Focusing on the Cold War years, thismonograph examines the processes, problems, and policies through which the Federal Republic of Germany was formed and admitted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The author compares the situation of Weimar Germany during its short-lived postwar decade with that of the Federal Republic by applying geopolitical concepts and theory, illustrating Germany’s territorial uniqueness and how that special aspect of its place on the European continent in?uenced the nation’s diplomacy in both eras.
During the late 1940s and the 1950s, the problem presented by Germany to the other NATO allies was how to secure and maintain the Federal Republic’s allegiance to the anticommunist alliance without eliminating the country’s desire to be reunited with its Soviet-dominated eastern section. How both NATO and Germany managed to maintain themselves in a state of dynamic equilibrium throughout the era of the Cold War illustrates the concept of international organization called “cooptation,” which Lyman helped to de?ne and expand.
The epilogue explores the larger issues that the case study illuminates: global space, national territorialization, collective identity, and ethnocentrism. Considering the current con?ict in the Balkans as it relates to the new Germany and the role of NATO, this far-reaching book is especially relevant with its suggestions for a basic supranational sociology.