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Andrew Norton
Professor Collins
ENGL 1302
15 February 2016
Combatting Communism
On June 26th 1963, John F. Kennedy gave a speech to the city of West Berlin. During this
time the city of Berlin was physically divided by the Berlin Wall. The western end a democracy
and the eastern side controlled by the communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the
world was divided on whether to side with the west or to side with the new ideas presented by
communism in the east. Through the establishment of ethos, the use of pathos, and repetition in
John F. Kennedys Ich bin ein Berliner speech highlighted the need of the world to rally around
West Berlin and stop communism from harming other places like Berlin.
In his speech, John F. Kennedy gains credibility from the audience by tapping into their
pride and by using praise to help send his message. In his address he awards Berlin with the
quote, Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum. Today, in the world
of freedom the proudest boasts is Ich bin ein Berliner (Kennedy par. 2). This praise makes the
listener feel pride for their country. Throughout the speech he also compliments the city and he is
continually thanking them for allowing him to come to speak. Because of this he is able to make
it seem that he truly cares about Berlin, making the audience listen and respect his voiced
opinion. This allows him to send his message and when he does that the people of the world will
resonate with him, not just the people or Berlin and Germany as a whole. John F. Kennedy
obtains the audiences respect and gains credibility by showing his respect for the people of
Berlin and Germany in entirety

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John F. Kennedy utilizes pathos to make the listeners side with West Berlin, Germany and
the rest of the western world. In the address, John F. Kennedy talks about the Berlin wall and
how it hurts the people of Berlin and Germany overall. While talking about the wall Kennedy
says, An offense not only against history but an offense against humanity, separating families,
dividing husbands and wives, and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be
joined together (par. 8). He explains how the wall divided the people of Berlin both physically
and ideologically. The speaker goes on to state how unjust the division of a city against their will
is. Throughout the speech Kennedy is able to speak to the pride of the listeners to make the
audience feel proud to be from Germany and West Berlin because of how they have persevered
through the trials of war and then division of their people. He expands more to iterate that the
reason these things have happened is because of communism and how it has hurt the people of
Berlin. He uses the pain and the pride of the audience in hopes that they can overcome their
situation and to ultimately convince the rest of the world that communism is wrong and
dangerous. Kennedys ability to empathize and make the audience feel for Berlin is crucial to his
message that even though communism has harmed the city that they can continue to be
successful. This emotion will hopefully also convince others that communism is not the path they
should take to be successful and happy.
In his address Kennedy uses repetition to reiterate a message to the listener. During a
portion of the speech he addresses the world and people who may be on the fence on whether or
not they want to join with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and embrace communism. At
this point in the address he gives off different statements that people have said about
communism. People thought that maybe they can work with communism, that communism is the
way of the future, and that even if it is evil it is a way to progress their economy. Some even

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question what the issue is between communism and the western world. In response to all of those
ideas and sentiments he says, Let them come to Berlin (Kennedy par. 4-7). This address is used
to tell those on the fence or those who may even support communism that it is dangerous to
society. He reiterates his idea to engrain the idea of Berlin and their struggles. He does this
wishing that many will be swayed by the way Berlin and Germany as a whole has been damaged
by this experience. Kennedy hopes that not only will it move people away from communism, but
that it may become a sort of rallying cry for the free world against communism to remind those
of the dangers others may be accepting if they were to utilize communism.
Through the use of rhetorical devices John F. Kennedy is able to educate the world about
communism and to thank Berlin for its perseverance to try and stay free and successful while it is
divided by two different ideas along with a physical separation by the Berlin Wall. He is
successful in convincing the world of the dangers of communism even if the success came well
after his death. He was able to convince the world that the only way to be truly free is to reject
communism and to join sides with the western world. Even if the divide in Berlin came after his
death without his influence the wall may still be up and communism may still have a foothold in
Eastern Europe.

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Works Cited
Kenndy, John F. Ich bin ein Berliner (I am a Berliner). American Rhetoric. American
Rhetoric, n.d. Web. 14 Feb, 2016.