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Encyclopedia > Ich bin ein Berliner

"Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a citizen of Berlin") is a famous quotation from a June 26, 1963 speech of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin. He was underlining the support of the United States for democratic West Germany shortly after the Soviet-supported Communist state of East Germany erected the Berlin Wall as a barrier to prevent movement between East and West. Location of Berlin within Germany / EU Coordinates Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2) Administration Country NUTS Region DE3 City subdivisions 12 boroughs Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) Governing parties SPD / Left. ... is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The presidential seal is a well-known symbol of the presidency. ... John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), also referred to as John F. Kennedy, JFK, John Kennedy or Jack Kennedy, was the 35th President of the United States. ... Boroughs of West Berlin West Berlin was the name given to the western part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. ... Democracy is a form of government under which the power to alter the laws and structures of government lies, ultimately, with the citizenry. ... Soviet redirects here. ... This article is about a form of government in which the state operates under the control of a Communist Party. ... GDR redirects here. ... East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, November 20, 1961. ...


The speech is considered one of Kennedy's best, and a notable moment of the Cold War. It was a great morale boost for West Berliners, who lived in an enclave deep inside East Germany and feared a possible East German occupation. Speaking from the balcony of Rathaus Schöneberg, Kennedy said, For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... GDR redirects here. ... Rathaus Schöneberg The Rathaus Schöneberg is the city hall for the Borough of Schöneberg in Berlin. ...

Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis romanus sum [I am a Roman citizen]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner'...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!' Civis romanus sum is a latin locution meaning I am a Roman citizen, that indicated membership to Roman civilization and implied, in wider sense, all the rights (and duties) associated with such a state (Cicero, In Verrem 11, V, 162). ... Motto Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent. ...

Plaque commemorating Kennedy's speech next to the front entrance of Rathaus Schöneberg
Plaque commemorating Kennedy's speech next to the front entrance of Rathaus Schöneberg

Kennedy came up with the phrase at the last moment, as well as the idea to say it in German. Kennedy asked his interpreter Robert H. Lochner to translate "I am a Berliner" only as they walked up the stairs at the Rathaus (City Hall). With Lochner's help, Kennedy practiced the phrase in the office of then-Mayor Willy Brandt, and in his own hand made a cue card with phonetic spelling.(The cue card) According to Lochner, Kennedy's National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy felt the speech had gone "a little too far", and the two revised the text for a softer stance before repeating the speech at the Free University later that day.[1] Image File history File links Tafel_Kennedy. ... Image File history File links Tafel_Kennedy. ... Rathaus Schöneberg The Rathaus Schöneberg is the city hall for the Borough of Schöneberg in Berlin. ... Robert Lochner (October 20, 1918 - September 21, 2003) was a journalist who helped to revive the free media in West Germany after World War II and who is most well-known for assisting John F. Kennedy with his famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech in 1963. ... The following List of Mayors of Berlin shows all the mayors of Berlin, Germany since 1809: 1809-1948 Leopold von Gerlach Johann Büsching Friedrich von Bärensprung Heinrich Wilhelm Krausnick Franz Christian Naunyn Karl Theodor Seydel Arthur Hobrecht Max von Forckenbeck Robert Zelle Martin Kirschner Adolph Wermuth Gustav B... Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm (December 18, 1913 - October 8, 1992), was a German politician, Chancellor of West Germany 1969 – 1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 1964 – 1987. ... Cue cards are cards that help a person to remember. ... The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor, serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues. ... McGeorge Bundy (1967) McGeorge Mac Bundy (March 30, 1919–September 16, 1996) was United States National Security Advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson from 1961–1966, and was president of the Ford Foundation from 1966–1979. ... Satellite photo of Berlin. ...


