Remarks By President Clinton and Chancellor Kohl in an Address to the People Of Berlin [July 12, 1994]

THE WHITE HOUSE/ Office of the Press Secretary (Berlin, Germany)


For Immediate Release July 12, 1994



CHANCELLOR KOHL: Mr. President, I am delighted to be able to welcome you and your spouse here to Berlin, the capital of Germany. (Applause.)

For over 40 years this city was divided. As such, it was a visible reminder to the whole world that the division of Germany and of Europe had to be overcome. For more than 40 years American soldiers were stationed here in Berlin. They provided protection and assistance for the citizens in the free part of the city, often at the risk of their lives. (Applause.)

Just as you, Mr. President, have come here today, so your predecessors made repeated visits to the city. They also came in difficult times to show the people of Berlin, all Germans and the whole world that the United States of America was and is prepared to defend peace and freedom. And we should like to thank you for this. (Applause.)

Over these past decades we Germans, Americans, French and British have together successfully withstood many tests here. Let me mention, by way of example, the Berlin airlift, the steadfastness during the Berlin crisis of 1948 and '49, and 1958 to 1961. And, not least, our consistent joint stance on the adoption of the NATO two-track decision in 1983.

Without the untiring and very personal commitment of the United States and its presidents, from Harry S. Truman to George Bush for the more than 40 years, Germany would not have regained its unity and peace and freedom. We Germans will never forget that. (Applause.)

Today, Mr. President, we can say that the German- American friendship is a sure foundation on which we can continue to build in the future. Together, we now have a tremendous opportunity to anchor lasting freedom, democracy and the rule of law in the countries of Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe as well.

However, the dreadful news reaching us daily from Bosnia shows that we still have a long way to go to attain this goal. We cannot and must not be satisfied with our achievements to date. The upheaval in Europe and our common future make demands of us all. Freedom imposes obligations.

Europe needs an America that plays a central role in matters of European security, and at the same time, America needs a Europe that assumes greater responsibility for itself and for international security. We Germans know that our security and our foreign policy capability depend on our being reliable partners and on our allies having confidence in us.

Precisely the experience of history demands that Germany does not stand on the sidelines when peace and freedom in Europe and the world are at stake. We Germans want to and must show the responsibility alongside our partners.

Mr. President, the bridge over the Atlantic has, until now, primarily served our joint security. I hope that the other lanes of the bridge will be quickly developed -- the economic, scientific and cultural ones. The German-American friendship must in the future continue to be firmly embedded in the hearts of the people, particularly the younger generation. Then, Mr. President, we will be able to meet the challenges of the future as partners in the spirit of shared responsibility for peace and freedom.

Long live the friendship between Germany and America. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Citizens of free Berlin, citizens of United Germany, Chancellor Kohl, Mayor Dietkin, Berliners the world over, thank you for this wonderful welcome to your magnificent city. (Applause.)

We stand together where Europe's heart was cut in half and we celebrate unity. We stand where crude walls of concrete separated mother from child, and we meet as one family. We stand where those who sought a new life instead found death. And we rejoice in renewal.

Berliners, you have won your long struggle. (Applause.) You have proved that no wall can forever contain the mighty power of freedom. (Applause.)

Within a few years, an American president will visit a Berlin that is again the seat of your government. And I pledge to you today a new American embassy will also stand in Berlin. (Applause.)

Half a century has passed since Berlin was first divided -- 33 years since the Wall went up. In that time, one half of this city lived encircled, and the other half enslaved. But one force endured: your courage. Your courage has taken many forms -- the bold courage of June 17th, 1953 when those trapped in the east threw stones at the tanks of tyranny; the quiet courage to lift children above the Wall so that their grandparents on the other side could see those they loved but could not touch; the inner courage to reach for the ideas that make you free; and the civil courage -- civile courage -- of five years ago when, starting in the strong hearts and candlelit streets of Leipzig, you turned your dreams of a better life into the chisels of liberty. (Applause.)

Now, you who found the courage to endure, to resist, to tear down the Wall, must found a new civile courage -- the courage to build. The Berlin Wall is gone. Now our generation must decide, what will we build in its place. Standing here today, we can see the answer -- a Europe where all nations are independent and democratic; where free markets and prosperity know no borders; where our security is based on building bridges, not walls; where all our citizens can go as far as their God-given abilities will take them and raise their children in peace and hope.

The work of freedom is not easy. It requires discipline, responsibility and a faith strong enough to endure failure and criticism. And it requires vigilance. Here, in Germany, in the United States, and throughout the entire world, we must reject those who would divide us with scalding words about race, ethnicity, or religion. (Applause.)

I appeal especially to the young people of this nation -- believe you can live in peace with those who are different from you. Believe in your own future. Believe you can make a difference and summon your own courage to build, and you will. (Applause.)

There is reason for you to believe. Already, the new future is taking shape in the growing chorus of voices that speak the common language of democracy. In the growing economies of Western Europe, the United States and our partners. In the progress of economic reform, democracy and freedom in lands that were not free. In NATO's Partnership for Peace where 21 nations have joined in military cooperation and pledge to respect each other's borders.

It is to all of you in pursuit of that new future that I say in the name of the pilots whose airlift kept Berlin alive, in the name of the sentries at Checkpoint Charlie who stood face-to-face with enemy tanks, in the name of every American president who has come to Berlin, in the name of the American forces who will stay in Europe to guard freedom's future -- in all of their names, I say "Amerika steht an ihrer Seite, jetzt und fuer immer." (Applause.)

America is on your side now and forever. Moments ago, with my friend, Chancellor Kohl, I walked where my predecessors could not, through the Brandenburg Gate. For over two centuries in every age, that gate has been a symbol of the time. Sometimes it has been a monument to conquest and a tower of tyranny.

But in our own time, you, courageous Berliners, have again made the Brandenburg what its builders meant it to be -- a gateway. Brandenburg what its builders meant it to be, a gateway. (Applause.) Now, together, we can walk through that gateway to our destiny, to a Europe united, united in peace, united in freedom, united in progress for the first time in history. Nothing will stop us. All things are possible. "Nichts wird uns aufhalten. Alles ist moeglich. Berlin ist frei." (Applause.) Berlin is free. (Applause.)

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