It’s 50 years ago today that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. But only 6 months previously he had been in Berlin making his famous speech about freedom. I thought it would be interesting to look at a few famous words spoken about the Berlin Wall.
On 15 June 1961 Walter Ulbricht, the leader of East Germany’s ruling Socialist Unity Party, said:
Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten.
No one has any intention of building a wall.
Two months later the Berlin Wall appeared!
On 26 June 1963 the US President, John F. Kennedy, made a speech in West Berlin about freedom. It brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it. Here’s the best bit:
Then on 12 June 1987 President Ronald Reagan made a stirring speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate:
I find the reaction of the West Berlin crowds to both speeches extremely moving. Just under two and a half years after Reagan’s challenge to Gorbachev, the Berlin Wall came down.