HQs in France:
NATO: A short history
It is often said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. This is only partially true. In fact, the Alliance’s creation was part of a broader effort to serve three purposes: deterring Soviet expansionism, forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent, and encouraging European political integration....The aftermath of World War II saw much of Europe devastated in a way that is now difficult to envision...In addition, Communists backed by the Soviet Union were threatening governments across Europe...US-funded Marshall Plan and other means fostered a degree of economic stabilisation. European states still needed confidence in their security...the North Atlantic Treaty was signed on 4 April, 1949...with Article 5, the key to the alliance, new Allies agreed “an armed attack against one or more of them… shall be considered an attack against them all” and that following such an attack, each Ally would take “such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force” in response.... While the signing of the Treaty created Allies, it had not created a military structure that could effectively coordinate their actions. This changed when growing worries about Soviet intentions culminated in the Soviet detonation of an atomic bomb in 1949 and in the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. The effect upon the Alliance was dramatic.
NATO soon gained a consolidated command structure with military Headquarters based in the Parisian suburb of Rocquencourt, near Versailles. This was Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) with US General Dwight D. Eisenhower the first Supreme Allied Commander Europe, or SACEUR. Soon after, the Allies established a permanent civilian secretariat in Paris...