Ronald Reagan "Tear Down This Wall" (1987) 57 words

In June 1987 President Ronald Reagan traveled to Berlin where he visited the Brandenburg Gate. At this symbolic point along the Berlin Wall, Reagan gave his most famous speech in which he urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear Down this Wall!"
  1. determination
    the quality of being determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose
    But I must confess, we're drawn here by other things as well: by the feeling of history in this city, more than 500 years older than our own nation; by the beauty of the Grunewald and the Tiergarten; most of all, by your courage and determination.
  2. unalterable
    not capable of being changed or altered
    For I join you, as I join your fellow countrymen in the West, in this firm, this unalterable belief: Es gibt nur ein Berlin.
  3. instrument
    the means whereby some act is accomplished
    But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same -- still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state.
  4. impose
    compel to behave in a certain way
    But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same -- still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state.
  5. totalitarian
    characterized by a government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control
    But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same -- still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state.
  6. lament
    express grief verbally
    Yet I do not come here to lament.
  7. doctrine
    a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
    Speaking precisely 40 years ago this month, he said: "Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos."
  8. desperation
    a state in which all hope is lost or absent
    Speaking precisely 40 years ago this month, he said: "Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos."
  9. commemorate
    call to remembrance; keep alive the memory of someone or something, as in a ceremony
    In the Reichstag a few moments ago, I saw a display commemorating this 40th anniversary of the Marshall plan.
  10. liberty
    personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression
    Adenauer, Erhard, Reuter, and other leaders understood the practical importance of liberty -- that just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom.
  11. flourish
    grow vigorously
    Adenauer, Erhard, Reuter, and other leaders understood the practical importance of liberty -- that just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom.
  12. tariff
    a government tax on imports or exports
    The German leaders reduced tariffs, expanded free trade, lowered taxes.
  13. unprecedented
    having no precedent; novel
    But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history.
  14. decline
    grow worse
    In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind -- too little food.
  15. victor
    a combatant who is able to defeat rivals
    Freedom is the victor.
  16. enterprise
    an organization created for business ventures
    Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.
  17. profound
    of the greatest intensity; complete
    Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state?
  18. security
    the state of being free from danger or injury
    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.
  19. liberalization
    the act of making less strict
    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!
  20. afflict
    cause great unhappiness for; distress
    I understand the fear of war and the pain of division that afflict this continent -- and I pledge to you my country's efforts to help overcome these burdens.
  21. unassailable
    immune to attack; incapable of being tampered with
    So we must maintain defenses of unassailable strength.
  22. strive
    attempt by employing effort
    Yet we seek peace; so we must strive to reduce arms on both sides.
  23. nuclear
    (weapons) deriving destructive energy from the release of atomic energy
    Beginning 10 years ago, the Soviets challenged the Western alliance with a grave new threat, hundreds of new and more deadly SS-20 nuclear missiles, capable of striking every capital in Europe.
  24. commit
    give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause
    The Western alliance responded by committing itself to a counter-deployment unless the Soviets agreed to negotiate a better solution; namely, the elimination of such weapons on both sides.
  25. negotiate
    discuss the terms of an arrangement
    The Western alliance responded by committing itself to a counter-deployment unless the Soviets agreed to negotiate a better solution; namely, the elimination of such weapons on both sides.
  26. minister
    a diplomat representing one government to another; ranks below ambassador
    As I speak, NATO ministers are meeting in Iceland to review the progress of our proposals for eliminating these weapons.
  27. strategic
    relating to or concerned with strategy
    At the talks in Geneva, we have also proposed deep cuts in strategic offensive weapons.
  28. offensive
    for the purpose of attack rather than defense
    At the talks in Geneva, we have also proposed deep cuts in strategic offensive weapons.
  29. ally
    a friendly nation
    And the Western allies have likewise made far-reaching proposals to reduce the danger of conventional war and to place a total ban on chemical weapons.
  30. conventional
    conforming with accepted standards
    A conventional war is generally understood to be a war without the use of nuclear weapons.
    And the Western allies have likewise made far-reaching proposals to reduce the danger of conventional war and to place a total ban on chemical weapons.
  31. ban
    prohibit especially by legal means or social pressure
    And the Western allies have likewise made far-reaching proposals to reduce the danger of conventional war and to place a total ban on chemical weapons.
