Even at the more informal level of political culture, western Germans did not expect easterners to contribute any democratic values, despite their experience as the authors of Germany’s only successful democratic revolution (and a peaceful one at that). If anything, it was assumed, they would require democratic re-education within the systematically transferred framework of the Federal Republic’s provisional constitutional order. While Jürgen Habermas labelled the collapse of communism a ‘nachholende [catch-up] Revolution’ (Habermas 1990), the well-known political scientist Kurt Sontheimer (1990: 87) wrote that East German political culture would not be a factor ‘that could independently influence the political culture of the Federal Republic’; instead, the revolution had ‘left behind a political and intellectual vacuum that [would] now be progressively filled from the West’. Such self-satisfied western arguments resurfaced the following year during the so-called capital city debate (Hauptstadtdebatte) in the Bundestag, which led to a narrow vote in favour of moving unified Germany’s seat of government from Bonn to Berlin. The proponents of Bonn invoked the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it argument, claiming that Bonn’s quiet provincialism had played a key role in fostering the Federal Republic’s pacific, Atlanticist, pro-European democratic culture, whereas Berlin backers argued that precisely because the

democratic credentials of the Bonn Republic were so well grounded, something as cosmetic as a move to Berlin could not shake them. Berlin would be neither Weimar nor even Bonn plus Pankow: Berlin would be Bonn – with a bit of harmless historical memory and metropolitan flair thrown in.