Tear down this wall!
"Tear down this wall!" was the challenge made by United States President Ronald Reagan to Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall. The speech was made at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987. It was made to honor the 750th anniversary of Berlin.
Reagan challenged Gorbachev, who was then the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to tear the wall down as a symbol of Gorbachev's desire to increase freedom between Eastern and Western Germany.
We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General 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. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev...Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
The speech is thought to be one of the greatest speeches by Reagan or by any other president.
- "Reagan's 'tear down this wall' speech turns 20 - USATODAY.com". USA Today. June 12, 2007. https://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-06-12-reagan-speech_N.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
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- Full text and audio MP3 of the speech
- Full video of President Reagan delivering the speech at the Brandenburg Gate, courtesy of the Reagan Foundation.
- Ronald Reagan Signed and Inscribed Photograph at the Berlin Wall Shapell Manuscript Foundation
- Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson reflecting on the speech before the Commonwealth Club of California in 2004.
- Image of text at National Archives site
- "Tear Down This Wall" How Top Advisers Opposed Reagan's Challenge to Gorbachev—But Lost by Peter Robinson