This message of defiance was aimed as much at the Soviets as it was at Berliners, and was a clear statement of U.S. policy in the wake of the construction of the Berlin Wall. However, Kennedy was criticized for making a speech that acknowledged Berlin's status quo as reality. The official status of Berlin at the time was that it was under joint occupation by the four Allied powers, each with primary responsibility for a certain zone. Up to this point the U.S. had asserted that this was its status, even though the actual situation was far different. Kennedy's speech marked the first instance where the U.S. acknowledged that East Berlin was part of the Soviet bloc along with the rest of East Germany. The critics felt that Kennedy had given up the moral high ground and given in to Soviet pressure and that he needed to be more idealistic, and that the Soviets did not have the power to change the legal situation solely with bulldozers and guns. East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, November 20, 1961. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... The Allies of World War II were the countries officially opposed to the Axis powers during the Second World War. ... East Berlin was the name given to the eastern part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. ... A map of the Eastern Bloc. ...


There are commemorative sites to Kennedy in Berlin, such as the John F. Kennedy German-American School Berlin and the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies of the Free University of Berlin. Also, the public square in front of the Rathaus Schöneberg (where Kennedy made the famous speech) has been named "John-F.-Kennedy-Platz" and there is a small plaque dedicated to Kennedy near the entrance of the building. Satellite photo of Berlin. ... John-F.-Kennedy-Platz (John F. Kennedy Square), formerly Rudolph-Wilde-Platz, in Berlin-Schöneberg contains the former city hall of West Berlin (Rathaus Schöneberg). ...

Contents

Background

Main article: History of Berlin

Germany's capital, Berlin, was deep within the area controlled after World War II by the Soviet army. Initially governed in four sectors controlled by the United States, United Kingdom, France, and USSR, tensions of the Cold War escalated until the Soviet forces implemented the Berlin Blockade, which the Western allies relieved with the dramatic airlift. Berlin is the capital city of reunited Germany. ... Location of Berlin within Germany / EU Coordinates Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2) Administration Country NUTS Region DE3 City subdivisions 12 boroughs Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) Governing parties SPD / Left. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Soviet redirects here. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... Occupation zones after 1945. ... The Soviet Union blocked Western rail and road access to West Berlin from June 24, 1948 - May 11, 1949. ...


Afterward, the sectors controlled by the NATO Allies became an effective exclave of West Germany, completely surrounded by East Germany. From 1952, the border between East and West was closed everywhere but Berlin. Hundreds of thousands of East Germans defected to the West via West Berlin, a labour drain that threatened East Germany with economic collapse. NATO 2002 Summit in Prague. ... D is Bs exclave, but is not an enclave. ... 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. ...


In 1961 the East German government under Walter Ulbricht erected a barbed-wire barrier around West Berlin. It was officially called the antifaschistischer Schutzwall (anti-fascist protective barrier), and the East German authorities argued that it was meant to prevent spies and agents of West Germany (which they considered a fascist state) from crossing into the East. However, it was universally known as the Berlin Wall and the majority opinion was that its primary purpose was to keep East German citizens from escaping to the West. Over a period of months the wall was rebuilt using concrete, and buildings were demolished to create a "death zone" in view of East German guards armed with machine guns. In 1962 the first attempted escape leading to a fatal shooting took the life of Peter Fechter. 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1961 calendar). ... Walter Ulbricht (June 30, 1893 – August 1, 1973) was a German communist statesman. ... Members of the Dutch Eindhoven Resistance with troops of the US 101st Airborne in Eindhoven in September 1944. ... East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, November 20, 1961. ... A machine gun is a fully-automatic firearm that is capable of firing bullets in rapid succession. ... Year 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Portrait photograph of Peter Fechter Peter Fechter (14 January 1944 – 17 August 1962) was a bricklayer from East Berlin, who at the age of eighteen became one of the first victims of the Berlin Walls border guards. ...


The West, including the U.S., was accused of failing to respond forcefully to the erection of the Wall. On July 25, 1961, with the April Bay of Pigs fiasco still fresh, President Kennedy broadcast a Presidential address. Kennedy insisted that America would defend West Berlin, asserting its Four-Power rights, while making it clear that challenging the Soviet presence in Germany was not possible. July 25 is the 206th day of the year (207th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1961 calendar). ... Combatants Cubans trained by Soviet advisers Cuban exiles trained by the United States Commanders Fidel Castro José Ramón Fernández Francisco Ciutat de Miguel Grayston Lynch Pepe San Roman Erneido Oliva Strength 51,000 1,500 Casualties various estimates; over 1,600 dead (Triay p. ... The Potsdam Agreement, or the Potsdam Proclamation, was an agreement on policy for the occupation and reconstruction of Germany and other nations after fighting in the European Theatre of World War II had ended with the German surrender of May 8, 1945. ...


