Built in 1961, the Berlin Wall became known as a symbol of communism. Arriving in Berlin on June 12th, 1987, U.S President Ronald Reagan was taken to the Reichstag, where he viewed the wall from a balcony. Reagan then made his speech at the Brandenburg Gate at 2 PM, in front of two panes of bulletproof glass protecting him from potential snipers in East Berlin. About 45,000 people were in attendance; among the spectators were German president Richard von Weizsäcker, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and Berlin mayor Eberhard Diepgen. That afternoon, Reagan issued challenge to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, saying:
We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!