NATO in the First Generation, 1950-1967
The linking of the two continents through NATO did not guarantee satisfaction with every aspect of the alliance as far as Europeans were concerned. As noted, there was resentment over the terms of military assistance, particularly bilateral arrangements extracted from the beneficiaries at the same time that the donor was asking for multilateral obligations from Europeans. Nor were the European partners pleased with the shape of the strategic concept, which was mandated by the Mutual Defense Assistance Act as a prerequisite for release of U.S. funds. The United States would contribute strategic airpower, while the allies would serve as foot soldiers in a future war.
Arguably, the most serious division between Europe and America in the first year developed over defense plans devised earlier by the Joint Chiefs of Staff that would effectively abandon Europe in the first phase of a war. Even when this short-term plan was discarded, the allies had reservations about the medium-term defense plan, which was approved in April 1950 and scheduled for completion by 1954. The revised plan placed the defense line at the Rhine, a considerable improvement over its predecessor. But it was not good enough. The Dutch were understandably concerned about a defense plan that left the right bank of the Rhine outside NATO's protection. A stand at the Rhine would not suffice; it would have to be moved eastward to the Elbe at least, particularly when the status of West Germany was at stake.
If Germany was an issue in the formation of NATO, a conspiracy of silence obscured it. To suggest inviting Germans into an alliance only four