June 12, 1987--"Tear Down That Wall"
EmpowerU will watch one of the most famous speeches of all time 32 years after date that Ronald Reagan delivered the Brandenburg Gate speech. The Brandenburg Gate, was built between 1788 and 1791 by Prussian King Frederick William II as a key entry point to the city of Berlin. In 1987 it stood as a symbol of communism in the West when the wall went up in 1961 access to the gate now located in East Berlin was cut off.
The “Tear Down This Wall” speech was not the first time Ronald Reagan had addressed the issue of the Berlin Wall: in a visit to West Berlin in June 1982, he’d stated “I’d like to ask the Soviet leaders one question “Why is the wall there?”, and in 1986, 25 years after the construction of the wall, in response to West German newspaper Bild-Zeitung asking when he thought the wall could be “torn down”, Reagan said, “I call upon those responsible to dismantle it today.” The speech was also a source of considerable controversy within the Reagan administration itself, with several senior staffers and aides advising against the phrase, saying anything that might cause further East-West tensions or potential embarrassment to Gorbachev, with whom President Reagan had built a good relationship, should be omitted.