President Ronald Reagan: Tear Down This Wall!

Avatar English Speeches |

Learn English with Free Podcasts

President Ronald Reagan: Tear Down This Wall!

Learn English with Ronald Reagan. President Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech marked his visit to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on June 12, 1987, following the G7 summit meeting in Venice. As Reagan spoke, his words were amplified to both sides of the Berlin Wall, reaching both East and West Germans. The President noted recent Soviet progress toward “a new policy of reform and openness,” but wondered, “Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it?” Reagan declared that the Berlin Wall offered the Soviets and their president, Mikhail Gorbachev, an opportunity to make a “sign” of their sincerity and “advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.” The “sign” Reagan proposed was simple: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”. Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989 and became a highly influential voice of modern conservatism. – Watch with big English subtitles.


English Speeches also makes this content available for download


Download this Speech in PDF and/or MP3 audio file:

President Ronald Reagan Quote:

Ronald Reagan Quote: Dreams do come true. It takes a lot of work. But it can happen.

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan – FULL TRANSCRIPT:

“Thank you very much. Chancellor Kohl, Governing Mayor Diepgen, ladies and gentlemen: Twenty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy visited Berlin, speaking to the people of this city and the world at the city hall. Well, since then two other presidents have come, each in his turn, to Berlin. And today I, myself, make my second visit to your city.

We come to Berlin, we American Presidents, because it’s our duty to speak, in this place, of freedom. But I must confess, we’re drawn here by other things as well: by the feeling of history in this city, more than 500 years older than our own nation; by the beauty of the Grunewald and the Tiergarten; most of all, by your courage and determination. Perhaps the composer, PaulLincke, understood something about American Presidents. You see, like so many Presidents before me, I come here today because wherever I go, whatever I do: “Ich hab noch einen kofferin Berlin.” [I still have a suitcase in Berlin.]

Our gathering today is being broadcast throughout Western Europe and North America. I understand that it is being seen and heard as well in the East. To those listening throughout Eastern Europe, I extend my warmest greetings and the goodwill of the American people. To those listening in East Berlin, a special word: Although I cannot be with you, I address my remarks to you just as surely as to those standing here before me. For I join you, as I join your fellow countrymen in the West, in this firm, this unalterable belief: Es gibt nur ein Berlin. [There is only one Berlin.]

Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. From the Baltic, south, those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete, dog runs, and guard towers. Farther south, there may be no visible, no obvious wall. But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same–still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state. Yet it is here in Berlin where the wall emerges most clearly; here, cutting across your city, where the news photo and the television screen have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world. Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar.

President von Weizsacker has said: “The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed.” Today I say: As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. Yet I do not come here to lament. For I find in Berlin a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph.

In this season of spring in 1945, the people of Berlin emerged from their air-raid shelters to find devastation. Thousands of miles away, the people of the United States reached out to help. And in 1947 Secretary of State–as you’ve been told-George Marshall announced the creation of what would become known as the Marshall plan. Speaking precisely 40 years ago this month, he said: “Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.”

In the Reichstag a few moments ago, I saw a display commemorating this 40th anniversary of the Marshall plan. I was struck by the sign on a burnt-out, gutted structure that was being rebuilt. I understand that Berliners of my own generation can remember seeing signs like it dotted throughout the Western sectors of the city. The sign read simply: “The Marshall Plan is helping here to strengthen the free world.” A strong, free world in the West, that dream became real. Japan rose from ruin to become an economic giant. Italy, France, Belgium–virtually every nation in Western Europe saw political and economic rebirth; the European Community was founded.

Read More

President Ronald Reagan


Written by English Speeches