How To Open The Berlin Wall

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Built in 1961, the Berlin Wall became known as a symbol of communist oppression.[3] In the 1963 "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, U.S. President John F. Kennedy stated the support of the United States for democratic West Germany shortly after the Soviet-supported Communist state of East Germany erected the Berlin Wall as a barrier to prevent movement from East to West.[4] President Reagan's 1987 visit was his second within five years. It came at a time of heightened East-West tensions, caused in particular by the debate over the stationing of short range American missiles in Europe and the United States' record peacetime defense buildup.[5] Reagan was scheduled to attend the 1987 G-7 summit meeting in Venice, Italy, and later made a brief stop in Berlin.[6] The Brandenburg Gate site was chosen to highlight the President's conviction that Western democracy offered the best hope to open the Berlin Wall.[2] His speech focused on a series of political initiatives to achieve this end. The famous "tear down this wall" phrase was intended as the logical conclusion of the President's proposals. As the speech was being drafted, inclusion of the words became a source of considerable controversy within the Reagan administration. Several senior staffers and aides advised against the phrase, saying anything that might cause further East-West tensions or potential embarrassment to Gorbachev, with whom President Reagan had…show more content…
Dolan gives another account of the line's origins, however, attributing it directly to Reagan. In an article published in the Wall Street Journal in November 2009, Dolan gives a detailed account of how in an Oval Office meeting that was prior to Robinson's draft Reagan came up with the line on his own. He records vivid impressions of his own reaction and Robinson's at the time.[8] This led to a friendly exchange of letters between Robinson and Dolan over their differing accounts, which the Wall Street Journal
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