“Established 70 years ago with the signatures of 12 original members, NATO now has 29 members, meaning more than half are accession countries. Enlargement by accession occurred over seven separate occasions, and on one occasion the geographic area increased without increasing the number of member states when the German Democratic Republic (GDR) became part of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in October 1990.
The conditions surrounding the enlargements — the first in 1952 (Greece and Turkey) and the most recent in 2017 (Montenegro) — have varied significantly. The first three enlargements occurred during the Cold War and are regarded as strategic.They contributed to the consolidation of the post-World War II European order and helped determine its territorial boundaries. That first enlargement provided a NATO pres-ence in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea region. It also culminated Greece’s somewhat hesitant integration with the West. Turkey was not a full-fledged democracy at the time, but strategic considerations prevailed...”
Excerpt from Pál Dunay, “Strong Headwinds,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 9, No. 3, 2019: 18-25.
This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.