"Jelly doughnut" urban legend

According to an urban legend, Kennedy made a slightly embarrassing grammatical error by saying "Ich bin ein Berliner," referring to himself not as a citizen of Berlin, but as a common pastry: Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1176x826, 828 KB)Image of a Berliner (pastry), GFDL, from German Wikipedia File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1176x826, 828 KB)Image of a Berliner (pastry), GFDL, from German Wikipedia File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Berliner with plum jam filling A Berliner Pfannkuchen is a predominantly German pastry made from sweet yeast dough baked in fat, which has a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top. ... An urban legend or urban myth is similar to a modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. ... Location of Berlin within Germany / EU Coordinates Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2) Administration Country NUTS Region DE3 City subdivisions 12 boroughs Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) Governing parties SPD / Left. ...

Kennedy should have said "Ich bin Berliner" to mean "I am a person from Berlin." By adding the indefinite article ein, his statement implied he was a non-human Berliner, thus "I am a jelly doughnut". An article is a word that is put next to a noun to indicate the type of reference being made to the noun. ...

The legend stems from a play on words with Berliner, the name of a doughnut variant filled with jam or plum sauce that is thought to have originated in Berlin. Berliner with plum jam filling A Berliner Pfannkuchen is a predominantly German pastry made from sweet yeast dough baked in fat, which has a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top. ... Doughnuts being glazed at a Krispy Kreme store in Sydney, Australia. ...


In fact, the statement is grammatically correct and cannot be misunderstood in that context. The urban legend is largely unknown in Germany, where Kennedy's speech is considered a landmark in the country's postwar history. The indefinite article ein can be and often is omitted when speaking of an individual's profession or residence (ex: "Er ist Soldat" for "He is a soldier") but including it is merely redundant, not ambiguous.


The origins of the legend are obscure. One prominent instance of its re-telling was in 1988 when William J. Miller erroneously wrote in an April 30 New York Times article: Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar). ... William Jennings Miller (March 12, 1899 - November 22, 1950) was a U.S. Representative from Connecticut. ... is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. ...

What they did not know, but could easily have found out, was that such citizens never refer to themselves as "Berliners." They reserve that term for a favorite confection often munched at breakfast. So, while they understood and appreciated the sentiments behind the President's impassioned declaration, the residents tittered among themselves when he exclaimed, literally, "I am a jelly-filled doughnut."

In fact, the opposite is true: The citizens of Berlin do refer to themselves as Berliner; what they do not refer to as Berliner are jelly doughnuts. While these are known as "Berliner" in other areas of Germany, they are simply called Pfannkuchen (pancakes) in and around Berlin. Thus, the merely theoretical ambiguity would have gone unnoticed by Kennedy's overwhelmingly local audience in the referenced historic event. The pun itself is constructed from the homonymous Berliner (personal origin and common pastry) but along with a personal pronoun there is only one common interpretation left. That is why the legend claims a grammatical error that would push it around - which is untrue in fact. A pun (also known as paronomasia) is a figure of speech, or word play which consists of a deliberate confusion of similar words within a phrase or phrases for rhetorical effect, whether humorous or serious. ... Personal pronouns are pronouns often used as substitutes for proper or common nouns. ...


Although it has no basis in fact, the legend has since been repeated by reputable media, such as the BBC [2], The Guardian [3], MSNBC [4], CNN [5], Time magazine [6], and in several books about Germany written by English-speaking authors, including Norman Davies [7]. The British Broadcasting Corporation,which is usually known as the BBC, is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world in terms of audience numbers, employing 26,000 staff in the United Kingdom alone and with a budget of more than GB£4 billion. ... The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ... MSNBC, a combination of MSN and NBC, is a 24-hour cable news channel in the United States and Canada, and a news website. ... The Cable News Network, commonly known as CNN, is a major cable television network founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. ... Time (whose trademark is capitalized TIME) is a weekly American newsmagazine, similar to Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. ... Norman Davies, Warsaw (Poland), October 7, 2004 Norman Davies (born June 8, 1939 in Bolton, Lancashire) is an English historian of Welsh descent, noted for his publications on the history of Poland, Europe and the British Isles. ...


