NATO's Evolution: A Selected Chronology from the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Madrid Summit 1989-1997
CRS Report for Congress
NATO’s Evolution: A Selected Chronology from
the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Madrid Summit
Stanley R. Sloan
Senior Specialist in International Security Policy
J. Michelle Forrest
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division
Today’s NATO is different in many ways from the alliance that existed prior to the
November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. This chronology records some significant
developments affecting the dual processes of NATO enlargement and adaptation from
that time until the July 8-9, 1997 NATO summit meeting in Madrid, Spain.
Nov. 9-10Berlin Wall is breached. Widespread demonstrations and demands for
political reform in East Germany result in lifting of travel restrictions to
the West and the establishment of new crossing points into the Federal
Republic of Germany.
March 11Lithuanian Parliament votes to regain its independence by breaking away
from the Soviet Union.
March 26Government of Czechoslovakia orders border installations dismantled
along its frontiers with Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany.
July 6NATO Heads of State and Government, meeting in London, publish the
“London Declaration on a Transformed North Atlantic Alliance” initiating
a study of NATO’s rationale in view of changing European
ci rcum st ances.
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
July 17‘Two Plus Four’ Conference in Paris concludes with agreement on
conditions governing German unification.
Oct. 3NATO welcomes united Germany as a full member of the Alliance on the
day of German unification.
Nov. 19The 22 member states of NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization,
meeting at the summit of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in
Europe (CSCE) in Paris, sign the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces
in Europe (CFE) and publish a Joint Declaration on non-aggression.
Nov. 21Heads of State and Government of the CSCE publish the Charter of Paris
for a New Europe and sign the Vienna Document on Confidence and
June 25Slovenian and Croatian Parliaments proclaim independence from
Yugoslavia. Conflict results when the Yugoslav federal army attempts to
reestablish control over the breakaway republics.
July 1The Warsaw Pact is formally disbanded.
Aug. 19Soviet President Gorbachev is removed from office in a coup and
replaced by an “emergency committee.” NATO warns the Soviet Union
that if it abandons reform there will be serious consequences. Programs
for Western aid are suspended.
Russian President Yeltsin calls for a general strike as loyalist tanks flying
Russian flags are positioned by the Russian parliament building.
Aug. 21President Gorbachev returns to Moscow as the 19 August coup collapses
and its leaders are arrested.
Sept. 27U.S. President Bush announces sweeping cuts in U.S. nuclear weapons
including the removal of nuclear cruise missiles from submarines and
warships and the destruction of all U.S. ground-launched tactical nuclear
missiles. Bush asks the Soviet Union to make cuts as well.
Oct. 6The Foreign Ministers of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, meeting
in Cracow, express their desire to be included in NATO activities.
President Gorbachev announces the removal of all tactical nuclear
weapons from submarines, land-based naval aircraft, and ships as well as
the abolition of Soviet short-range nuclear weapons.
Nov. 7-8NATO Heads of State and Government meeting in Rome, Italy, issue the
Rome Declaration on Peace and Cooperation and publish the Alliance’s
new Strategic Concept.
Dec. 9-10Heads of State and Government of the European Community (EC),
meeting in Maastricht, The Netherlands, reach agreement over the Treaty
on European Union (EU). The EU consists of three pillars: an expanded
and strengthened EC, including provisions for the establishment of a
single European Currency, a common foreign security policy, and a
common internal security measure.
Western European Union (WEU) member states invite EU members to
become observers or accede to the WEU, and other European members of
NATO to become associate members of the WEU.
Dec. 20NATO Foreign Ministers and Representatives of 9 Central and East
European countries attend the inaugural meeting of the North Atlantic
Cooperation Council (NACC), a forum for consultations between NATO
and non-NATO European countries.
The Soviet Union is effectively dissolved.
March 3President Izetbegovic proclaims Bosnia-Herzegovina’s independence from
April 2UN Security Council recommends the full deployment of the United
Nations Protection Force in Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR) to be stationed in
Serb populated areas in Croatia for patrolling four UN Protected Areas
(UNPAs) or buffer zones between Croatian and Serb forces.
June 4NATO Foreign Ministers, meeting in Oslo, Norway, announce that NATO
will give conditional support for peacekeeping activities under the
responsibility of the CSCE on a case-by-case basis.
Sept. 2The North Atlantic Council agrees to make Alliance resources available
to support efforts of the UN, CSCE and EU to bring about peace in the
former Yugoslavia, including protection of humanitarian relief and
support for the UN monitoring of heavy weapons.
Oct. 1U.S. Senate gives its advice and consent to ratification of the START
Treaty which cuts U.S. and Russian nuclear forces by one-third.
Nov. 9CFE Treaty enters into force.
Jan. 1The Republic of Slovakia and the Czech Republic become independent
April 3-4The first U.S.- Russian Summit between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin
is held in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Oct. 4Troops loyal to President Yeltsin storm the headquarters of the Russian
Parliament with tanks and machine gun fire. This ends the occupation of
the headquarters by parliamentarians opposing Yeltsin’s reform program.
Jan. 10-11Alliance Heads of State and Government meeting in Brussels, launch
Partnership for Peace (PfP). All NACC partner countries and CSCE
states capable and willing to participate are invited. The leaders endorse
the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces Headquarters to give NATO
greater flexibility in future deployments of allied forces and support
development of a European Security and Defense Identity in the Alliance.