  32. pursue
    carry further or advance
    While we pursue these arms reductions, I pledge to you that we will maintain the capacity to deter Soviet aggression at any level at which it might occur.
  33. initiative
    the first of a series of actions
    And in cooperation with many of our allies, the United States is pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative research to base deterrence not on the threat of offensive retaliation, but on defenses that truly defend -- on systems, in short, that will not target populations, but shield them.
  34. deterrence
    the act or process of discouraging actions or preventing occurrences by instilling fear or doubt or anxiety
    And in cooperation with many of our allies, the United States is pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative research to base deterrence not on the threat of offensive retaliation, but on defenses that truly defend -- on systems, in short, that will not target populations, but shield them.
  35. retaliation
    action taken in return for an injury or offense
    And in cooperation with many of our allies, the United States is pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative research to base deterrence not on the threat of offensive retaliation, but on defenses that truly defend -- on systems, in short, that will not target populations, but shield them.
  36. crucial
    of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis
    But we must remember a crucial fact: East and West do not mistrust each other because we are armed; we are armed because we mistrust each other.
  37. siege
    the action of an armed force that surrounds a fortified place and isolates it while continuing to attack
    When President Kennedy spoke at the City Hall those 24 years ago, freedom was encircled, Berlin was under siege.
  38. transform
    change or alter in form, appearance, or nature
    And freedom itself is transforming the globe.
  39. innovation
    the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new
    Yet in this age of redoubled economic growth, of information and innovation, the Soviet Union faces a choice: It must make fundamental changes, or it will become obsolete.
  40. fundamental
    far-reaching and thoroughgoing in effect especially on the nature of something
    Yet in this age of redoubled economic growth, of information and innovation, the Soviet Union faces a choice: It must make fundamental changes, or it will become obsolete.
  41. strict
    incapable of compromise or flexibility
    Free people of Berlin: Today, as in the past, the United States stands for the strict observance and full implementation of all parts of the Four Power Agreement of 1971.
  42. implementation
    the act of accomplishing some aim or executing some order
    Free people of Berlin: Today, as in the past, the United States stands for the strict observance and full implementation of all parts of the Four Power Agreement of 1971.
  43. economical
    using the minimum of time or resources necessary for effectiveness
    To open Berlin still further to all Europe, East and West, let us expand the vital air access to this city, finding ways of making commercial air service to Berlin more convenient, more comfortable, and more economical.
  44. aviation
    the operation of aircraft to provide transportation
    We look to the day when West Berlin can become one of the chief aviation hubs in all central Europe.
  45. enlighten
    make free from confusion or ambiguity; make clear
    There is no better way to establish hope for the future than to enlighten young minds, and we would be honored to sponsor summer youth exchanges, cultural events, and other programs for young Berliners from the East.
  46. authority
    (usually plural) persons who exercise (administrative) control over others
    And it's my hope that an authority can be found in East Berlin to sponsor visits from young people of the Western sectors.
  47. blockade
    a war measure that isolates some area of importance to the enemy
    You've done so in spite of threats -- the Soviet attempts to impose the East-mark, the blockade.
  48. fortitude
    strength of mind that enables one to endure adversity with courage
    Certainly there's a great deal to be said for your fortitude, for your defiant courage.
  49. defiant
    boldly resisting authority or an opposing force
    Certainly there's a great deal to be said for your fortitude, for your defiant courage.
  50. sentiment
    a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty
    But I believe there's something deeper, something that involves Berlin's whole look and feel and way of life -- not mere sentiment.
  51. disabuse
    free somebody (from an erroneous belief)
    No one could live long in Berlin without being completely disabused of illusions.
  52. illusion
    an erroneous mental representation
    No one could live long in Berlin without being completely disabused of illusions.
  53. affirmation
    a statement asserting the existence or the truth of something
    Something that speaks with a powerful voice of affirmation, that says yes to this city, yes to the future, yes to freedom.
  54. thwart
    hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of
    The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship.
  55. impulse
    an instinctive motive
    The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship.
  56. suppressed
    kept from public knowledge by various means;
    There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed.
  57. embodiment
    a new personification of a familiar idea
    As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner, "This wall will fall.