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Syracuse Herald-Journal, Syracuse, New York, front page, February 26, 1948

On February 25, 1948, Communist Party forces seized control of the Czechoslovakian government in a bloodless coup. Although the Soviet Union had not directly participated in the takeover, the events in Czechoslovakia, along with growing tensions in Berlin, moved Congress to support a defense pact to protect its allies in Western Europe from possible Soviet aggression.

Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress

Syracuse Herald-Journal, February 26, 1948

Approving the North Atlantic Treaty

On July 21, 1949, the Senate voted to approve the North Atlantic Treaty for ratification. Written in 1947 and 1948 in response to concerns about Soviet threats to Western Europe, the treaty was a mutual defense pact between the United States, Canada, and 10 Western European nations. It laid the foundation for establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Senate’s approval of the treaty marked a significant break from America’s prior resistance to alliances with foreign nations. The treaty is the longest-standing alliance in U.S. history.