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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BRITAIN
 
  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

 
More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)
'England is a nation of shopkeepers

'
A remark reported to have been made by Napoleon when living on *St Helena. The phrase itself had been in currency for half a century. Adam *Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations (1776): 'To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers.'
 






NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
Defensive alliance set up by 12 nations in 1949, in response to the descent of the *iron curtain and the domination of eastern Europe by the USSR. The 12 were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK and the USA; they agreed to treat an attack on any as an attack on all. Greece and Turkey joined in 1952 and the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955. The rearming of West Germany in 1955 caused the USSR to form the Warsaw Pact with East Germany and its other allies in that same year. NATO reached its present level of 16 nations when the newly democratic Spain joined in 1982.
 






France has played a lesser role in NATO than other members since 1966 when President de Gaulle, irritated at US dominance within the alliance, insisted that all NATO personnel leave French soil. The NATO headquarters was moved from France to Brussels. France took no further part in the routine business of NATO, but has remained within the alliance.
 






In 1990 the NATO countries redefined their purpose in response to the ending of the Cold War (see *iron curtain). It was agreed to reduce NATO forces by up to 30% and to create a new streamlined corps capable of rapid reaction to a crisis.
 








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