For decades after the atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War II, Germans had trouble defining themselves as a nation. But the arrival of hundreds of thousands of newcomers appears to have thrust the country into a new, full-fledged identity crisis.

Recently, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière listed 10 Martin Luther-style "theses" on what all Germans have — or should have — in common. The article published by the German daily Bild sparked a heated debate about the controversial term "leitkultur" ("guiding culture" or "leading culture").

Along with less-controversial qualities, such as the typically German trait of valuing education not simply as a means to an end, the interior minister seemed to suggest that Muslim newcomers should be willing to adapt to local customs.

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