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Nothing puts a spring in the step and a twinkle in the eye like a good dose of ye olde freedom.
The Western world knows this, and its steps are springier than ever. In fact, life in the West is just one big economic party, and it's getting bigger every day. And Reagan's come here to Berlin to stand in front of the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall and talk about it. He gives mad props to West Berlin for all the progress it's made since being all bombed up in World War II, and he brags a bit about how awesome it is to be a Westerner.
But every party needs a pooper. For Reagan, that pooper is the Soviet Union and its buzzkilling communist ways.
After badmouthing communism for a few, though, Reagan shares several ideas on how the East and West could bring some romance back into their relationship. The most popular idea he has is for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall (the crowd really gets behind that one).
Reagan couldn't have known it then, but his call to Gorbachev would be answered. Two years after this speech was delivered, the Berlin Wall came down.
Party on, Berlin.
This speech is clearly an example of Western Cold War propaganda aimed at an Eastern audience.
This speech is an accurate portrayal of the differences between Eastern and Western nations during the 1980s.
It's 1987, and the Cold War has the world roughly divided into two camps: the Eastern communists and the Western capitalists. U.S. President Ronald Reagan was scheduled to make a brief trip to West Berlin and speak in front of the Berlin Wall; he knew his remarks would be heard by Westerners as well as many Easterners, and his speechwriter, Peter Robinson, worded the speech accordingly.
The rest is speech-making history.
The "Speech at the Berlin Wall," or "Tear Down This Wall!" as it's known to its friends, mainly addressed four topics.
First, it underlined the United States' support for West Berlin. Second, and most popularly, it urged Gorbachev to, well, tear down the Berlin Wall. This wasn't just an appeal to remove the physical wall itself, but to also remove the invisible-but-no-less-real divide the wall represented between the West and the East. Third, this speech outlined specific ways in which the Eastern and Western worlds could improve their relationship and make nicey-nice.
Finally, this speech delivered a message of freedom and prosperity, and it delivered it not only to the West, but also to any Easterners who were listening. (Clever.) Every word of a presidential speech is worried over, reviewed, edited, and subject to approval before it is delivered; this speech, though delivered to an audience of West Berliners and Western supporters, was also carefully crafted for its Eastern audience, those behind the Iron Curtain.
Reagan gets up in front of a German landmark and basically says, loud enough for the whole wide world to hear, that the Berlin Wall is stupid, communism is a big fat fail, and freedom is the answer to every question ever asked.