North Atlantic Treaty

The Arctic Transformed

the Arctic 1949.0404

North Atlantic Treaty

Cold War in the Arctic, Climate Change (4 April 1949)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

World War II left the United States and the Soviet Union as the dominant powers in Europe. Relations between the two began to deteriorate almost immediately, especially after US concerns over the Soviet installment of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe prompted President Truman to embark on a policy of "containment" by aiding the non-Communist regimes which surrounded the Soviet bloc. As this new "Cold War" heated up, the US and its European allies signed the North Atlantic Treaty, formally creating the NATO alliance to counter any potential Soviet attack.

Main Events

Kuril Landing Operation

Soviet Union invades the Kuril Islands

US occupation of Japan

United States forces led by Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, occupy Japan with support from British Commonwealth

Germans on Svalbard surrender

German soldiers garrisoned at Haudegen meteorological station on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, surrender to a Norwegian sealing vessel after losing radio contact in May

US attempts to buy Greenland

US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes makes offer to purchase Greenland for the United States to Danish Foreign Minister Gustav Rasmussen during a United Nations meeting in New York but is declined

Newfoundland joins Canada

British Dominion of Newfoundland and its dependency of Labrador join Canada as province of Newfoundland under the British North America Act 1949

North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington (formation of NATO)

About this map