Rhetorical devices

Allusion and direct references

In his “Tear down this wall” speech, Ronald Reagan makes several allusions and references meant to strengthen the impact of his message. For example, in the following sentence, Reagan refers to the survivors of bombing raids in Berlin, in 1945: “In this season of spring in 1945, the people of Berlin emerged from their air-raid shelters to find devastation”. Here, Reagan’s purpose is to contrast the effects of World War II with the rebirth of the city, helped by the Marshall Plan. Like this he wants to show the benefits of democracy, contrasting it to the poverty of the communist regime. 

Reagan also alludes to former President John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, which was delivered almost two years after the Soviet Union built the Berlin Wall: “Twenty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy visited Berlin, speaking to the people of this city and the world at the City Hall”. This gives Reagan reliability and shows that he is not the only one concerned with the situation in Berlin.

Reagan also mentions Khrushchev, Soviet First ...

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