Remarks on East-West Relations at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, June 12, 1987

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June 12, 1987

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The Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall separate Berlin into East and West. In spite of the changes that are going on in Communist countries, especially the Soviet Union, that wall is a reminder of the difference between freedom and totalitarianism. The people of East Berlin are walled in with barbed wire and booby-trapped explosives.

Our advance people had put up speakers aimed at East Berlin, hoping that my speech might be heard on the other side. I could see the East German police keeping people away so that they couldn’t hear. They simply don’t realize it’s going to take more than that to keep out the stirrings of freedom.

There’s a couple sentences in this speech about tearing down the wall and opening the gate that I like quite a bit, and it actually makes the speech. I’m told that the State Department and the National Security Council thought the lines were too provocative.

Just because our relationship with the Soviet Union is improving doesn’t mean we have to begin denying the truth. That is what got us into such a weak position with the Soviet Union in the first place. The line stayed and got quite a reaction from the crowd.

- Ronald Reagan -