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Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev had been discussing resolving the Cold War for a long time to no avail. Mikhail Gorbachev partially agreed to resolving the Cold War if Reagan stopped his SDI project (Strategic Defense Initiative). SDI was a missile defense system that would use strategic ballistic missiles to combat possible Soviet attacks.The Berlin wall was built because during the early years of the Cold War, West Berlin was a geographical loophole through which thousands of East Germans fled to the democratic West. In response, the Communist East German authorities built a wall that encircled West Berlin. The wall was built overnight and was heavily guarded to keep other Germans from fleeing to the West. 47,000 troops stood guard at the wall and were responsible for many deaths that occurred there. Throughout the 1950’s and into the early 1960’s, thousands of people from East Berlin crossed over into West Berlin to reunite with families and escape communist repression. In an effort to stop that outflow, the government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries.
In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin. The U.S. government responded angrily. Commanders of U.S. troops in West Berlin even began to make plans to bulldoze the wall, but gave up on the idea when the Soviets moved armored units into position to protect it. The West German government was furious with America’s lack of action, but President John F. Kennedy believed that “A wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” In an attempt to reassure the West Germans that the United States was not abandoning them, Kennedy traveled to the Berlin Wall in June 1963, and famously declared, “Ich bin ein Berliner!” (“I am a Berliner!”). Since the word “Berliner” was commonly referred to as a jelly doughnut throughout most of Germany, Kennedy’s improper use of German grammar was also translated as “I am a jelly doughnut.” However, due to the context of his speech, Kennedy’s intended meaning that he stood together with West Berlin in its rivalry with communist East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic was understood by the German people.
Reagan and Gorbachev had formed a mutual friendship with each other but had also had frequent disagreements. Gorbachev wanted Reagan to shut down the SDI or the Strategic Defense Initiative which was designed to protect the U.S. from ballistic strategic nuclear weapons. Reagan and Gorbachev’s agreement is what ended the Cold War. Reagan and Gorbachev had a series of meetings and conferences but after one meeting where Reagan refused to shut down the SDI program they left on bad terms with both highly disappointed. After that disappointing meeting Reagan made a speech at the Brandenburg Gate demanding Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was built by the communists to keep in the Germans and it had stayed their even after that timeline. Gorbachev then began to see from Reagan’s point of view and agreed to sign a peace treaty between Russia and the U.S. to stop the Cold War. The wall was torn down two years later by East and West Germans.
In 1945, following Germany’s defeat in World War II, the nation’s capital, Berlin, was divided into four sections, with the Americans, British, and French controlling the western region and the soviets gaining power in the eastern region.
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