The Spectacle Blog

“Tear Down This Wall” Turns 25

By on 6.12.12 | 6:08PM

Today is the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's Brandenburg Gate address, and Peter Robinson, who wrote the speech, shares some documents from the Reagan library, recording the thoughts of administration advisers who pushed to excise what became its most famous line. Hilariously, a memo from Peter W. Rodman to Colin Powell calls it "a mediocre speech and a missed opportunity."

It was, of course, one of the greatest and most important speeches of the 20th Century, and it bears rewatching. The "tear down this wall" section remains incredibly moving, of course, but there are other lines that remain striking, including Reagan's praise of the "technological revolution... marked by rapid, dramatic advances in computers and telecommunications." A few years later, the World Wide Web was born -- and the Berlin Wall was rubble.

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