Short Rhetorical Analysis of Tear Down This Wall

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McGregor Dalton
L.Eppich
English III AP/DC, per. 4
8 April 2013
Presidential Speech: Reagan “Tear Down This Wall”
In 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected in order to separate the free West Berlin from the surrounding Soviet-occupied East Germany and East Berlin. On June 12th, 1987, millions listened as world leaders gathered in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate to commemorate the 750th anniversary of Berlin. President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the symbol of communist oppression. Reagan uses rhetorical language in order to persuade Gorbachev and his supporters into beginning the demolition process that would set Eastern Europeans free.

Reagan uses rhetoric to in influence thoughts of his target audience, Mr. Gorbachev and the Soviets. He begins by formally addressing “Chancellor Kohl”, “Governing Mayor Diepgen”, and the “ladies and gentlemen” listening to his speech. This accommodates the audience and makes the listener believe that Reagan is a noble man. Reagan continues on to say, “Twenty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy visited Berlin…then two other presidents, each in his turn, to Berlin. And today I, myself, make my second visit to your city.” Reagan uses logos by stating an exact number for the date of John F. Kennedy’s visit. Also, by saying that he is following in the footsteps of previous presidents and that he has visited twice, he gains credibility with the audience. Furthermore, President Reagan sways the audience with ethos as he says, “It is our duty to speak, in this place, of freedom.” This appeals to the audience’s sense of patriotism and nudges them towards siding with Reagan. He then speaks twice in German to strike a connection with the audience. He says, “Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin”, meaning, “I still have a suitcase in Berlin.” Then he speaks in German once again saying, “Es gibt nur ein Berlin”, which translates to, “There is only one Berlin”. He first uses the local...
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