Present-day Germany is a society in which culture enjoys high status: theatres and libraries are generously (even if with difficulty) subsidised by governments; the utterances of Günter Grass receive far more attention than those of any British or American writer could expect in their countries. It can also claim to be one of the world’s most successful democracies and economies, with a prudent foreign policy that has largely avoided the military involvements of some other Western nations. Kultur and associated concepts provide a set of threads linking the Germany of today to its conflicted past.