman echoed Roosevelt’s rhetoric by imploring Americans to “assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way” by giving them the support resist “attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” Though Truman hinted at the military assistance that he planned to give to Greece and Turkey, the primary focus of what was soon named the Truman Doctrine was economic recovery for nations threatened by communism. The president specifically linked economic wellbeing to the rise of dictatorships when he told Congress that “the seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want. They spread and grow in the evil soil of poverty and strife.” 30 The speech effectively garnered support for the relief bills and Truman signed them into law two months later. 

Even as aid to Turkey and Greece was still being debated in the House and Senate, the Truman administration began formulating an even more ambitious rescue plan for the European economy. This additional aid, later styled the Marshall Plan after Secretary of State George C. Marshall, not only facilitated the reconstruction of Britain and Western Europe but also more tightly bound their economies to the western hemisphere. US leaders correctly predicted that the plan would create a stable political economy that supported US interests while also containing the Soviet Union. Marshall’s predecessor, Dean Acheson, proposed the basic outline of the Marshall Plan when he promoted the reconstruction of Germany and Japan in May 1947. The US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) endorsed a large aid package to Britain and Western Europe which they concluded were the most vital areas for US national security. By revitalizing this region, the United States could deprive communists of the opportunity to exploit economic crises noted the JCS. The State Department and JCS diverged, however, on whether to extend aid to Eastern European nations under Soviet influence with the State Department favoring their inclusion and the JCS opposed. 31 

When Truman officially announced the Marshall Plan and offered participation to all European nations, the Soviets expressed guarded interest. Yet Soviet emissaries quickly rejected the mandate that they disclose reports of the resources of nations under their control as a precondition for participation. Stalin accordingly directed all of the communist governments of Eastern Europe to reject any offer of aid in July 1947. 32 Thus freed from negotiating details of the aid package with the Soviets, Truman proposed the outline of the Marshall Plan to Congress in December and it became law on 3 April 1948. 

A number of factors prevented the Truman administration from pushing for the formation of military alliances as part of its strategy to contain communism in Europe and Asia prior to 1947. First and foremost was the traditional US aversion to permanent military alliances dating to George Washington’s admonition. Broad support for the UN, public enthusiasm for reduced defense spending, and Truman’s own desire not to precipitate a major break with the Soviet Union had also acted as natural checks on US participation in collective security agreements even as the US military continued informal cooperation with former western allies, Canada, and Australia. In September 1947 the United States entered its first collective security treaty, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, which was signed at Rio de Janeiro. This pact brought a number of Latin American countries together in a defensive alliance that required all of the signatories to come to one another’s aid in the event of an attack on any single member. 33 Unlike the subsequent North Atlantic Treaty, however, the Rio Pact never contemplated a standing military organization and had no clear imminent threat to defend against. 34      


As communist influence in Eastern Europe continued to grow, Western European nations sought military alliances with each other in order to ensure their security. In December 1947, communists in Romania consolidated power over the nation’s government. Two months later on 25 February 1948, a communist coup toppled Czechoslovakia’s government. These developments prompted the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg to sign a treaty of mutual defense in Brussels in March. While previous negotiations between France and Great Britain in 1946 had envisioned Germany as a future security threat, negotiations leading to the Brussels Treaty of 17 March 1948 made it clear that the Soviet Union was the potential aggressor compelling the nations of Western Europe to draw together. Truman and Marshall supported the British-led effort to construct a mutual defense treaty but signaled that the United States would not consider joining any such agreement until the western European nations had signed binding treaties among themselves. 35  

Soon after this condition was met in the Brussels Treaty, the State Department approached the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to secure approval for exploratory talks with the Brussels Pact nations. Both Truman and Western European governments remembered Wilson’s failure to gain widespread approval of the League of Nations and sought to avoid this mistake when contemplating foreign commitments. 36 Yet even before this approval was forthcoming, British, Canadian, and US planners met in Washington in April 1948 to discuss common strategic problems and approved an outline for “unilateral but accordant” plans in case of a war with the Soviet Union. .37 Then, in May 1948, Republican Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg proposed a resolution recommending that Truman seek a security treaty with Western Europe. The formerly isolationist senator envisioned a pact that would conform to the United Nations charter but also act outside the security council where the Soviet Union possessed veto power. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the Vandenburg Resolution in a vote of 64 to 4.  

Subsequent negotiations to establish the alliance moved slowly and deliberately, but they received a renewed sense of urgency due to further aggression by the Soviet Union. On 24 June 1948, the Soviet Union announced a blockade of West Berlin in response to the US push to create a West German state. The United States and its allies launched a coordinated emergency airlift to supply the city, and instituted a counter blockade of the Soviet occupation zone which deprived it of critical imports. The Berlin Airlift demonstrated the necessity for military readiness and added urgency to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty. As President Truman recalled in his memoir, “Russia’s toughness and truculence in the Berlin matter had led many Europeans to realize the need for closer military assistance ties among the Western nations, and this led to discussions which eventually resulted in the establishment of NATO. Berlin had been a lesson to all.” 38 The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in a ceremony in Washington on 4 April 1949, and the United States formally ratified the treaty on 25 July.  

