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The Struggle over Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall” Speech

Standing before West Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in June 1987, President Ronald Reagan called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear Down This Wall!” It was one of the Cold War’s most memorable speeches, and most controversial ones.  

The Jackson Institute for Global Affairs will host a lunch conversation with Peter Robinson, the young White House speechwriter who drafted the speech, and Amb. Richard Burt, who was U.S. Ambassador to Germany, to explore the inside struggle within the Reagan Administration, and between the U.S. and its West German ally, over what Reagan should say. Less than 18 months later, on November 4, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, when Gorbachev declined to use force to prevent it.  Burt and Robinson also will explore the context and significance of the speech in the twilight of the Cold War.

The talk will be moderated by Jackson Senior Fellow and Lecturer Margaret Warner.  

This event is open to Yale community members.

Venue

Horchow Hall 103 (GM Room) https://map.yale.edu/place/building/HRCH? 55 Hillhouse Avenue New Haven CT 06511