This Day in History: June 12, 1987 President Ronald Reagan stood by the Brandenburg Gate alongside the Berlin Wall and addressed the people of West Berlin.

Knowing his words could be heard on the other side of a wall which separated East from West.

An evocative scene and a rousing speech but one appreciated more in retrospect.

It had very little coverage in the media of the time, and was delivered to an audience of 45,000, one tenth of the number who in 1963 Berlin had listened to JFK.

The Reagan presidency did help towards the opening of the inner German frontier and later the collapse of the Soviet Union, as his changes to U.S. foreign policy toward Moscow challenged, amongst other things, that the existence of a Berlin Wall was inevitable and also emphasized that a situation which demanded coexistence with Eastern Europe's totalitarian regimes was not acceptable.

However it was Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union, who by advocating Perestroika (restructuring), Glasnost (opening) and Uskorenie (acceleration), and moving towards thawing relations between the United States and the USSR, which together with his reforms and the mass demonstrations that took place within East Germany, played the most significant role in the ultimate fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

Last edited by Francine - German Culture; 06/12/13 07:43 PM.

Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.