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PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 07:47 AM

Mr Gorbachev Tear Down That Wall!
It was 20 years ago today (well a few days ago really) that Sgt Reagan told the Soviet leader Gorbie to "Tear Down That Wall" whilst standing in front of the wall by the Brandenburg Gate.

And the rest is history

One of the things i find fascinating about Berlin is tracking down the relatively few remnants of the infamous Berlin Wall.

My favorite stretch is the East Side Gallery along the banks of the Spree River near the Ost Bahnhof train station.

Here about a mile-long stretch of wall remains intact and colorful murals done recently by artists, some quite famous, brighten it up. And on the other side of the wall facing the Spree are several novel enterprises - make shift beaches with plastic palm trees, 'seaside' cafes, etc.

A most interesting place to check out.

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 10:27 AM

Most of us have the american perspective of the event but Europeans told me that it was a meaningless rhetoric from Reagan. The Europeans credited Gorbachev's wisdom for allowing the wall to come down not Reagan. They clarified that the wall didn't come down due to Reagan's empty rhetoric.

Some of us are also surprised that Berliners didn't carve Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" on stone anywhere to celebrate his visit to Berlin. That was not too long after the air bridge that helped the West Berliners.

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 10:32 AM

I did not mean to imply that Bonzo was responsible for the wall coming down by that speech - but that it was a famous part in the history of the wall.

Like you say no doubt many other forces caused the inevitable - the break up on the Soviet Union primarily and this has been attributed to Reagan's huge military build up that, when matched by Soviets, perhaps led to the bankruptcy.

But no it was empty rhetoric i agreed and grandstanding, which Ronnie was best at.

rialtogrl Jun 12th, 2007 10:47 AM

Nothing prepared me for actually seeing and touching the Berlin wall when I was there. It is a very moving experience (or at least it was for me.) It was also an odd feeling to be where the wall once stood - like at the Mauerpark, for instance. Very humbling.

waring Jun 12th, 2007 10:51 AM

It was the US's superiority in IT that was the last nail in the coffin, combined with the 'threat' of Star Wars.

Gorby couldn't get the communist party to move fast enough to modernise the USSR, and switched his power base to the State, rather than the Party apparatus.

Putsch, Yeltsin then then whole house of cards then came tumbling down.

I believe "Ich bein ein berliner" means "I'm a donut".

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 11:01 AM

actually a 'jam donut' like in German bakeries - a Berliner is a jam filled donut and oh so good.

altamiro Jun 12th, 2007 11:05 AM

>a Berliner is a jam filled donut and oh so good.

Yes, but only in the south(west) and west of Germany.
In Bavaria it is a Krapfen.
In the North and east (including Berlin) it is a Pfannkuchen.
Don't ask ...

waring Jun 12th, 2007 11:06 AM

Aha, I'm English and a doughnut is automatically jammy for me, no jam is a ring doughnut (can't think why I used American spelling)

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 11:13 AM

I'm just glad Kennedy wasn't in Hamburg.

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 11:26 AM

high wall: what would you call a person from Berlin if not a 'Berliner'?

don't i see that on beer bottles Berliner for beer brewed in Berlin.

I'm wondering if JFK was wrong only in the parts of Germany you say use the jam donut conotation - bitte what was then the snafu with JFK and Berliner?

Thanks - you are the once source, a German speaker who can clarify this. Thanks

waring Jun 12th, 2007 11:35 AM

Pending Highwall, I believe it's the use of the article

Ich bein berliner=I am a Berliner
Ich bein ein berliner=I am a doughnut

Zeus Jun 12th, 2007 11:38 AM

I just love revisionist history.

Especially all the Lefties that now want to tell us the Soviets were never a threat.

bob_brown Jun 12th, 2007 11:38 AM

Some Germans tell me that Ich bin Berliner means I am from Berlin while Ich bin ein Berliner means I am a jelly donut. Others tell me that the meaning is clear regardless - Kennedy meant he was also a citizen of Berlin.

Many Germans speak English well enough to know what he meant.

To give an example of general understanding, I took a guided backstage tour at the Festspielhaus in Salzburg. The tour started with the guide speaking first in English and then repeating her thoughts in German. The German speakers soon told her to stick to English, that was sufficient.

At Neuschwanstein, about half the people in my English language tour group were not native English speakers. They took the first tour they could find that was in a language they knew. Less waiting that way.

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 11:40 AM

It was a snafu but understandable since it is an irregularity/exception in the German grammar to eliminate ein for a person.

waring Jun 12th, 2007 11:41 AM

"I just love revisionist history."

How do you mean?

bob_brown Jun 12th, 2007 11:41 AM

PS The Mexican wall. I doubt if there is going to be a big call to tear that one down. Too easy to climb over and dig under. Ironic, one Republican calls for a wall to be torn down; another one builds one that is longer and higher.

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 11:42 AM

Oops NPR said that today was the 20th anniversary of that 'famous speech' and they were to discuss like we are hear - what effect it had if any.

Soviets never a threat? Anyone with enough firepower to blow up the world has to be a threat.

fnarf999 Jun 12th, 2007 11:43 AM

No one in Germany was confused by his statement, any more than Mexicans thought the Chevy Nova stood for "no go", or an English-speaking person would confuse "therapist" with "the rapist". It's an urban legend.

cruiseluv Jun 12th, 2007 11:45 AM

Per DAX,

"Most of us have the american perspective of the event but Europeans told me that it was a meaningless rhetoric from Reagan. The Europeans credited Gorbachev's wisdom for allowing the wall to come down not Reagan. They clarified that the wall didn't come down due to Reagan's empty rhetoric."

And which Europeans may those be?? Certainly not the ones behind the curtain. Even today, the countries of the Soviet block are thankful to US leadership in those dark times.

Yeah,, right , Thanks Gorbachev.... One big coincidence... LOL!!!

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 11:49 AM

As for the walls being built along Mexican/US border and one in Israel and Palestinians and Berlin Wall was that Berlin Wall, part of the Iron Curtain, was to keep people in

whilst the other two are to keep people out. Perhaps just as odious in some ways but a different ball game.

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