"Ich bin ein Berliner" – West Berlin, Jun. 26, 1963

JFK at Berlin Wall

In a relatively short speech (only about 9:22 long), Kennedy addressed a crowd of around 120,000, famously stating "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berliner") as showing of American solidarity in the aftermath of the Berlin Wall's erection (BBC News). He champions the citizens of West Berlin as soldiers on the front lines of freedom, thanking and praising them for the 18 years they have been fighting for it.

Kennedy makes extensive use of repitition in his speech, particularly in his criticisms of communism: 

"There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin."

In a few short years, JFK's ability to coin iconic phrases only grew stronger, even as his speeches became more and more economical. His focus is similar to his Inaugural and Rice addresses – focusing in on a singular issue and using it to communicate a broad, optimistic thesis for the future.



John F. Kennedy's speech in Berlin