down this wall!” (Reagan) were the exact words that bounced through the Berlin
air on June 12, 1987, when President Reagan spoke upon the rallied-up crowd of
Germans at the East German side of the Berlin wall. The German communist
government built a huge concrete wall that separated East and West Berlin in
1961. The wall was built to separate East and West Berlin. The wall quickly
became known as a symbol of communist oppression. The sole purpose of this wall
was to stop the western citizens from changing the communist system and from
communicating with the citizens of East Berlin who might then become disloyal
to East Berlin. Reagan’s famous Berlin Wall speech was made on his second trip
to Germany in 1987, it was an attempt to convince Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy
the Berlin wall that separated east and west. Gorbachev was a respected Soviet
leader who certainly had the power to do so. President Reagan’s argument was
fueled by his use pathos, his appeal to logos and use of Kairos.
President Reagan used his
spectators and his surroundings to his advantage to make his point and
strengthen his argument. He uses the crisis amongst them to execute a fair use
of Kairos in his speech. At the time of Reagan’s visit to Germany, there was a
high amount of tension between the two sides of Berlin. At the time, there were
heated debates surfacing about the American missiles being held over Europe.
This was the perfect time to speak on the wide problem amongst the Germans.
Behind two layers of bulletproof glass, President Reagan proposes his speech at
the Brandenburg Gate amongst more than 45,000 Berlin citizens on June 12, 1987.
President Reagan includes a notable
number of quotes from past events in modern history in his speech to enhance
his points. Regan takes it back to the year of 1945, “In this season of spring
in 1945, the people of Berlin emerged from their air-raid shelters to find
devastation.” (Reagan) He furthermore switches into two years later and
discusses the Marshall plan. “1947 Secretary of State George Marshall announced
the creation of what would become known as the Marshall Plan.” (Reagan), he
talks about the great amount of success the operation brung to West Berlin.
Afterwards he talks about the modern state of Berlin in comparison of what it
was like back before the Marshall Plan, “Where four decades ago there was
rubble, today in West Berlin there is the greatest industrial output of any
city in Germany.” (Reagan).
Reagan carefully constructs his speech and brings an accretive style to the
plate, these skills are most likely from his former background in acting. His
claims are not filled with empty and meaningless words, he actually backs up
his arguments with logical solutions and clear points. He uses a clear,
powerful tone to persuade his crowd along with the use of logos and pathos.
“Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city”
(Reagan), he describes how the communist have divided the citizens yet they say
everyone is “free” but the modern-day term of free does not mean free. The
separation of the city should not be up to the government’s choice but to the
people who actual have to live through this. Over one hundred people were
killed by the barb wire, explosive mines and machine guns that the wall holds.
He draws strong feelings from the families of the wall’s victims and some who
haven’t seen their loved ones on the other side of this wall.
Reagan’s speech was very successful in the end
though it seemed like a failure at first. Reagan was said to be too naïve and
the media coverage was mediocre. It was not until two years later that the
Berlin Wall came to an end. On November 9th, 1989, citizens were given the
ability to travel across the border whenever they wanted. The media did a whole
360 on their view of Reagan’s actions and uplifted their past remarks about
him. President Reagan’s stance for rights were honored. The city of Berlin,
Germany was once again united and seen as a whole.