Study Guide

Ich bin ein Berliner Speech Timeline

By John F. Kennedy

Timeline

May 2, 1945

Battle of Berlin Ends

The Red Army of the USSR accepts the surrender of the remaining Nazi forces in Berlin. The U.S. Army hurries toward Berlin so they can try to make capturing the city look like a group effort.

May 8, 1945

V-E Day

News of Germany's complete surrender reaches the U.S., causing Americans to celebrate Victory in Europe Day. The USSR decides to celebrate on May 9th due to their constant need to be difficult.

June 24, 1948

Berlin Blockade Begins

The USSR blocks entry into West Berlin, cutting off roads, railways, and canals, but apparently forgetting that airplanes use none of those things.

May 12, 1949

Berlin Blockade Ends

The USSR reopens entry points into Berlin. Their plan of thwarting the other allied nations has failed, due to the ongoing existence of air travel, forcing the Soviets to reconsider how they can be more of a nuisance in the future.

December 11, 1957

Leaving East Germany is Forbidden

In an attempt to halt the growing problem of people fleeing East Germany, leaving was outlawed. The huge number of educated professionals leaving the east, dubbed the "Brain Drain," compounded the problem.

August 13, 1961

West Berlin is Fully Enclosed

Construction on the wall starts as West Berlin is completely surrounded by Eastern forces, providing tension for claustrophobes, and a vast workspace for street artists (in West Berlin).

June 26, 1963

Kennedy Delivers his "Ich bin ein Berliner" Speech

The U.S. president uses the Berlin Wall as a demonstration of the evils of communism and as an excuse to try out a little German vocabulary.

November 22, 1963

Kennedy is Assassinated

Never getting to see the Berlin Wall come down, Kennedy is shot dead in Dallas, Texas. He was killed not by the USSR, but by some random guy with unclear motives.

November 4, 1989

Pro-Democracy Demonstrations in East Berlin

Protests calling for an end to the communist rule grow to their peak and force the East German government to disband. Similar events are taking place in other communist nations including the USSR.

November 9, 1989

Destruction of the Wall Begins

Berliners celebrate their newly unified city and nation by drinking champagne and breaking chucks of concrete off the wall as very heavy souvenirs.