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"Tear Down This Wall"

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Courtney Gunning

on 28 February 2011

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Transcript of "Tear Down This Wall"

"Tear Down This Wall"
Speech Analysis ~Introduction~

President Ronald Reagan (Republican, CA).
76 years old when he gave the speech.
June 12, 1987
West Berlin
"In an awe inspiring and powerful speech, President Ronald Reagan uses poignant words to clearly send a message to the Communists in Eastern Europe, and to the people of the world, that freedom and the West have prevailed over a backward and oppresive Communist system that must reform or become eternally archaic." ~Speaker's Message~

The West and freedom have prevailed.
The Soviet Union must reform or it will self destruct.
"In Europe, only one nation and those it controls, refuse to join the community of freedom...It must make fundamental changes or it will become obsolete." ~Central Argument~

The Soviet system has failed, it cannot keep pace with the modern world.
The West has prosperity that the Soviets do not enjoy.
"In the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health; even want of the most basic kind- too little food." ~Purpose~

Send a message to the Soviet Union that the United States will not back down in its pursuit of freedom.
"We in the West stand ready to cooperate with the East to promote true openess, to break down barriers that separate people, to create a safer, freer world."
Challenge the Soviets to change their system.
"And I invite Mr. Gorbachev, let us work to bring the Eastern and Western parts of the city closer together, so that all inhabitants of all Berlin can enjoy the benefits that come with life in one of the great cities of the world." ~Audience~

The World, with particular emphasis on the Communsists.
People present at the speech are West Berliners.
"Our gathering here today is being broadcasted throughout Western Europe and North America. I understand that it is being seen and heard as well in the East. To those listening throughout Eastern Europe a special word: Although I cannot be with you, I address my remarks to you just as surely as those standing before me. For I join you, and I join you fellow countrymen in the West, in this firm, this unalterable belief: Es gibt nur ein Berlin (there is only one Berlin). ~Voice/ Persona~

Firm, serious, determined, confident.
"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!" ~Literary Devices~

Allusion: "In this season of spring in 1945, the people of Berlin emerged from their air-raid shelters to find devastation. Thousands of miles away, the people of the United States reached out to help. And in 1947 Secretary of State-- as you've been told-- George Marshall announced the creation what would become known as the Marshall Plan."
Metaphor: "Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar."
Metonymy: "And the Soviets later walked away from the table"
Personification: "In the Phillipines, in South and Centeral America, democracy has been given a rebirth."
Parallelism: "It cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom."
Imagery: "A vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. From the Baltic, South, those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete, dog runs, and guard towers. Farther south, there may be no visible, no obvious wall. But, there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same." ~Ethos~

States that he is an American president.
"We come to Berlin, we American presidents...."
Apparent he has been in Berlin before.
"And today I, myself, make my second visit to your city." ~Pathos~

"By the feeling of history in this city, more than 500 years older than our own nation; by the beauty of the Grunewald and the Tiergarten; most of all, by your courage and determination."
"I understand the fear of war and the pain of division that afflict this continent-- and I pledge to you my country's efforts to help overcome these burdens." ~Logos~

"I have read, and I have been questioned since I've been here about certain demonstrations against my coming. And I would like to say just one thing, and to those who demonstrate so. I wonder if they have ever asked themselves that if they should have the kind of government they apparently seek, no one would ever be able to do what they're doing again." ~Staging of the Speech~

Dress suit
Patriotic ~Conclusion~
Full transcript