This article discusses how the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) overcame the challenged posed by France in the mid to late 1960s. French President Charles de Gaulle's decision to withdraw France's remaining forces from NATO's integrated military commands, and his visit to Moscow shortly thereafter, exposed the alliance to unprecedented tension. Yet as NATO moved toward a crisis, opportunities arose to define a new vision for the alliance in a time of détente. Trilateral talks among the United States, Britain, and the Federal Republic of Germany forged a consensus on strategy, force levels, burden sharing, and nuclear consultation a consensus that was endorsed by the other member-states. The Harmel exercise in 1967 restored NATO's political purpose, expanding its political role as an instrument of peace. By 1968 NATO had evolved into a less hierarchical military alliance of fourteen and a more political and participatory alliance offifteen (including France). This successful transformation of NATO moved the process of détente from the bilateral superpower accommodation of 1963 to the multilateral European rapprochement of the 1970s.

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