Ich bin ein Berliner
This study guide will help you analyze the speech “Ich bin ein Berliner” by John F. Kennedy. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on main topics, speaker, audience, language and circumstances. We will also give you an idea of Kennedy’s intention with the speech.
"Ich bin ein Berliner" is a well-known phrase from a speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy, delivered on June 26, 1963, in West Berlin. At the time, the city had recently been divided by the Berlin Wall, separating East and West Berlin. East Berlin fell under communist control, while West Berlin was a democratic area backed by the United States and other Western nations.
Kennedy's speech highlighted his support for the people of West Berlin, who faced challenges due to the newly built wall, and sent a message to the Soviet Union, which controlled East Germany. In English, "Ich bin ein Berliner" translates to "I am a Berliner," signifying that Kennedy stood alongside West Berlin residents during this difficult period.
The speech took place in front of West Berlin's city hall, drawing a large crowd. The phrase "Ich bin ein Berliner" became emblematic of America's commitment to protecting freedom and democracy in the face of communism.
You can watch the speech here.
Excerpt from the study guide: