• Germany edition
 
Obama's Berlin speech follows JFK and Reagan
Obama's last Berlin speech attracted 200,000. Photo: DPA

Obama's Berlin speech follows JFK and Reagan

Published: 05 Jun 2013 17:43 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Jun 2013 17:43 GMT+02:00

Obama will stand at the former dividing line of East and West Berlin and talk about the "enduring bonds" between the United States and Germany and will laud the transatlantic alliance, a White House statement said.

The US president's speech will come nearly 50 years to the day after Kennedy's famed "Ich bin ein Berliner" address delivered from the Schöneberg town hall in then West Berlin, two years after the erection of the Wall.

The Brandenburg Gate itself was the backdrop for another climactic moment in Cold War history, when Reagan famously beseeched then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" in 1987. It later became the symbol of German reunification in 1990.

It will not be the first time that Obama will have given a major open-air speech to Germans. In 2008, during his presidential campaign, he addressed an estimated crowd of 200,000 people in Berlin in a major foreign policy speech.

That address was controversial at the time because opponents back home accused him of being presumptuous by giving such a major presidential-style address outside America before he was even elected.

It also caused a flurry in Germany following reports, which were never confirmed, that Obama had asked to speak at the Brandenburg Gate but had been turned down by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In the event, Obama gave his address, which called on Americans and Europeans to tear down walls between allies, races and faiths, before the Victory Column in Berlin's Tiergarten.

Obama recorded a surprise video message played to a crowd at the Brandenburg Gate in 2009, at ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"Even in the face of tyranny, people insisted that the world could change," Obama said.

He will spend two days in Germany this month after attending the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Obama's visit to Berlin has been long awaited by Germany's political class. Merkel made a joking reference to the idea of an Obama trip to Berlin at the White House in 2011.

"I can promise that the Brandenburg Gate will still be there," she said.

Though he is yet to visit Berlin as president, Obama has been to Germany twice before as US leader.

In 2009, he crossed into Baden Baden during the NATO summit hosted by the nearby border cities of Strasbourg and Kehl.

Later in the same year, Obama met Merkel in Dresden, visited the former Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald and dropped in on wounded US soldiers at a hospital facility in Landstuhl.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Oktoberfest 2014
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's tents
Photo: DPA

Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's tents

There are 14 "tents" at Munich's Oktoberfest, all with their own uniqueness and theme. In the second of The Local's four-part guide to the world's biggest beer festival, we look at some of the best ones. READ  

Drunk teachers ruin school trip to Hamburg
Photo: DPA

Drunk teachers ruin school trip to Hamburg

A school trip was cancelled after just one day when two teachers got so drunk while they were supposed to be looking after pupils in Hamburg that police had to be called. READ  

Where to find the speed cameras today
Photo: DPA

Where to find the speed cameras today

Police deployed 13,000 officers across Germany on Thursday to catch speeding drivers in a so called "Blitzmarathon". Here is where the radar guns are. READ  

US WWII bomb forces 11,000 from homes
The area of the town centre evacuated. Photo: Lüneberg Stadt

US WWII bomb forces 11,000 from homes

Thousands of people in the centre of an historic town in central Germany had to leave their homes late on Wednesday evening after a 250kg bomb was found. READ  

Who is listening to Berlin's music?
Photo: DPA

Who is listening to Berlin's music?

A study by music-streaming service Spotify has revealed the global reach of Berlin-born music, with genres originating in the capital finding a loyal audience in some unlikely places. READ  

Champions League
Boateng delivers Bayern 1-0 win over Man City
Jerome Boateng with Bayern trainer Pep Guardiola on Wednesday night. Photo: DPA

Boateng delivers Bayern 1-0 win over Man City

A superb strike by Jerome Boateng with a minute remaining earned Bayern Munich a dramatic 1-0 victory against Manchester City in their opening Champions League game of the season on Wednesday. Chelsea, meanwhile, were held by Schalke. READ  

Merkel promises help for Liberia in Ebola fight
A man walks past an Ebola information mural in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: DPA

Merkel promises help for Liberia in Ebola fight

Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised that Germany will send help to Liberia to tackle the Ebola crisis in response to a personal appeal by the country's president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. READ  

Cabinet clamps down on child image possession
Justice Minister Heiko Maas. Photo: DPA

Cabinet clamps down on child image possession

People caught in possession of indecent images of children will face tougher prison sentences, the government announced on Wednesday. READ  

The Local List
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again

Ten German words you'll never want to hear again

There are some German words which we'd rather were never invented. From the almost unpronounceable to the sheer pointless, The Local List has identified ten of the worst words in the German language. Do you agree? READ  

Investigators offer $30m reward for MH17 clues
Investigators at the MH17 crash site. Photo: DPA

Investigators offer $30m reward for MH17 clues

Anonymous backers have armed a German private detective with a $30-million war chest to find out who shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Oktoberfest 2014: The best and worst in dirndl fashion
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Photo: DPA
Education
German universities tumble in global rankings
Photo: DPA
Tech
Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Politics
These men want to be the next mayor of Berlin
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,339
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd