Wednesday, June 26, 1963: JFK in West Berlin


     Police lines buckled, ecstatic women swooned and the old streets shook to endless chants of "KEN-NAH-DEE." Storming into West Germany last week to begin a tour that would take him to Ireland to visit Irish kin, and then to England and Italy, the President looked like a campaigner -- and it was on purpose.
     With the racial crisis bloodily evident on its front pages, the press of America had advised him to stay at home. But he went -- to speak out against the damage inflicted on the Atlantic alliance by France's disruptive President Charles de Gaulle, and to assure Europe of America's steadfastness as an ally in peace or war.
     From the start there was no doubt about how the German people felt. Millions jammed the streets to wave American flags at his motorcade and cheer his speeches. In Berlin he even attracted a pathetic group of handkerchief-waving East Berliners. The measure of the success of the visit lay in Kennedy's quick and warm accord with the hard-bitten old German chancellor, Konrad Adenauer.
     In a forceful statement of principles, the President hammered on the need for constant transatlantic partnership and trust between the United States and a "fully cohesive Europe." He pledged to lay American cities on the line in defense of those in Europe, and the roar of approval in Germany was matched only by the silence from France.
    -- Life magazine, July 5, 1963. Complete magazine: @

The index card at top shows the phonetic pronunciations Kennedy wrote down for three of the phrases in his June 26 speech: "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner), "civis Romanus sum" (I am a Roman citizen) and "Lass' sic nach Berlin kommen" (Let them come to Berlin). Photo from Corbis Images.

* Summary (from www.findingdulcinea.com): @
* Transcript and video (from Miller Center, University of Virginia): @
* Links to more footage (from www.criticalpast.com): @
* Audio (from JFK Library): @
* "Remarks at Free University of West Berlin" (materials from JFK Library): @
* "One Day in Berlin" (video from JFK Library): @
* "The Cold War in Berlin" (summary from JFK Library): @
* New York Times story: @ 
* "Kennedy in Berlin" (Andreas W. Daum, 2007): @
* "Kennedy and the Berlin Wall" (W.R. Smyser, 2009): @ 

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