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Eisenhower and the Origins of NATO
world map

Students will gain an understanding of the NATO military alliance, why it was formed, and why individual countries agreed to sign the treaty to become members. Working in pairs or small groups, students will be assigned a country to represent. Students will first review the global political context by examining sources related to the Berlin Airlift. Students will then locate their country on a map and use the map to assess whether or not joining a military alliance would be a good idea. What does joining the NATO alliance mean? Does an alliance make war more or less likely? How will the Soviet Union view the new alliance? Using sources to address these questions, students will work together on a brief statement explaining why their nation should or should not join NATO.

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“The essence of leadership is to get others to do something because they think you want it done and because they know it is worth while doing.”

Dwight Eisenhower

Remarks at the Republican Campaign Picnic, President’s Gettysburg Farm, September 12, 1956