Kennedy at the Berlin Wall


President Kennedy at the Berlin Wall, 26 June 1963. Robert Knudsen took this photo for the White House at Berlin Wall’s most notorious crossing points, Checkpoint Charlie. He was watched from the other side of the border by small groups of East Berliners unable even to wave because of the presence of large groups of the East German People’s Police.

Later that day, Kennedy gave a public speech attended by five-sixths of the population. Criticizing communism, Kennedy spoke, “Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in.” Humbly noting, “I appreciate my interpreter translating my German!”, JFK spoke two phrases in German: “Ich bin ein Berliner” and “Laßt sie nach Berlin kommen”. 


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