Rhetorical Analysis of Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall” Ra’Shell Ford
Rhetorical Analysis of Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall” On August 15, 1961, Communists began building a wall to keep Germans from escaping Communist-controlled East Berlin to West Democratic Berlin. There were guards, electric barbed wired fences, and of course the twelve foot concrete wall that prevented Germans from escaping. After the wall was built many Germans still tried to flee the west but not all were successful. The East Berlin Germans were now under total dictatorship of the Soviets. Many United States Presidents traveled to Berlin to share their views on democracy with the Communists, but the Communist weren’t persuaded. In 1987, Ronald Reagan used emotion, logic, and intellect to persuade the Soviets that tearing down the wall would help make Berlin prosperous. June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan gave his famous “Tear Down this Wall” speech in Berlin. Many people in Germany were ready for freedom and others wanted it as well. Many people felt there should be peace within the city. Ronald Reagan wanted to persuade the Soviets and Communists that change and openness was a great thing. Ronald Reagan’s speech was a sort of challenge to Gorbachev (who was the General Secretary of the Communist Party), to tear it down as a symbol for increasing freedom. “We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace (Reagan, 1987).” Reagan went on to say, “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Regan used emotion to get into the minds of the audience and the attention Gorbachev by challenging basic ideas such as peace and liberalization - ideas that everyone...
References: Reagan, R.. (1987, June 12). Tear Down this Wall. The History Place. Retrieved from
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