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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  November 9, 2014 8:14pm-8:26pm EST

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have fled their homeland, seeking only two things -- freedom and opportunity. decades of communist rule fly in shambles. -- lie in shambles. now we have today postern attic announcement. the ragtag communists trying to regain control are fighting a fight they cannot win, a fight against their own people. they are running at a pace they can't win, a race against history. havepeople in east germany left them with only one reasonable choice, to go down that poland and hungary are already taking. people are the masters of the state cannot the service. will they stay on that path? the jury is still out. borders can be closed as well as opened. free elections can turn out to be nothing more than talk.
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members are 11 holdovers, and they are undoubtedly still powerful --ces which you will see which will see all the recent developments as a torrent and will continue to push a communist government. this is an extraordinary moment in history of your. -- history of europe. have rapidlyngary moved but only after years of economic evolution. east germany is faced with making the same kinds of changes, literally overnight. there is a misstep in east germany now and the result could be cataclysmic. hopefully the east mentors will cancel common sense. -- counsel common sense.
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we should also be clear and prudent in our own. there is no equivocation in our goals. want freedom for east germany and its people. we wanted a positive announcement to be the real thing. we want to the berlin wall torn down and all other barriers to the free flow of people removed. we hope that east germany's transformcleave will into a new form of government. we should not do anything at this point which might needlessly add fuel to the fire. of the long-term future are critical issues, issues which will be affected by what will happen in these next days and weeks. issues that we must think about now. they are not issues were heated rhetoric right now. german history is at a critical crossroads.
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profound changes ahead. but for the moment, address first things first. --immediateing aspirations. will there be a real commitment to free elections? that is where our focus should be, the drama and the task of the moment. >> mr. president, distinguished majority leader, i commend the distinguished republican leader for his remarks, and would like now to address the same subject. morning, inunday june of 1955, i arrived in west berlin. officer in the
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united states army intelligence service. deep impression for me. before, i hads flown in an airplane for the first time, traveling from the united states to west germany. just that i before, i had made a trip in an overnight sleeper on a train, traveling from frankfurt to west berlin. but by far the greatest --ression made upon me then greatest impression made upon me then was coming face-to-face for the first time with the difference between democracy and totalitarianism. between freedom and communism.
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shortly after arriving in west berlin, i went to a large refugee center operated by the united states army to receive thousands of refugees fleeing ,ommunism in east germany poland, and czechoslovakia. during my time there, that's number reached over 3000 persons per week. those brave east germans, cze poles, all were demonstrating that the appeal of democracy was and is universal. in response to that human time, withast german government,
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the help of the soviet allies, built the infamous wall. i believe then -- believed then is believe now that the wall the most tangible symbol of the failure of communism that exists. for a devon -- for it demonstrated for the world to see, in the most stark and even barbaric way, that the only way the east german government could keep their people within their country was to prevent them from leaving their country. years, the berlin wall has stood as a symbol of
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the failure of communism. that failure occurring over time, and now it is evident that the communists, themselves, came to the east german leaders. today'sus decision -- decision, not an active democracy, not an act to placate the west, but a desperate act of survival by the east german government, to prevent their people to leave, represents the symbolic destruction of the berlin wall. ironic way but serves a useful purpose, because it has reminded on a daily basis every person in this world of the vast difference between
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democracy and communism. society which forces its people to remain cannot ultimately succeed. now that the berlin wall has been symbolically destroyed, all that remains is for it to be physically destroyed. the east german government and president gorbachev of the soviet union steptly to take the final and to tear that while down. -- wall down. it is gone in substance. it should be gone inform. -- in form. the east german people are as theirting a new,
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parents and grandparents did a quarter of a century ago, that the human longing for freedom is universal and cannot be extinguished. government support a that does not respond to the needs of its people. mr. president, this is an historic event. it can be made even more so if the east german government now acts to tear the wall down. i urge them to do so. i urge president gorbachev to encourage them to do so. then, will wey know that their proposals of today have substance and meaning. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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>> we continue now on american history tv with a look back 25 years to the fall of the berlin wall on november 9, 1989. the following day, east german he reacted to the news. >> good evening. germannting the democratic republic of the -- to the united states of america. what a surprise. seems as though -- >> cannot hear, sir. >> so many distinguished journalists took the invitation
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with the german democratic ambassador. i welcome your interest in what is going on in the republic. to make some like , i willary remarks and be ready to take your questions. the german events in democratic republic represents a radical change with the past. is a revolutionary renewal of socialism. , even if manys have been surprised

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