Construction of the wall, August 1961
A woman on the western side talks with her mother in the east, August 1961
We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalisation, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. . .
As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall, for it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.
See, hear and read the speech in full at:
See, hear and read Kennedy’s speech at:
With the Soviet Union’s satellites becoming independent in the late 1980’s and the disintegration of the Soviet Union as a communist militaristic bloc, agitation increased for the wall to come down. In 1989 Hungary relaxed its border restrictions with Austria and in one month alone 13,000 East Germans fled to Austria via Hungary. Restrictions were put in place but then Czechoslovakia relaxed its border restrictions. Demonstrations in East Germany grew. Chants that had originally been “We want out!” changed to “We’re staying here” as the emphasis became not escape but the wall coming down. On 9 November 1989 it did come down.
Berlin border guards stand on top of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate on 11 November 1989 when the wall was beginning to be torn down
After 28 years, families were reunited but it was too late for many.
West of the wall our dreams can all come true
Though we're apart a little while
My heart will wait until we both can smile
That wall built of our sorrow
We know must have an end
Till then dream of tomorrow
When we meet again
West of the wall where hearts are free
West of the wall your heart can come to me
And in my arms that hold you tight
You will forget the darkness of the night
The world knows about sadness and we are not alone
West of the wall that soon will fall and you'll come home
Wall built upon sorrow
One day you will end
Hearts true to each other
Will not break
They will not bend
In our hour of sadness
How clearly we can see
Free, free, free, free........