NATO's Strategy Documents from the Cold War
During the mid-1990s NATO declassified all of its Cold War strategy documents, and in 1997 the SHAPE Historian along with the Archives Unit of the International Staff published this important piece of Alliance history as NATO Strategy Documents, 1949-1969
. Along with the actual strategy documents (known as Strategic Concepts) ranging from MC 3 of 1949 through MC 14/3 of 1968, there are the more detailed "Measures to Implement the Strategic Concept" ending with MC 48/3 in 1969, and an essay by the SHAPE Historian describing the "Evolution of NATO Strategy". The final Cold War strategy documents - MC 14/3 and MC 48/3 - remained valid and highly classified for more than two decades before finally being replaced by NATO's first post-Cold War Strategic Concept in 1991, so the public release of these documents just a few years after they had ceased being valid was a revolutionary step for NATO and a sign of the Alliance's post-Cold War openness policy. The entire book of NATO Strategy Documents 1949-1969
is available from the NATO Headquarters website (click on the title to go to the book).
Reference Papers Prepared by the SHAPE Historical Office
Over the years the SHAPE Historian has prepared a number of unclassified papers on subjects such as the evolution of the Alliance's command structure, changes in the staff structure of SHAPE Headquarters, or even an analysis of claims by a former SHAPE servicemember that NATO prepared a top secret report during the 1960s on the threat posed by UFOs, a paper we prepared in response to numerous requests from the public and the media for this alleged document. We have also prepared a complete list (with short description) of all operations carried out by NATO since the beginning of the Alliance, which actually means since the end of the Cold War because prior to that time, the Alliance's focus was on planning and preparing for the defense of the NATO area. It is important for readers to note that the views expressed in these papers are solely those of the author and should not be seen as official positions of SHAPE or NATO.
To read a paper, click on its title below:
Audiovisual Material on NATO and SHAPE/ACO History
For additional material on NATO's history, including historic documentary films, see the "NATO Declassified
" section of the NATO Headquarters website.