Speaker’s Relationship with the Audience: The Brandenburg Gate Speech Ronald Reagan, the former president of the United States from 1981 to 1989, spoke in the Brandenburg Gate. Ronald Reagan gave his famous “Tear Down this Wall” speech in Berlin. Many people in Germany were ready for freedom and others wanted it as well. Many people felt there should be peace within the city. Ronald Reagan wanted to persuade the Soviets and Communists that change and openness was a great thing. Ronald Reagan’s speech was a sort of challenge to Gorbachev, to tear it down as a symbol for increasing freedom. 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.
President Ronal Reagan’ speech tried to persuade German people to believe that the unification of Berlin was possible, he achieved this through the use of one main rhetorical tool: the speaker’s relationship to the audience. This tool used German quotes, the identification of shared ideas, the exaltation of cultural qualities, the distinction of political group, and the classification of groups into a political stream to persuade.
Historical Background: The Brandenburg Gate The Brandenburg Gate, was built in 1791. It stands as Berlin’s arch of triumph. From 1961 to 1989 the Berlin Wall blocked the Brandenburg Gate. The wall divided Germany into two zones of ideological contention and political distrust during a time known as the Cold Was. The United States and its allies administrated West Germany; East Germany was under the control of the USSR. West Berlin was administrated by a group of allies, but was closely aligned with West Germany, which had its own government. Easter and Western Germans were denied access through the gate.
On the twenty-second of December 1989 after 28 years of division. East and West Berlin were reunified and the gate was reopened. Two years before the Gate was reopened, Ronald Reagan spoke in front of the Brandenburg Gate. In his speech he tried to persuade the German people to believe that the unification of Berlin was possible. He used the “wall” as a metaphor in describing oppression. Speaker’s relationship with audience through German quotes Ronald Reagan was able to build a relationship with the audience, German people, through the use of German quotes.
At the beginning of his speech he communicated how he felt welcomed in Berlin and how there was a connection between him and the place. He said, “You see, like so many Presidents before me, I come here today because wherever I go, whatever I do: “I still have a suitcase in Berlin”. Comment that he said the phrase in German alsoThe connection between the place and feelings made possible that the German audience felt that there was a relationship between them and the speaker.
It made feel the audience that he could understand for what they were going through at that time. President Ronal Reagan made them feel important showing them by “I still have a suitcase in Berlin” that he was going to help them to overcome that oppression by tearing down the wall. he’s not going to Moreover, the mention of an important political position like being the president of the United States, demonstrated authority showing them that even though he was in a place where he was a foreigner in Berlin, he still could help them.
The importance of Berlin as a place that had politically disputes, and later on, the attribution of some qualities to this place by a foreign actor gave importance to Berlin and encouraged empathy toward German people. Speaker’s relationship with the audience through the identification of shared ideas Having a feeling of unity and understanding, Ronald Reagan moved into a political idea that was well supported by German people given the previous feelings of agreement.
He used his speaker relationship with the audience to propose the concept of a unified Berlin, and then he highlighted this idea in German words: Our gathering today is being broadcast throughout Western Europe and North America. Though the command, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” was to become the rally cry of western civilization, the wall actually had little to do with President Reagan’s purpose. The President was there to market the American way of life.
He may have put his vocal emphasis on this now famous demand, but it was the more subtle enticements that President Reagan held out to the unseen listeners, trapped behind that wall, that were the catalysts for its destruction. President Reagan says: “Today in West Berlin there is the greatest industrial output of any city in Germany busy office blocks, fine homes and apartments, proud avenues, and the spreading lawns of parkland. Where a city’s culture seemed to have been destroyed, today there are two great universities, orchestras and an opera, countless theaters, and museums.
Where there was want, today there’s abundance-food, clothing, automobiles-the wonderful goods of the Ku’damm. ” To those on the other side, the east side, it must have sounded like a beautiful world. Those behind the wall were caught in the endless cycle of poverty, and the hunger and anger it generates. Those behind the wall were controlled by a totalitarian government, and brutalized by suppression. It was to these people that President Reagan spoke. They were his targets. Then he continued speaking “in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history.
In the Communist world, we see failure. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. ” After he has described the affluence of West Berlin, the President shows a picture of life in the Soviet Union. And that is when he slips in the subtle suggestion that would, most assuredly, occupy the collective consciousness of the oppressed: “Freedom leads to prosperity. “Freedom is the product, prosperity the benefit”.
Reagan made German people feel that the unification was a German idea; a hope that prevailed in the public opinion even while the political division existed. One Berlin was mainly a German desire, and something that foreign political friends supported. Thus, his ideas as a speaker were sustained because of this link with the audience. He also expressed the relationship through the media. Reagan maintained the German people from the East and West were linked through modern devices of communication and that in spite of ideological contention they were united in hope.
All were gathered hoping to see the Brandenburg gate opened and Reagan’s ideas fulfilled. Speaker’s relationship with the audience through the exaltation of cultural qualities Emphasizing his relationship with the audience, Reagan asserted that despite the adverse political conditions there were chances to have a unified Berlin. Past political, economic, and cultural recovery opened opportunities to believe that a future unification was possible. He emphasized that the positive attitude of the German people forecasted better political conditions that ultimately would consolidate and unify Germany.
From devastation, from utter ruin, you Berliners have, in freedom, rebuilt a city that once again ranks as one of the greatest on earth… Now the Soviets may have had other plans. But my friends, there were a few things the Soviets did not count on: “Berliner heart, Berliner humor, yes, and a Berliner Schnauze. ” The specific mention of German characteristics, associated with cultural behaviors and ideas, like humor, made German people believe that there was a connection between the speaker and the hopes that he had about Germany. Reagan’s audience saw a normal human being: They saw themselves and friends.
The manner, in which he speaks, as friends do, gives the German people a sense of fraternity. President Reagan was the most powerful man on the planet. He was a man that could speak and declare this truth, and he was a man that could encompass genuine humanness: Intimidating and stern to the enemy; relatable, and redeeming to his friends. Although President Reagan was an American, he has the ability to relate to the German people almost by becoming one. His reasons for coming to Germany are not only to perform his job, but for other, more selfish and human reasons.
Reagan remarked how Germany was a country that emerged from adverse political, economic, and social conditions and became a productive and competitive nation. In this way, not only did he create a connection between the audience and himself by recognizing their characteristics, he also used this relation to suggest that current present characteristics would change the political conditions of the future. He created a relationship between the audience and himself by suggesting that Germany would pass through unfavorable political conditions.
The Conclusion: Evaluating Reagan’s Persuasive Achievement Ronald Reagan persuaded the Germans in 1987 using a principal rhetorical took: the speaker’s relationship with the audience. President Reagan’s speech was greatly successful. Establishing his purpose and duty, becoming the friend to the oppressed and free. He used German expressions that put him in a position of understanding and cooperation with the Germans. He exalted German cultural behaviors, like people’s willingness to work, in orders to gain common ground where political ideas about the unification would have been accepted.
He explained how foreign countries supported a future where Eastern and Western Germany coexisted as one. This understanding created a defined identification of one political group and the possibility of acceptance of the ideas of that group. This group was the West, and Reagan was its speaker; he persuaded people to believe that the unification of Germany was possible. It is difficult to evaluate the exact degree in which Reagan persuaded German people to believe that the Brandenburg Gate would be opened again.
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