As for the creation of the speech, it had been reviewed by journalist Robert Lochner, who was educated in Germany, and had been practiced several times in front of numerous Germans, including Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt. The many video and audio recordings of the event show only enthusiastic applause following the statement. During the speech Kennedy used the phrase twice, ending his speech on it. However, Kennedy did pronounce the sentence with his Boston accent, reading from his note "ish bin ein Bearleener," which he had written out phonetically. Robert Lochner (October 20, 1918 - September 21, 2003) was a journalist who helped to revive the free media in West Germany after World War II and who is most well-known for assisting John F. Kennedy with his famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech in 1963. ... Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm (December 18, 1913 - October 8, 1992), was a German politician, Chancellor of West Germany 1969 – 1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 1964 – 1987. ... The Boston accent is the English dialect not only of the city of Boston, Massachusetts itself, but more generally of all of eastern New England; some form of it can be heard commonly in an area stretching throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, southern Maine, and eastern Connecticut. ...


The phrase and the legend in fiction and popular culture

  • In the X-Files episode "Schizogeny", Mulder erroneously tells a teen with the poster "Ich bin ein Auslander" (mistakenly spelled Auslander, correct spelling is Ausländer) that when Kennedy said "Ich bin ein Berliner" he was saying "I am a cocktail sausage", leading to the teen's response: "Who's Kennedy?".
  • The legend also appears in Berlin Game, the first book in Len Deighton's Game, Set, Match trilogy. Deighton describes German cartoonists drawing "talking doughnuts" the next day, but there is no historical evidence for this.
  • The short story "Told You So" by Esther M. Friesner in the 1992 alternate-history anthology Alternate Kennedys has Kennedy being granted the ability to have his every utterance become reality and being turned into a jelly donut when he says the famous phrase.
  • According to British comedian Alexei Sayle, prior to the speech Kennedy wrapped himself in black plastic. He then entered the podium and proclaimed: "Ich bin ein Binliner".
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry makes a reference to the "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech when Elaine displays her interest in JFK Jr. Commentary subtitles to the DVD mistakenly report the "jelly doughnut" legend as fact.
  • Artist Achim Mentzel released a CD titled Ich bin ein Berliner with a track of the same name.
  • The famous parts of the speech are heavily sampled in the The Passage's song "brd usa ddr jfk" from their 1983 album Enflame.
  • In an episode of The Tick, the Tick is sent to Antwerp, Belgium and ends up proclaiming "Ich bin ein Berliner." to a stupefied audience.
  • In 1983, then U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush while visiting Mödlareuth exclaimed, "Ich bin ein Mödlareuther!"[8].
  • In episode 7 of Sealab 2021, "Little Orphan Angry", the orphan boy says of Griff's banking scam, "Ich bin impressed!"
    • A later episode of Sealab, ""Craptastic Voyage, features Tornado Shanks with a tiny submarine in his brain that crashes into his language center. Shanks promptly mutters the line: "Ich bin ein Berliner" to which John F. Kennedy shows up stating: "Hey, hey, that's my line, tumorface!"

