Ronald Reagan Speech and the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Ronald Reagan – Tear Down This Wall
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area, known as the “death strip”, that contained anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defenses. The Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.
On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, then the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to tear down the wall as a symbol of increasing freedom in the Eastern Bloc.
On November 9, 1989, thousands of East Germans began gathering at the wall, demanding that border guards immediately open its gates. The surprised and overwhelmed guards made many hectic telephone calls to their superiors about the problem, but it became clear that no one among the East German authorities would take personal responsibility for issuing orders to use lethal force, so the vastly outnumbered soldiers had no way to hold back the huge crowd of East German citizens. In face of the growing crowd, the guards finally yielded, and the people started tearing down the wall.