In 1987, speechwriter Peter Robinson was told by US diplomats to write a speech for Reagan’s visit to the Berlin Wall, but was warned against any “commie bashing.” Thankfully, he didn’t take their advice but instead wrote from the heart for all those who had suffered from communism. Reagan loved what he wrote and on June 12th gave the speech that changed history. “Tear Down This Wall” became an iconic moment of the Cold War.
By the time the wall finally was torn down, 5,000 had attempted to cross it, most ending up in brutal labor camps and about 200 killed on the spot. And yet, so unhappy was life behind the Iron Curtain, that young people in particular never stopped trying to breach it. The following films remember the Wall and its victims.
Inspired by these heroic escape attempts, a young George Lucas, later of Star Wars fame, would make one of his earliest short films, Freiheit.