With links to Wikipedia.
UN Following the surprise Japanese attack on the US Territory of Pearl Harbour (on Dec 7 1941) coupled with Germany's declaration of war on the USA (on Dec 11 1941), on New Year’s Day 1942 President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, Ambassador Litvinov of Russia, and Foreign Minister Soong of China signed a short document which later came to be known as the United Nations Declaration. At that time, the Russian leader Joseph Stalin with Chinese leaders Chiang Kai Shek and Mao Zedong had formed a somewhat "uneasy" alliance (Click here for some History) against their most powerful enemy, Japan.
Japan, with its proud Samurai traditions, had been at war with China (starting inside Korea) since 1895, and with Russia ever since 1904.
The day after that US-UK-Russia-China Declaration, the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their signatures. In mid-1944 when France joined the original four, these five nations became the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
On 25 October 1971, over US opposition but with the support of many Third World nations, the mainland People's Republic of China was given the Chinese seat on the Security Council in place of the Republic of China that now just occupied Taiwan. The vote was seen by many as a sign of waning US influence in the organization. With an increasing Third World presence and the failure of UN mediation in conflicts in the Middle East, Vietnam, and Kashmir, the UN increasingly shifted its attention to ostensibly secondary goals of economic development and cultural exchange. Click here for this timeline.
NATO In April 1949, the US Canada Iceland Norway and the UK, Denmark and Portugal, France Italy and Benelux formed NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a formal military alliance.
It came after 1948's West Germany currency reform with the Americans and the British revaluing a "new mark" as worth 10 "old marks", a response to Russia's 1947 revaluing of one "new ruble" as worth 10 "old rubles". In an endeavour to prevent people (and capital) leaving them for the west, the Russians implemented the Berlin Blockade — no traffic was allowed in or out, one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. The blockade ended in May 1949, though East Berlin now was ruled by a separate parliament under Russian control and permitted only a restricted access to and from the west.
In 1952, Turkey and Greece joined NATO. In 1955 when West Germany joined, Russia formed the Warsaw Pact involving Poland and other countries on its western flank. As numerous East German citizens continued to emigrate through West Berlin at the rate of 2000 per day, in August 1961 a concrete wall was commenced inside the city. It became the symbol of the "Iron Curtain", a phrase first used by Winston Churchill in 1946. The structure was up to 5 metres high, topped with barbed wire, guarded with watchtowers, machine gun emplacements, and mines. By the 1980s this system of walls and electrified fences extended 45 kms through Berlin and 120 kms around the city's western border, separating it from the rest of East Germany. The East Germans also erected an extensive barrier along most of the 1360-kilometre border between East and West.
The wall remained for 28 years, not coming down until 1989. It was followed by the Warsaw Pact disbanding in 1991. By 2009, NATO had become 28 nations. Click here for this timeline.
EU Back in 1951 West Germany and France formed ECSC (The European Coal and Steel Community) along with Italy and the 3 smaller countries known as "Benelux" (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
In 1958 this becomes known as the EEC (European Economic Community), or simply, the Common Market.
In 1993 the Common Market changed its name to the EU (European Union). By 2012, the EU had also become 28 nations.
In 1985 the Schengen Agreement had been signed in Luxembourg by five of its then ten member countries, Benelux France and Germany, a proposal to abolish passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders.
First implemented in 1995, this Schengen Area now includes 22 EU countries, 4 extra non-EU countries, and 3 de facto microstates. The 4 non-EU countries are Norway and Iceland since 2001, Switzerland since 2008, and tiny Liechtenstein since 2011. The 3 "micro-states" with their open (or semi-open) borders: Vatican City (inside Rome), San Marino (inside north-eastern Italy), and Monaco (on the French Riviera).
In 1999 the EU created the Eurozone for 11 of its member countries, using a new currency they call the euro. Greece was admitted in 2001. Physical notes and coins were then printed in 2002 to replace national currencies. Since 2007, 7 extra countries have been added, making 19 in this Eurozone in total.
In 2016, the UK voted in a plebiscite to leave the EU, click here for the latest summary in Wikipedia.
Now for two lists of who joined NATO and the EU, and when.
Click a column heading, e.g. "Nation", to sort and align the two lists showing who is in one but not in the other. Click REFRESH to restore original layout.
Significant nations not included in NATO are Ireland (well for many years of course it was in conflict with England) and also Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland who have always preferred a "peaceable" neutrality.
With regards to the EU and the euro, Switzerland retains its own currency, the Swiss franc, but regularly accepts and exchanges euros in its business dealings.
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