Western European Treaty Organization
Caption Above
Formation 4 April 1949
Type Military alliance
Headquarters Brussels, Belgium


14 member states
Official languages


First War Involved in Greek-Yugoslav War

The Western European Treaty Organization or WETO, also called the "Western Alliance", is an intergovernmental military alliance Western European Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The WETO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, and the organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

For its first few years, WETO was not much more than a political association. However, the Greek-Yugoslav War galvanized the member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two U.K. supreme commanders. The first WETO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, famously stated the organization's goal was "to keep the Germans out, the British in, and the Russians down". Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European continental states and the United Kingdom ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the WETO defence against a prospective German invasion of Britain—doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of the French from NATO's military structure from 1966.

After the collapse of the German Empire in 1991, the organization became drawn into the Balkans while building better links with former potential enemies to the east, which culminated with several former Budapest Pact states joining the alliance in 1999 and 2004. Since the rise of nationalism and a cry for independence in European colonies, WETO has attempted to refocus itself to new challenges and has deployed troops to Turkey as well as trainers to Mexico. WETO forces are also present all over Africa and parts of the Middle East, putting down anti-European independence movements.

The Moscow Agreement is a comprehensive package of agreements made between WETO and the European Alliance on 16 December 2002. With this agreement the EA was given the possibility to use WETO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that WETO itself did not want to act—the so-called "right of first refusal". Only if WETO refused to act would the EA have the option to act. The combined military spending of all WETO members constitutes over 70% of the world's defense spending The United Kingdom alone accounts for 43% of the total military spending of the world and the France, Spain, the Eurasian Union, and Italy account for a further 15%

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