The Berlin Wall was the physical representation of the “Cold War.” The structure across the city of Berlin was not built to protect Communist Germany from the forces of freedom, it was constructed to keep the East Germans from fleeing communism. During the 750th anniversary of the founding of the city of Berlin, President Reagan explained the reasons the wall had to come down in a way no other POTUS has ever had the guts to confront an enemy:
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. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. 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, tear down this wall!
In one of the United States greatest victories, just two years after President Reagan made that speech, the wall was down, communism in eastern Europe was dead and the cold war was over.
In the 28 years in which the wall divided the city, about 5,000 people risked their lives escaping across it to the West and up to 200 more are estimated to have died in the attempt. No one sought to flee in the other direction, and few on either side of that barrier had any illusions about the oppressive nature of the regime that built it. Few today remember it’s lessons. Especially the “Leader of the Free World.”
On his to Asian trip the President sent out the message that freedom was in decline, this is how the Times of India described it:
At an Indonesian press conference today, Barack Obama said this about the largest Communist dictatorship left in the world.