This year marks the 75th anniversary of NATO - the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In this blog, we will take a look at the history of NATO, why it was formed and its relevance today.

What is NATO?

NATO is the largest peacetime military alliance in the world. The organisation was formed on the 4th of April 1949 and is an alliance of countries from Europe and North America. Its purpose is to “guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.”

It began with 12 founding members including the United States, Canada and a handful of Western European nations; in its 75-year history, its members have expanded to 32 countries. Finland and Sweden are the most recent countries to join in 2023 and 2024 respectively.

These countries are best known as “NATO Allies” and they work together to discuss and make collective decisions on political and security issues.

Why was NATO formed?

NATO was formed to serve several purposes, with many saying that it was due to the threats posed by the Soviet Union following World War II. However, the reasons do go beyond just this.

According to the NATO website, these are:

  • Preventing the Soviets from obtaining a greater territory
  • Stopping the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe. They aimed to do this by implementing a strong North American presence
  • Encouraging greater political integration across Europe

Why is NATO important?

The alliance has been integral in many key events in the world’s recent history, including the navigation of nuclear threats during the Cold War, providing stability during the fall of the Berlin Wall and invoking its Article 5 collective defence clause for the first and only time in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

NATO is still very much relevant today, always adapting its strategy to respond to new security challenges across the world. This is particularly prevalent during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with NATO’s allies working together to provide support for Ukraine during this challenging time.

NATO Medals, Badges and Clasps

We are delighted to stock a range of NATO items, including medals, badges, clasps and more.

Our medal range includes awards for key events within NATO’s timeline, a few examples include:

  • Libya – for those who served during NATO’s response to the Civil War in the country
  • Balkans – awarded for service during NATO operations to secure peace and security in the Balkan region
  • Kosovo – for those who have participated in the in the peace support operation
  • Afghanistan – in recognition of the Resolute Support Mission

All NATO medals have the same design, with a bar worn on the ribbon to display the specific mission that it has been awarded for. We also sell these bars separately. Unlike other medals we offer, NATO medals cannot be engraved with any personal details.

Click the link to take a look at the full collection of NATO medals.