In Germany’s Capitals, Cold War Memories and Imperial GhostsBreaking News
BERLIN — Just 20 years ago, German lawmakers hunkered down for a passionate 10-hour debate to make a decision that seemed as momentous as it was a no-brainer: Should the capital of the newly reunified country remain where it was — in Bonn on the Rhine — or move back to its historic, eastern location on the Spree, amid the monuments and mixed memories of Berlin?...
[I]n 1991, Bonn’s provincialism seemed a plus, not a minus. Some Germans believed that a move back to Berlin — the old imperial capital, Hitler’s capital — would coax forth the ghosts of Prussian militarism, of centralized rule after decades of federalism that had assuaged the fears of neighbors to the east and the west and of Germans themselves. Worse still, the argument went, the blossoming of Berlin as the capital of reunified Germany would spell stagnation for poor Bonn.
So when the vote came down — 337 for Berlin and 320 for Bonn — it seemed surprisingly narrow and, most of all, counterintuitive. Yet, since then, virtually every other cataclysmic forecast has been just as wrong.
“There has been no new Wilhelm-ism,” wrote columnist Eckhard Fuhr in Die Welt, referring to the last German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, “and the centralized castration of German federalism has not happened.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- Smithsonian launches campaign to raise $10 million for women’s history initiative
- Trump Was Not Always So Linguistically Challenged
- 75th anniversary of the World War 2 black uprising that the American public never heard about
- Longest serving governor in U.S. history to resign after confirmation as Trump's ambassador to China
- Did the First Human Ancestor Emerge in Europe, Not Africa?
- Jill Lepore: Americans Aren't Just Divided Politically, They're Divided Over History Too
- AHA joins protest of Trump’s plan for drastic cuts to the NEH
- Diane Ravitch says the Democrats paved the way for the education secretary's efforts to privatize our public schools
- Mark Moyar explains why he came to believe the Vietnam War was winnable
- How should Texas high schoolers learn history?