Europe in the early 20th
Chapter 8 Europe and America read pages 325- 357
In this section we approach the modern era. It covers the era of the ‘cold war’, which threatened at times to turn ‘hot’.
1. What was Kennedy’s change of heart in June 1963 watch the speech using the following link: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjHcNhcahv4) compare with Ronald Reagan’s speech 20 years later. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjWDrTXMgF8)
On June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech that electrified an adoring crowd gathered in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. As he paid tribute to the spirit of Berliners and to their quest for freedom, the crowd roared with approval upon hearing the President’s dramatic pronouncement, "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner). Twenty-four years after President John F. Kennedy's visit to Berlin, as tensions between the two superpowers eased, President Ronald Reagan made a historic appearance at the Berlin Wall. He spoke passionately about the advance of human liberty and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" the ultimate symbol of Communist suppression and thus demonstrate a commitment to profound change.
2. Why did the Russians put up the wall? Was it a good move or did it backfire? Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev told East Germany's dictator Walter Ulbricht to stop the flow of East German citizens into West Berlin. Therefore, the Soviet Union built the Berlin Wall separating communist East Germany from democratic West Germany because the fence they erected was not doing its job. Yes, it started as a fence and over time became a wall. The Soviet Union's official reason was that it wanted its borders identified, and to guard against intruders. The great irony of their official reason was that intruders trying to get in were not the problem; the problem was trying to keep people on "their" side of the wall.
3. How was the Russian economy performing in the late 50’s?
The East's economy was very poor and the landscape as described by a former Berlin Soldier of