This study guide will help you analyze Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” Speech held in 1987. In addition to help with your analysis, you can find a summary of the text and ideas for putting it into perspective.
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was an American politician and the 40th president of the United States, from 1981 to 1989. In his 1987 speech given during a visit to West Berlin, Reagan asks Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to tear down the Berlin Wall.
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Reagan uses direct address when he talks to his audience. For example, he addresses Berliners with “my friends” to highlight his connection with them: “But my friends, there were a few things the Soviets didn't count on--Berliner Herz, Berliner Humor, ja, und Berliner Schnauze”.
Reagan also addresses Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union: “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, tear down this wall!”. Reagan also addresses Gorbachev directly later on, when he invites him to cooperate “to bring the Eastern and Western parts of the city closer together”.
Reagan uses the plural “we” to show the audience that the Berlin Wall situation does not only affect Berliners but the entire world.