The Federal Republic of Germany's economic relations with Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union have been determined by its special geographical and political place in Europe. One half of a divided nation, West Germany depends on the United States for its security and on the USSR for its continued relationship with the German Democratic Republic. This complex and at times contradictory political framework has shaped the development of Germany's postwar economic contacts with a region with which it had close historical trade ties, closer than those of any other West European nation. Today's CMEA nations are Germany's traditional trading partners, and this legacy of economic interdependence has predisposed Bonn toward encouraging economic relations with the East for purely economic reasons. Yet political factors – particularly the need to comply with U.S. policy – for twenty years limited the degree to which Bonn could pursue these commercial ties.