Difference between UN and NATO

Key difference: The UN is an international organization which was created to keep the peace between nations and help create international law and cooperation. NATO is a military and political alliance of different countries which was created to counter Soviet and Communist power.

UN stands for ‘United Nations’, whereas NATO stands for ‘North Atlantic Treaty Organization’. Both the organizations are completely different from each other. They both aim for peace and prosperity, international law and security, and the accomplishment of world peace. Both the organizations work hard to accomplish their goals.

The United Nations (UN) is an international government organization which was created to promote international cooperation. It was founded in 1945 and had 51 states as its members; the number has considerably increased to 198 members.

According to Wikipedia, the United Nations has its headquarters in the international territory within New York City, with other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. It is financed by assessed and voluntary contribution from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.

The UN’s primary mandate is peacekeeping. Its system is based on five principal parts:

  • The General Assembly - the main deliberative assembly
  • The Security Council - for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security
  • The Economic and Social Council - for promoting international economic and social co-operation and development
  • The Secretariat - for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN
  • The International Court of Justice - the primary judicial organ

This organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 2001. A number of its officers and other agencies have also been awarded with the honor. 

The term NATO stands for ‘North Atlantic Treaty Organization’. It is an international government military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty. This treaty was signed on 4th April 1949 and is also known as the Atlantic Alliance.

NATO has 28 member states. They have their main headquarters in Brussels, Belgium; there are also offices in Albania and Croatia. This organization constitutes a system of collective defense, and its member states agree to a mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

It is an integrated military structure built under the direction of two U.S. supreme commanders. The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries, military liaison offices and civilian officers and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of the member states. Its primary committees are:

  • Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
  • Defense and Security Committee
  • Economics and Security Committee
  • Political Committee
  • Science and Technology Committee

NATO is a war defensive organization. It is committed to the principle of collective defense. It believes that an attack against one or several members is an attack against all. The countries in the NATO are in a political and military alliance towards self defense and maintaining peace so to build trust and prevent conflict, and keep the safety of the countries. It protects the security of its members. In this age of globalization, transatlantic peace is a viable and a worldwide effort that extends beyond the might of military.

Comparison between UN and NATO:




Full form

It stands for ‘United Nations’.

It stands for ‘North Atlantic Treaty Organization’.

Established in

October 1945

April 1949


To keep peace between nations.

To counter soviet and communist power.


The assembly solves problems in economy, international relationships, may advise leaders in times of crisis.

It is a smaller group of nations organized to maintain peace and order in the Atlantic.


New York City, USA

Brussels, Belgium


198 states

28 states

Image Courtesy: peacewomen.org, ddesignerr.com

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