Sunday 8 November 2015

Ronald Reagan's Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate

After the Second World War ended, Germany was divided into East and West Germany.  The city of Berlin was divided down the centre by a wall, to mark the communist East, and the democratic West. Six million Berliners escaped from East to West before the Berlin Wall was built.  The entire continent of Europe was divided by a figurative Iron Curtain; land to the east of the curtain was controlled by the communist Soviet Union while land to the west was democratic.

North American leaders, particularly American leaders, spoke out against the Berlin Wall.  President Kennedy visited the city in 1963 shouting "Ich bin ein Berliner".  President Reagan visited Berlin in 1987.  His speech, punctuated with the words "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", left its mark. Only two and a half years later, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down (see

Here is an excerpt from his speech:

"We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.  There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.  General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.  Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.  Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" (

ronald reagan speech 1987 berlin wall brandenburg gate

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