Primary Sources

Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate


On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered a major speech on the Cold War with the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall as a back drop. Since the end of World War II, Berlin had been one of the main symbols of the Cold War. In staging this speech, President Reagan hoped to draw a parallel with the historic speech delivered in Berlin by President John F. Kennedy in July 1963. It was in this speech that President Kennedy spoke the famous phrase: "All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner." In Reagan's speech, he not only identified himself as a fellow Berliner, but challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, who was seen by the West increasingly as the driving force behind reform in Eastern Europe, saying: "Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

To see the associated Teaching Case Study, click here.

To view just the excerpt of the speech in which President Reagan makes his famous statement about tearing down the Berlin Wall, click here.


Ronald Reagan, Video recording of Address at the Brandenburg Gate, 12 June 1987, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

How to Cite this Source

Ronald Reagan, "Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate," Making the History of 1989, Item #568, (accessed May 28 2021, 3:26 pm).

Associated Files