75th Anniversary of NATO

"Never before has NATO’s strength and unity been so important. Never before have we in Europe, we in Germany felt so deeply that we need NATO for our own security, for the protection of our freedom and democracy"

April 11th, 2024
Editorial, News from Berlin
20240411 75th Anniversary of NATO.jpg

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has sent out a written message to congratulate the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on its 75th anniversary:

"Germany is a proud and committed member of our Alliance in the heart of Europe. At this watershed moment, I look at our Alliance with gratitude for its history, with great resolve to master this present moment, and with confidence in our shared future.

Let me begin with this present moment, the most critical since the Cold War. As President Putin of Russia has brought war and aggression back to the European continent, NATO stands to protect almost one billion citizens on both sides of the Atlantic. In your decade of leadership alone, we have increased NATO’s membership by four, we have strengthened our military posture from Baltic Sea to Black Sea, and – most importantly – we have proven Putin wrong. When Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, he thought the West would be weak and divided. The opposite turned out to be true: NATO is stronger and more united than ever in the face of Putin’s war. All of us must do their share to make sure it remains that way – above all by meeting our commitments and giving NATO the military strength and capabilities, it needs.

In 2014, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Germany signed its commitment to the 2% national spending target – the first time in the history of the Alliance. Ten years later, I am proud that my country is delivering on what we have promised. We have mobilized an additional 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr and we are in the process of permanently stationing an entire German brigade on the Eastern flank, in Lithuania. We will continue to invest in our military, to spend 2% on defence reliably and sustainably, to build a stronger European pillar within NATO, and to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes.

In my mind, there are many good reasons to do so – reasons that go beyond any election outcomes here in Europe or in the U.S. The main reason is: Never before has NATO’s strength and unity been so important. Never before have we in Europe, we in Germany felt so deeply that we need NATO for our own security, for the protection of our freedom and democracy.

When NATO was founded 75 years ago today, Europe lay in the ruins of the war that my country had brought upon the world. Germany was divided and the Cold War was beginning. NATO’s founding idea – security and partnership within our alliance, peace and stability in the world around us – was more than a military pledge, it was a political vision. A poster advertising NATO in Germany in the 1960s picturing a soldier in a circle of his international colleagues reads 'His comrades our allies'. I am glad that this has become true for us on so many levels. I am grateful for Germany’s almost seven decades of membership in NATO.

I want to thank you, Jens, for everything you have done for our Alliance in your ten years of leadership, and I was proud to congratulate you on the Henry Kissinger Prize in Berlin last fall.

You are steering our Alliance through the storm and I am sure: We will come out stronger on the other side."


News from Berlin