Germany – 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
THUNDER BAY – In 1989 in Berlin, the symbol of the Cold War started to come crashing down. The wall which had been erected to keep the people of Berlin from escaping to the west was erected in September 1961.
The symbolism of the wall made it a focal point for American Presidents.
As the wall, known in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) as the “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart” (German: Antifaschistischer Schutzwall) was seen as the ultimate in what the lack of freedom behind the Iron Curtain was all about.
President John F. Kennedy visited Berlin on the 26th of June in 1963.
The youthful American President, spoke to an audience of almost half a million people. Kennedy spoke from a platform that had been erected on the steps of Rathaus Schöneberg.
“Ich bin ein Berliner” – President Kennedy
The speech became known as Kennedy’s Ich bin ein Berliner speech. The President was expressing American support for West Germany and especially for the people of West-Berlin.
“Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum [“I am a Roman citizen”],” said Kennedy. “Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!”
Tear Down This Wall – President Reagan
On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan was in Berlin to celebrate the 750th birthday of the German city.
“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,” the President orated. “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!”
The Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is being celebrated in Germany this week.
by DW (English)