NATO: An FPRI Primer

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: Thematic Strand Index:
• Standard #2: Time, Continuity and Change
• Standard #6: Power, Authority and Governance
• Standard #9: Global Connections

U.S. History Standards: Era 9 Standard 2, and Era 10 Standard 1

Common Core State Standards for English Lang. Arts & Literacy in History/Social Science, 6-12

Key Ideas and Details
• RH/SS.2—determine and summarize central ideas and themes
• RH/SS.3—analyze text related individuals, events or ideas

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
• RH/SS.9—analyze and/or compare primary/secondary sources

Comprehension and Collaboration
• SL.1—prepare and participate effectively in a range of conversations.
• SL.2—integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
• SL.4—present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

1. Analyze the factors leading to the creation of NATO.
2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of NATO throughout its history.
3. Assess the present state of affairs for NATO.
4. Evaluate the future of NATO.

1. Ice Breaker/ Anticipatory Set: Ask students to name the present members of NATO. Make a list on the board and date when they joined.
2. Background: Have your students carefully listen to Ron Granieri’s FPRI Primer on NATO. The text is included below. Have the students read the other NATO information below and investigate the websites listed in this lesson. Instruct the students to focus on how NATO arose, its successes and failures, and current news about NATO.
3. ROLE PLAYING: To create a role-playing activity, have each student select a NATO member from a list you provide. You may choose to include all, many, or just a few members.
4. Ask each student to become “an expert” on the country assigned. This means knowing when it joined and why, successes and failures from this country’s perspective, and any current information about this country and NATO today.
5. After students have completed their research either in class or at home (or both), arrange the classroom to enable students to have a clear view of each other. This could be a curved panel, or fan shape, or something similar. Either the teacher or a pre-selected student, will serve as the moderator who will pose questions and perhaps interrogate each country’s representative.

This lesson may conclude in three classroom periods or it may take a fourth to delve into future issues and wrap up.

Note: Obviously, only some issues for which NATO has been involved, can be explored in this format.

Grading can be based on the student research, class participation and prepared comments by the student for class discussion.
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ROLE PLAYING QUESTIONS:
1. WHY DID YOUR COUNTRY JOIN NATO?
2. OVERALL, HAS YOUR COUNTRY BEEN PLEASED WITH THIS ALLIANCE? REASONS?
3. FROM YOUR COUNTRY’S PERSPECTIVE, WHAT HAS BEEN NATO’S GREATEST TRIUMPH?
4. FROM YOUR COUNTRY’S PERSPECTIVE, WHAT HAS BEEN NATO’S GREATEST FAILURE?
5. HOW MUCH SUPPORT FOR NATO IS THERE IN YOUR COUNTRY TODAY?
6. DOES YOUR COUNTRY ANTICIPATE LEAVING NATO? IF SO, UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES?
7. PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS RECENTLY ATTACKED NATO. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR COUNTRY’S RESPONSE?
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Note: See attached pdf for Lesson Information, including article texts, the list of NATO members, and other relevant documents.

Teachers can choose to limit the scope of this lesson. You can select specific issues that you wish to be addressed. You can also limit the lesson to just the relationship between the United States and a few NATO members. Research can also be assigned entirely as homework and may be given over several days, thereby inserting other lessons in between the first day of the lesson and the remaining days.

The lesson can be expanded to include additional historical issues concerning NATO. OR…
A debate could occur with one of the following topic resolutions:
Resolved– that there is no longer a need for The North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Resolved—that NATO is vital for the security of democracies in Europe.
Resolved—that the United States should return to its pre-World War II foreign policy which shunned all alliances.

FPRI:

NATO: An FPRI Primer.

ORBIS: FPRI’s Journal of Foreign Affairs. Numerous articles throughout its publishing history concerning NATO.

NATO Homepage. https://www.nato.int and https://www.archives.nato.int

NATO: United States Department of State. https://history.state.gov

NATO on The History Channel. https://www.history.com

NATO: United States National Archives. Https://www.archives.gov

Recent Articles Concerning NATO, cited on-line.

1. “The North Atlantic Treaty”. North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 1949-04-04. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
2. “Erdogan’s purge may give Nato no choice but to expel Turkey from the alliance”. The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2017
3. Wintour, Patrick (28 July 2016). “Turkey officials to demand extradition of Fethullah Gülen from US”. The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
4. “Will Turkey be expelled from NATO?”. Al-Monitor. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
5. “NATO and Turkey: Allies, not friends”. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
6. “Turkey’s NATO membership and move to cement ties with Russia”. DailySabah. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
7. “In Opinion: Turkey should be thrown out of NATO”. Newsweek. 13 August 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
8. “NATO members are supposed to be democratic. What happens when Turkey isn’t?”. Washington Post. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
9. Weiss, Stanley (23 February 2016). “It’s Time to Kick Erdogan’s Turkey Out of NATO”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
10. “Trump threatens to quit NATO: White House official – France 24”. France 24. 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
11. Landler, Michael D. Shear, Mark; Kanter, James (2017-05-25). “In NATO Speech, Trump Is Vague About Mutual Defense Pledge”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
12. Lauter, David (2017-05-26). “A glowing orb and a not-so-glowing review of the GOP healthcare bill: Trump’s week was filled with events he didn’t control”. Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
13. “North Atlantic Treaty” (PDF). United States Department of State. 2009-04-01. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
14. Where Does The Relationship Between NATO And The U.S. Go From Here?, Huffington Post
15. NATO allies boost defense spending in the wake of Trump criticism, The Washington Post
16. Former US ambassador to Nato in withering criticism of Donald Trump, The Independent
17. Shaken by Trump’s Criticism of NATO, Europe Mulls Building Own Military Force, Voice Of America
18. Support for NATO is widespread among member nations, Pew Research
19. U.S. would defend NATO despite Trump’s criticism, Europeans believe: study, Reuters
20. “Table 3 : Defence expenditures as a percentage of gross domestic product and annual real change (based on 2010 prices)” (PDF). Retrieved 20 January 2017.
21. “World Economic Outlook Database April 2016”. International Monetary Fund. International Monetary Fund. April 2015. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
22. “SIPRI Military Expenditure Database 2015” (XLS). Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
23. “Central government total expenditure by function 1998-2013”. Statistics Iceland. Statistics Iceland. 2014-09-23. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
24. “Financial and Economic Data Relating to NATO Defence” (PDF). NATO. NATO. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2015.

Author
  • Paul Dickler
  • FPRI
Grade Level
  • High School: 9, 10, 11, 12
Time Frame
  • Three to four classroom periods.

If you have any questions about this lesson plan, or if you wish to contact the author, please email us at history@fpri.org

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