12 June 1987: President Regan tells Gorbachev “Tear Down This Wall”

President Ronald Reagan acknowledges the crowd after his speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, where he said: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! " on June 12, 1987. | AP Photo.

On June 12, 1987, in one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the repressive Communist era in a divided Germany.

Regan was speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, in Western Berlin, Germany at the invitation of the West German government. President Gorbachev was due to visit Berlin in a few days time.
Photo: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. . . . Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar. . . . As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. . . .

    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!

—Ronald Reagan, address at the Brandenburg Gate, June 12, 1987