The ghost of Central Europe is back to haunt the lands of what used to be known as "real socialism." The rediscovery of Central Europe is more than nostalgia for a lost innocence, more than "the invention of a tradition." The implications of Bela Bartok insights might help explain the explosion of intellectual and artistic creativity in Central Europe since the turn of the century. With the other nations of Central Europe the Germans share a similar pattern of nation building: they are a Kulturnation in search of a political identity. The end of the Yalta system implies the symmetrical decay of the two alliances and the overcoming of the partition of Europe and of Germany. But it leaves open the question of what is to come in its stead: a new Central Europe as a community of nations between Germany and Russia or a new version of Mitteleuropa as a German sphere of influence.