"Well, what happened was, a former president of the United States went to Berlin, Germany, and he shouted at the crowd: 'Ich bin ein Berliner!!' Now, for some reason which I cannot fathom, he was trying to say, 'I am a resident of Berlin!!' (He wasn't.) But, for some reason which I also cannot fathom, he was actually saying : 'I am a jelly doughnut!' X-Files intro from first 8 seasons The X-Files was a popular 1990s American science fiction television series created by Chris Carter. ... Dos Dedos Mis Amigos is the last album from UK alternative band Pop Will Eat Itself. ... Pop Will Eat Itself (also known as PWEI or the Poppies) were an English band formed in Stourbridge, with band members from Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country. ... November 3 is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 58 days remaining. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... Eddie Vedder (born Edward Louis Severson III on December 23, 1964) is the lead singer and one of three guitar players for the rock band Pearl Jam. ... Pearl Jam is an American rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. ... Edward John Eddie Izzard (born February 7, 1962) is an English[1] stand-up comedian and actor, known for his cross-dressing. ... Eddie Izzards performance of Dress To Kill is a continuation of the British comedians surrealist, ideas-based comedy. ... Terence David John Pratchett OBE (born April 28, 1948, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England[1]) is an English fantasy author, best known for his Discworld series. ... Monstrous Regiment is the 31st novel in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ... Sam Vimes is a fictional policeman from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series. ... Borogravia is a fictional country in Terry Pratchetts Discworld series of novels. ... Berlin Game is a 1983 spy novel by Len Deighton. ... Len Deighton (left) teaches Michael Caine how to break an egg on the set of The Ipcress File. ... A trilogy is a set of three works of art, usually literature or film, that are connected and can generally be seen as a single work as well as three individual ones. ... Esther Friesner is an American science fiction and fantasy author best known for her humorous pieces. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ... Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as the shorter title Animaniacs, is an American animated television series, distributed by Warner Bros. ... For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ... The Gettysburg Address is the most famous speech of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and one of the most quoted speeches in United States history. ... Alexei David Sayle is a British comedian, actor and author. ... Seinfeld is an Emmy Award-winning sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, running a total of 9 seasons. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... The Passage: For All and None Album Sleve, 1981 The Passage were a post-punk band from Manchester, UK who appeared on several record labels including Cherry Red Records and their own label Night & Day. ... See also: 1983 in music (UK) Musical groups established in 1983 Record labels established in 1983 // Michael Jacksons Thriller, the most successful album not only of 1983, but of all time, was released in 1982 and began its epic domination of the music charts the following year, 1983. ... The Tick is the name of a series of comic books and an animated TV series created in 1986 by Ben Edlund, following the exploits of a blue-skinned muscular man named The Tick who fights crime in a place simply called The City. He is an absurdist spoof of... George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States, serving from 1989 to 1993. ... Open-air museum Open-air museum Mödlareuth is a German village situated partly in Bavaria and partly in Thuringia. ... Sealab 2021 was an American animated television series shown on Cartoon Networks adult-oriented programming block, Adult Swim. ... The language center is part of the human brain cortex where most of language processing takes place. ... Finding Cassie Crazy (Titled The Year of Secret Assignments outside of Australia and the UK. ) is a novel by Jaclyn Moriarty. ...


References

  1. ^ Robert Lochner. Teaching JFK German. CNN.com. Retrieved on 2006-09-24.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1575291,00.html
  7. ^ Norman Davies, Europe: A History, New York 1998, p. 1113
  8. ^ 'Little Berlin' marks 40th anniversary of its own Cold War wall

Robert Lochner (October 20, 1918 - September 21, 2003) was a journalist who helped to revive the free media in West Germany after World War II and who is most well-known for assisting John F. Kennedy with his famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech in 1963. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... September 24 is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Ich bin ein Berliner

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ich bin ein Berliner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2272 words)
"Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a citizen of Berlin") is a famous quotation from a June 26, 1963 speech of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin.
However, it was universally known as the Berlin Wall and the majority opinion was that its primary purpose was to keep East German citizens from escaping to the West.
Common souvenirs in Berlin depicting a doughnut covered with the inscription "Ich bin ein Berliner," which are often thought by American tourists to refer to this legend, represent little more than a contemporary play on words.
John F. Kennedy Speech - Ich bin ein Berliner (852 words)
Berlin, former capital of Hitler's Reich, became the political hot spot in this new 'cold' war.
In 1948, the Soviets conducted a temporary blockade of West Berlin's railroads, highways and waterways.
I want to say, on behalf of my countrymen, who live many miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, who are far distant from you, that they take the greatest pride that they have been able to share with you, even from a distance, the story of the last 18 years.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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