By Madeleine McAulay
When thinking of the Soviet Union, I reflect on the one speech that defined the Soviet Union’s dissolution. I think of Ronald Reagan’s speech on June 12, 1987. In this speech, formally known as, “Tear Down This Wall” Ronald Reagan dares to challenge Gorbachev and the Soviet Union’s totalitarian state. As President Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall, that was separating the free world from the tyrannical one; he exercised his freedom of speech and the need for Liberty, Freedom, Democracy and a Revolution. One of my favorite quotes from this speech is:
Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatred among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.
Throughout the entirety of the Soviet Union’s reign, the US was greatly affected. Every day the Soviet Union would grow further away from freedom and liberty, and every day America’s leaders would worry of what may come of this Socialist Power.
As other European countries began to revolt against this Tyrannical Dictatorship, the Soviet Union’s power began to deteriorate. One by one the countries would flee from this corrupt nation, making it that much harder for the Soviet Union to reach its goal, complete and total control, not only of Russia but of the world.
With all of this unrest, the Cold War began. It was the conflict between the Communists, led by the Soviet Union, and the Democratic nations, led by the United States. This was the effect of two opposing views on how people should live. In a Democratic Society everything is based upon the people. In a Communist Society, everything, I repeat everything, revolves around the Government. Obviously it was impossible to find common ground and a moderate compromise with such conflicting views. The US and many other nations knew what had to be done. The Soviet Union must be defeated, once and for all.
Not only was this a war on freedom and economics, but it was also a war on Power. At this time the Soviet Union and the United States were sharing the spot light. They were both considered the great powers of the world.
With the Soviet Union’s citizens’ hurting and the overall welfare declining, at an excessive rate, the United States, and other democracies, knew that something had to be done. With Gorbachev aware of the threats from other countries, he made the decision make a few “changes”. He wanted to exhibit himself as a patriot. He began releasing prisoners and giving people freedom of speech, to a certain extent.
Some people were conned by this “nationalistic” act, but the US Government was not fooled. Following these changes, President Reagan gave his forever honored speech. As President Reagan declared his dedication to this cause he spoke directly to Gorbachev, he said:
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!
The passion was ignited and the freedom bell was certainly ringing. It was not long after this speech that the Soviet Union began to dissolve. On December 31, 1991, the Soviet Union was defeated once and for all. Democracy once again reigned supreme. The United States of America was once again the world’s Superpower. The end of this Communist dictatorship was a new beginning for democracies everywhere.
Although it was an excruciating hard time for many countries trying to rebuild their economy and their futures, it was a bold step towards a better tomorrow. Democracy, Freedom, and Liberty shined through all of the bad, giving people hope for a brighter future.
President Reagan’s remarks on East-West relations at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, Germany on June 12, 1987