The Atlantic Alliance: A View from the Pentagon
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC
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On last Veterans Day I joined in honoring those who have served the Nation in uniform. In cities and towns across North America and Europe, we also commemorated the 80th anniversary of the end of World War I. A veteran who had been on the front on November 11, 1918, described the moment when the guns fell silent how men on both sides slowly, cautiously lifted their heads, how for the first time in four years they were able to stand up outside their squalid trenches. But in the years that followed, that hopeful moment of peace was lost by leaders who failed to realize their common destiny and the need for free people to stand up and to defend one another. As a result, a quarter century after the end of World War I, Europe faced an even more terrible conflict and a shadow was once again falling over the continent. But in the wake of World War II the West responded before it was too late. By establishing NATO, we finally embraced collective defense, a concept that has been at the core of our transatlantic partnership for fifty years.
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