On this day on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan’s call to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down the Berlin Wall” became widely considered a defining moment of the Reagan presidency, according to Stanford University.
The line, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” also came to be a profound statement of the 1980s.
President Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech was made following the G7 summit meeting in Venice.
“Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar.”
Reagan went on, “As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind.”
He added, “Gen. Secretary 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.”
Said Reagan, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” as the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration has recounted.
President Ronald Reagan, making his famous challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down the Berlin Wall,” on June 12, 1987. (Getty Images)
For nearly three decades, Berlin was divided not just by ideology — but by a concrete barrier that was a bleak symbol of the Cold War, stated National Geographic.
The Berlin Wall was “erected in haste and torn down in protest.”
“The story of the Berlin Wall is one of division and repression, but also of the yearning for freedom — and the events that led up to its toppling are no exception,” says the same source.
After President Reagan gave his famous 1987 speech declaring, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” — it was not Mr. Gorbachev but the German people who finally tore down the barrier on Nov. 9, 1989. (Dirck Halstead/Getty Images)
“Less than three years after President Reagan’s personal demand to General Secretary Gorbachev, the wall was in fact torn down,” David Trulio, president and CEO of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, told Fox News Digital.
A piece of the wall “is now an inspiring symbol of the vision, moral courage and strength it took to overcome tyranny in the Cold War.”
Trulio also said, “Since the Reagan Library opened in 1991, millions of people have laid their hands on this chunk of the wall — literally touching a piece of history — and reflected on President Reagan’s contribution to spreading the cause of freedom.”