This article explores two central features of German criminal law: its theory of crime, which posits the sole function of criminal law in the protection of (Rechtsgueter), and its theory of punishment, which justifies the criminal sanction in the name of protecting legal goods through positive general prevention (positive Generalpraevention). These aspects of German criminal law are of particular interest to Anglo-American criminal lawyers because they are widely considered to be among the signal accomplishments of German criminal law science and tackle issues that so far have escaped a satisfactory treatment in Anglo-American criminal law.

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