As NATO leaders meet to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the military alliance's founding, Deutsche Welle looks at the organization's history, its current operations and future challenges.
Started as a group of nations committed to a system of mutual defense, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has grown from a political association to a major player in peacekeeping missions around the world.
NATO's first secretary-general, Lord Ismay, said the alliance's reason for being was "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down." Sixty years after the organization was formed on April 4, 1949, the Russians are still out, the Americans are still in but the Germans are far from down.
Deutsche Welle looks at the NATO's past, its current operations and the challenges facing the alliance in the 21st century.