When did Spain join NATO?

On June 1980, the then Government of Adolfo Suarez confirmed his intention to engage in talks for the entry of Spain as a member country of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Then, he would meet the firm opposition of the Communist Party of Spain led by Santiago Carrillo, and the PSOE, already championed by Felipe Gonzalez. However, two years later and with the approval of Parliament, the incorporation of our country into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would take place, specifically on May 30, 1982. Subsequently, one of the most political moments would take place. remembered from the transition: the referendum that was held on March 12, 1986 to remain or not within the structure.

Spanish incorporation

After the October 1982 elections, talks on the matter were suspended, thus opening a period of social and political reflection. The question of military entry into this organization had raised the rejection of a large part of society and members of the political sphere. It would not be until three years and a few months later, on January 31, 1986, when the Government of Felipe González (PSOE) would call a referendum to decide whether our country would unite.

The controversy was served, since González himself had defended in the opposition the non-entry of Spain, while at that time and from the Government he defended it with certain nuances, such as non-incorporation into the military structure, the prohibition of introducing nuclear weapons in Spain and the gradual removal of US bases in our territory. The change of position cost Felipe González the resignation of his Foreign Minister, Fernando Moran, who was in favor of not remaining in the alliance.

The other part of the controversy would come with the question asked in the referendum (Do you consider it convenient for Spain to remain in the Atlantic Alliance in the terms agreed by the Government of the Nation?), which many understood as biased in order to vote yes, the option defended by the Government. Despite having the polls against it, it seems that González’s threat to resign if he lost the referendum, overturned the results and the Yes ended up prevailing with a 56.85% and a 59.42% stake.

11 years later, in 1997, José María Aznar incorporated our country into the military structure of NATO, in breach of the first part of the agreement. The second precept would be amended allowing Spain to store nuclear weapons from the United States on Spanish soil.

Origins of NATO

Four years after the end of World War II, there was a certain fear in Western Europe of the expansive policy that was being carried out from Moscow. Countries such as France and the United Kingdom, which two years earlier had signed the Treaty of Dunkirk to provide mutual assistance in the event of a new German attack and an attempted Soviet attack, they transferred the fear to their allies from the old continent on the ground that the USSR was gaining. There was little hope that a – still precarious – United Nations could keep the peace in the event of a Soviet attack. Therefore, it was decided to expand the agreement between the French and the British in 1948, and they included in the Treaty, which would now be Brussels, to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General (BigStock)

Events like the prague coup, in which the Communist Party came to power in Czechoslovakia, or the threats to the sovereignty of Norway, Greece or Turkey by the Soviet side, did not stop alerting the rest of the European countries, even more so after the march after the war of the American and Canadian soldiers . For this reason, the United Kingdom made efforts so that in 1949, with the creation of NATO, USA was a member, something that in the North American country did not finish with good eyes, since they did not see the advantages that this treaty provided to them in terms of security.

The United States was joined by Canada and by the Americans and Europeans it was decided to invite Denmark, Portugal, Italy and Iceland to these negotiations, so that the April 4, 1949 the Treaty of Washington was signed, which would be the beginning of NATO.