STATE VS. NATION State, as we know today is a political term, which could be define as an institution that organises and makes countries or nations being governed. We could add to this definition that state as institution is a need of society at a certain stage of development to control and to enforce society into a common will. The state has legitimated the use of force over a given territory to enforce laws. The state is founded on the power of its military.
Therefore, a strong military is vital to maintaining the state As well as we are part of society at the time we are born, we are, or we belong to a state. It's an assumption of the human beings. We belong to a society either we like it or not and therefore we belong to a state as well. At the end of the Word Ward II, the Word powers divided Europe in what we could call one nation, one state, with one common language, one religion and same culture. However it didn't work for all the nations across Europe.
Yugoslavia, is a clear example of different cultural identities. In the case of France, Spain, Portugal or Italy the state and nation is a typical model of state and nation overlapped. At this point we can talk about different types of states. Today the regular way to look at nations is as Nation-state. In other words, a state usually is a nation where states' citizens should identify with the nation and society where they live. But this is not the only structure of a state.
We can talk about a nation with no state, for instance the nation of East Timor, which is neither the state of Indonesia. Other possibility is in the sense of a single state with two or more nations, as for example Czechoslovakia, which consisted of two nations within the jurisdiction of a single state. On the other hand, Germany between 1945 and 1989 is a good example of a single nation formed onto two states. A nation can exist without territory of its own, as th Jews existed following the Diaspora. Other examples are groups of nomads with aspirations toward sovereignty, as for instance the people of Western Sahara in Africa.
Now I will define nation. Where state is the political order and structure of a society, nation is the social term for a group of people sharing a common language (or dialects of a common language), with common customs and traditions, which may become sufficient to join those people toward common goals, interests and a single sovereignty. We could say that there is a unity among those three things. In short, from the social point of view, physical territory is not mandatory for a group of people with aspirations toward sovereignty over a piece of land, example, the Kurd people of Northern Iraq and Turkey, or many groups of nationalists in Europe as the Basques in Spain.