The end of Germany’s division gave Europe an impetus to overcome the larger division between East and West. This map shows the expansion of NATO, formerly a Western defense system, into Central and Eastern Europe. In two waves of expansion – in 1999 and 2004 – Germany's immediate eastern neighbors, Poland and the Czech Republic, joined NATO, along with eight neighboring lands to the north- and southeast. In the process, Germany's Cold War role as frontier zone between East and West changed decisively. Today, Germany's new mission is to serve as a link between East and West.
Please click on print version (below) for a larger version with enhanced resolution.