If you’re a Ronald Reagan fan, then you may be familiar with his famous “Berlin Wall” speech. In 1987, President Reagan made history when he asked Soviet politician Mikhail Gorbachev to break down the great barrier that separated East and West Germany. Find out what happened on the day that Reagan commanded Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall.

Wall of Berlin

How did the Berlin Wall become a thing anyway? After Germany lost World War II in 1945, they split up their nation into four divisions. Three western areas were dominated by the Americans, British, and French, while the Soviets still had a stronghold in the eastern area. By May 1949, three of the western sections combined to form the Federal Republic of Germany, and the eastern section became the German Democratic Republic. Three years later, the borderline between East and West Germany was closed. Even worse, the infamous Berlin Wall was sprung into existence in 1961.

Tear me down

The construction of the Berlin Wall literally meant that the people residing in East Germany couldn’t even visit West Germany without express permission. However, that didn’t stop more than 2.5 million Eastern Germans from escaping to West Germany between 1949 and 1961. Things took a change for the better when Reagan stepped in to regulate. On June 12, 1987, Reagan implored Gorbachev to destroy the atrocious wall, saying “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

A great day for freedom

Fortunately enough, Reagan’s epic speech led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall just two years later. On  November 9, 1989, the East and West Germans gleefully wrecked the tyrannical partition. In October 1990,  East and West Berlin finally became one again in October 1990. This extraordinary event served to cement Reagan as the ultimate advocate for peace.