April 22North Atlantic Council agrees on the use of air power to protect UN
personnel in Bosnia-Herzegovina and UN designated safe areas. The
Council threatens air strikes unless all Bosnian Serb heavy weapons are
withdrawn by April 27 from all UN designated safe areas.
June 22Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, visiting NATO Headquarters,
signs a PfP Framework Document and holds discussions with the Council.
Aug. 13NATO Secretary General Manfred Wörner dies in Brussels.
Sept. 8U.S., U.K., and France withdraw their remaining Allied troops from
Oct. 17Willy Claes, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign
Affairs of Belgium, replaces Manfred Wörner as Secretary General of
Dec. 5-6CSCE Heads of State and Government, meeting in Budapest, rename
CSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Aug. 30NATO launches “Operation Deliberate Force,” a series of air attacks on
Bosnian Serb targets across Bosnia. NATO Secretary General Claes
indicates that the attacks are designed to bring the Bosnian Serbs to the
Sept. 20NATO’s North Atlantic Council approves the study on the extension of
the Atlantic Alliance to Central and Eastern European countries.
Oct. 21Willy Claes resigns as NATO Secretary General.
Nov. 21Negotiations in Dayton, Ohio result in a peace agreement for Bosnia.
Nov. 28NATO Defense Ministers and Russian Defense Minister, General Pavel
Grachev, meeting in Brussels, agree on the arrangement providing for
Russian participation in the Implementation Force (IFOR) under U.S. as
opposed to NATO command.
Dec. 5NATO Foreign and Defense Ministers, meeting in Brussels, approve the
SACEUR’s operational plan “Joint Endeavor” for the implementation of
the Dayton peace agreement.
France returns to the non-integrated military bodies of the Alliance.
France says it will take part regularly in NATO’s Military Committee and
in the other work of the Alliance except for the Nuclear Planning Group.
NATO foreign ministers appoint the former Spanish Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Javier Solana, as the ninth Secretary General of NATO.
Dec. 14Paris conference for signing the Dayton agreements on Bosnia. Presidents
of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia endorse the Dayton peace agreement for
Bo snia-Herz egovina.
Hungarian Parliament approves the temporary stationing of NATO troops
in Hungary in support of the IFOR mission.
Dec. 18First American troops arrive in Bosnia. The transfer of command from
UNPROFOR to IFOR is complete.
June 3NATO Foreign Ministers, meeting in Berlin, Germany agree that a
European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) would be accommodated
within NATO allowing European officers in the NATO structure to
occupy command positions in a parallel Western European Union (WEU)
structure. It is agreed that NATO structure and assets could be made
available for future military operations of the WEU. French officials
suggest that implementation of the Berlin reform package would lead to
full French military participation in a “new NATO.”
Sept. 27Defense Ministers of NATO countries, meeting in Bergen, Norway, agree
that IFOR forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina should remain fully operational
until the end of December after which a follow-up force with a new
mandate would be necessary.
Nov. 16Spanish Parliament endorses the decision of the Government of Spain to
take the steps necessary to integrate Spain into NATO’s military structure.
Dec. 4The Heads of State and Government of the 55 members of the OSCE
meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, sign the “Lisbon Declaration on a Common
and Comprehensive Security Model for Europe.”
Dec. 10In Brussels, NATO Foreign Ministers agree to convene a NATO summit
in Madrid in July 1997 to invite “one or more” candidates to join NATO.
Dec.17-18NATO Defense Ministers meet to review progress on reform of NATO
command structures, creation of Combined Joint Task Force
Headquarters, and plans for transition from the Implementation Force
(IFOR) to the Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia.
Dec. 20SFOR, with an 18-month mandate, takes over from IFOR in Bosnia.
Jan. 20NATO Secretary General Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister
Yevgeny Primakov open talks on NATO-Russia relations.
Feb. 18U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, participating in a special
meeting of the North Atlantic Council, proposes the creation of a NATO-
Russia council and NATO-Russia peace-keeping brigade.
March 7Secretary of Defense William Cohen, in consultations at NATO
Headquarters, confirms US intention to withdraw US forces from Bosnia
at the end of the SFOR mandate in June 1998.
March 20-21Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin, meeting in Helsinki, Finland, make
progress on Russia-NATO relationship issues.
May 27“Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security Between
NATO and the Russian Federation” is signed in Paris by Russian
President Yeltsin and NATO leaders, including US President Clinton.
May 28-30NATO Foreign Ministers, meeting in Sintra, Portugal, announce creation
of a “Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council” as a consultative framework to
accompany an enhanced PfP program and replace the North Atlantic
Cooperation Council (NACC).
June 12-13NATO Defense Ministers meet in Portugal but are unable to resolve
differences over new command structure arrangements. Secretary of
Defense Cohen announces that the United States has firmly decided to
support just three candidates (Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary)
for the first round of NATO enlargement.
June 16-17European Union leaders conclude new treaty charting future of EU.
Summit marked by serious disagreements and modest steps toward further
integration. (Enlargement talks with candidates to begin in six months.)
June 20-22Group of Eight (G-7 plus Russia) summit held in Denver.
July 8-9NATO Heads of State and Government meeting in Madrid, Spain invite
the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to begin accession talks, declare
NATO enlargement a continuing process, note that Romania and Slovenia
are well placed for the next round, and mark progress toward NATO
internal reform. They fail to complete work on NATO command structure
reform. France decides reform of NATO to date is insufficient to warrant
its full participation in NATO’s integrated command structure.