Ich bin ein Berliner

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Coordinates: 52°29′06″N 13°20′40″E / 52.484932°N 13.344395°E / 52.484932; 13.344395 "Ich bin ein Berliner" (German pronunciation: [ˈɪç bɪn aɪn bɛʁˈliːnɐ], I am a Berliner) is a quotation from a June 26, 1963 speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin. He was underlining the support of the United States for West Germany 22 months after the Soviet-supported Communist state of East Germany erected the Berlin Wall as a barrier to prevent movement between East and West.

The speech is considered one of Kennedy's best, and a notable moment of the Cold War. It was a great morale boost for West Berliners, who lived in an exclave deep inside East Germany and feared a possible East German occupation. Speaking from a platform erected on the steps of Rathaus Schöneberg, Kennedy said,

Some reports claim that Kennedy came up with the phrase at the last moment, as well as the idea to say it in German. Kennedy asked his interpreter Robert H. Lochner to translate "I am a Berliner" only as they walked up the stairs at the Rathaus (City Hall). With Lochner's help, Kennedy practiced the phrase in the office of then-Mayor Willy Brandt, and in his own hand made a cue card with phonetic spelling. However, a U.S. Department of State language teacher wrote a 1997 account of visiting Kennedy at the White House weeks before the trip to help compose the speech and teach him the proper pronunciation.[1]

Kennedy's National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy thought the speech had gone "a little too far", and the two revised the text for a softer stance before repeating the speech at the Free University later that day.[2]

This message of defiance was aimed as much at the Soviets as it was at Berliners, and was a clear statement of U.S. policy in the wake of the construction of the Berlin Wall. However, Kennedy was criticized for making a speech that acknowledged Berlin's status quo as reality.[citation needed] The official status of Berlin at the time was that it was under joint occupation by the four Allied powers, each with primary responsibility for a certain zone. Up to this point the U.S. had asserted that this was its status, even though the actual situation was far different. Kennedy's speech marked the first instance where the U.S. acknowledged that East Berlin was part of the Soviet bloc along with the rest of East Germany.

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