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. This map reflects the waves and incremental steps of expansion after the end of the Cold War. 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. Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, as well as North Macedonia joined in 2009, 2017, as well as 2020. The latest NATO member is Finland, which joined in 2023, following Russia's February 24 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Sweden joined in 2024, after the completion of this map. 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.

NATO’s Eastward Expansion (2023)


Source: Original cartography by IEG-MAPS, Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz, A. Kunz, 2004. Revised cartography (WCAG-compliant) by Gabriel Moss, 2023.