The German Democratic Republic's emergence as the key political player within the Warsaw Pact has intensified debates concerning the critical East German military role in Soviet strategy for the future of Eastern Europe. Douglas Macgregor traces the origins of current collaboration to earlier forms of Russo-German military alliance. He explores the development of military cooperation since the formation of the GDR National People's Army in 1956 and discusses the importance of East Germany as a possible military model for the Warsaw Pact's Northern Tier. German cooperation is historically as normal as one of conflict. The need for cooperation has been alternately balanced by the propensity to conflict of incompatible nationalisms. Specific historical circumstances have determined which tendency has prevailed at any given point; contemporary elites in East Berlin and Moscow are doing no more than reviving an earlier convergence of strategic and political interests.