Thirty years ago, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave one of the most important speeches of this century.
As he stood by the Berlin Wall, that ugly reminder that a once free and prosperous city was now divided and conquered, President Reagan sought to give hope to those suffering under Communist oppression.
Several of Reagan's trusted advisors counseled him to change his intended remarks.
They told him the words were inflammatory and provocative.
Still, Reagan persisted. He gave his speech as it was written because it was, “the right thing to do.”
Against the historic backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate, President Reagan issued a challenge to Soviet leader Mikhail 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, tear down this wall!"
President Reagan was criticized at the time, but to the astonishment of most of the experts, less than three years later the wall did come down.
Today may be a good time to tell our children the story of this speech and to teach them that sometimes it takes courage to stand alone. Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing. But nothing is more important than doing the right thing. Nothing.
The first video is of President Reagan's speech that changed the course of history.
In the second video Peter Robinson, the man who wrote the speech, tells the fascinating story behind President Reagan's historic Berlin Wall speech.
The third video is a five minute highlight from the speech.
Links to the text of the speech and other great resources are listed after the videos.
President Reagan Gives Historic "Tear Down This Wall" Speech at the Brandenburg Gate.
To Celebrate President Reagan's 100th Birthday,
Speechwriter Peter Robinson Recalled the Story Behind Reagan's Speech.
Short on time? Here is a five minute highlight of President Reagan's speech.
Learn More about President Reagan's Speech and the Fall of the Berlin Wall
- Top Advisers Opposed Reagan's Challenge to Gorbachev but Lost, by Peter Robinson
- The Culmination of Reagan's Foreign Policy
- Text of President Reagan's Speech
- Reagan's Berlin Wall Speech 30 Years Later