Primary Source

Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate


On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered a major speech on the Cold War with the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall as a back drop. Since the end of World War II, Berlin had been one of the main symbols of the Cold War. In staging this speech, President Reagan hoped to draw a parallel with the historic speech delivered in Berlin by President John F. Kennedy in July 1963. It was in this speech that President Kennedy spoke the famous phrase: "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." In Reagan's speech, he not only identified himself as a fellow Berliner, but challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, who was seen by the West increasingly as the driving force behind reform in Eastern Europe, saying: "Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

To view just the excerpt of the speech in which President Reagan makes his famous statement about tearing down the Berlin Wall, click here.

This source is a part of the Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate teaching module.

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"Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate," in World History Commons, [accessed February 22, 2024]