The treaty spanned just fourteen short articles. Its core provision was Article 5, which stated:  

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them… will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. 39 

Although it took several years for the signatories to field a credible allied force capable of deterring Soviet aggression, the treaty marked the culmination of a radically new US foreign and defense policy that owed its key tenets to the lessons of two world wars. Ultimately the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the sustained postwar US economic aid to Europe grew out of Americans’ wartime reconceptualization of their national interests and their recognition that peace in Europe was essential to global stability.   

[1] Address by President Harry S. Truman, 4 April 1949, The Department of State Bulletin, 17 April 1949, p. 481.
[2] Alan K. Henrikson, “The Creation of the North Atlantic Alliance, 1948–1952,” Naval War College Review 33, no. 2 (May-June 1980): 6.
[3] Washington drafted his farewell address with the assistance of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. The address does not include the phrase “entangling alliances” as is frequently purported. George Washington, September 17, 1796, Farewell Address,” Library of Congress, accessed 7 March 2024,
[4] Robert B. Bruce, A Fraternity of Arms: America & France in the Great War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003), xiv.
[5] See Mitchell A. Yockelson, Borrowed Soldiers: Americans under British Command, 1918 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008) and Christopher B. Havern Sr., Ensuring the Lifeline to Victory: Antisubmarine Warfare, Convoys, and Allied Cooperation in European Waters during World War I (Washington, DC: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2020), 29.
[6] “America’s Wars,” Department of Veterans Affairs, accessed 7 March 2024,
[7] Michael S. Neiberg, The Treaty of Versailles: A Concise History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 95-96
[8] John H. Morrow Jr., The Great War: An Imperial History (New York: Routledge, 2004), 291-292.
[9] George W. Baer, One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U.S. Navy, 1890–1990 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993), 85; Gary S. Messinger, The Battle for the Mind: War and Peace in the Era of Mass Communication (Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2011), 43.
[10] David Kaiser, No End Save Victory (New York: Basic Books, 2014), 54.
[11] William T. Johnsen, The Origins of the Grand Alliance: Anglo-American Military Collaboration from the Panay Incident to Pearl Harbor (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016), 88.
[12] David Reynolds, From Munich to Pearl Harbor: Roosevelt’s America and the Origins of the Second World War (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001), 98.
[13] Mark A. Stoler, Allies in War: Britain and America Against the Axis Powers, 1940–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 15.
[14] Stoler, Allies in War, 14.
[15] Stoler, Allies in War, 16.
[16] Johnsen, Origins of the Grand Alliance, 131.
[17] Justus D. Doenecke and John E. Wilz, From Isolation to War, 1931–1941, 2nd ed. (Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1991), 103.
[18] Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston S. Churchill, “The Atlantic Charter,” Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, accessed 13 March 2024,
[19] Stoler, Allies in War, 21.
[20] Johnsen, Origins of the Grand Alliance, 137.
[21] Stoler, Allies in War, 29.
[22] “Declaration by the United Nations, January 1, 1942,” The Avalon Project Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, Yale Law School, accessed 14 March 2024,
[23] “The Veto,” Security Council Report, accessed 15 March 2024,
[24] Melvyn P. Leffler, “The American Conception of National Security and the Beginnings of the Cold War, 1945–1948,” in Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism: U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920–2015 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017), 118.
[25] Leffler, “The American Conception of National Security,” 134.
[26] Arnold A. Offner, Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002), 196.
[27] Offner, Another Such Victory, 186, 197.
[28] Williamson, US Navy and Its Cold War Alliances, 78; George W. Baer, One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U.S. Navy, 1890–1990 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993), 283.
[29] Offner, Another Such Victory, 200.
[30] “Address of The President of the United States Delivered Before a Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Recommending Assistance to Greece and Turkey,” Truman Doctrine (1947), National Archives, accessed 18 March 2024,
[31] Offner, Another Such Victory, 221.
[32] Offner, Another Such Victory, 226–227.
[33] Alan K. Henrikson, “The Creation of the North Atlantic Alliance, 1948–1952,” Naval War College Review 33, no. 3 (May/June 1980): 9.
[34] Steven L. Rearden, History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense: The Formative Years, 1947–1950 vol. 1 (Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1984), 458.
[35] Kenneth W. Condit, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy, 1947–1949 vol. 2 (Washington, DC: Office of Joint History, 1996), 192; Harry S. Truman, Memoirs vol. 2 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1956), 243.
[36] Truman, Memoirs, 2:243.
[37] Jeffrey G. Barlow, From Hot War to Cold: The U.S. Navy and National Security Affairs, 1945–1955 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009), 194.
[38] Truman, Memoirs, 2:130.
[39] “The North Atlantic Treaty,” 4 April 1949, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, accessed 19 March 2024,