June 12, 1987 : Reagan Challenges Gorbachev to Tear Down Berlin Wall

Originally from Baltimore, Oliver lives and writes on a quiet, tree-lined street in Brooklyn.
berlin_wall
A demonstrator pounds away the Berlin Wall. (Photo: Reuters Pictures).

West Berlin, 1987. With the Cold War waning, President Reagan speaks to a West German crowd against the backdrop of the Berlin Wall. 
 
"Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace—if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe—if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate," appealed Reagan.

"Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

It would be one of Reagan's most famous Cold War speeches. In addition to tearing down the wall, he called for Gorbachev to continue negotiations on nuclear arms reductions, demonstrating that he was serious about thawing US-Soviet relations after nearly 40 years of Cold War tensions.

Two years later, on November 9, 1989, the wall was torn down.

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