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WATCH: Today in 1963, JFK made this speech...

The ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech became one of the US president’s most famous addresses.

Image: AP Photo/Byron Rollins/PA File

FORTY-NINE YEARS ago today, then-US President John F Kennedy was on an official visit to Berlin when he gave what became one of the most famous speeches ever made.

Having just visited the controversial – and dangerous – Checkpoint Charlie crossing between East and West Berlin, Kennedy addressed the huge West German crowd gathered outside the city’s Schoeneberg Rathaus and told them “Ich bin ein Berliner”.

Speaking at a tense time in the Cold War and in Berlin, Kennedy said: “Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in to prevent them from leaving us.”

“Freedom is indivisible. And when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country… All free men, wherever they may live are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner.”
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