Tuesday, 12 June 2018

tear down this wall

Our faithful chronicler, Doctor Caligari’s Cabinet, that on this day—among many other momentous occasions—the US president Ronald Reagan, speaking at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin in 1987, publicly challenged General Secretary of the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev to open up the barrier that had physically divided the city since 1961.
Though not the first time the Wall itself was the subject of an address—having previously made similar overtures to the “evil empire” from 1982 onwards and not accorded with its legacy and influence until the Wall actually came down a year and a half later and was criticized at the time respectively by US and Soviet advisors as extreme and unpresidential and provocative and war-mongering, the speech looms large in the popular imagination, perhaps at the expense of appreciating the complexities of geopolitical undercurrents in East and West Germany and the Soviet Union.