Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
International

Obama In Berlin: No 'Walls' Should Divide Us

Michael Gottschalk
/
AFP/Getty Images
Sen. Barack Obama waves to the crowd after making a speech in front of the Victory Column in Berlin.

Sen. Barack Obama addressed an expansive crowd Thursday near the site where the Berlin Wall once stood, calling on the U.S. and Europe to build new bridges of partnership "to protect our common security and advance our common humanity."

The Democratic presidential hopeful's speech was the centerpiece of a tour through Europe aimed at reassuring skeptics at home and abroad of his ability to lead and to move the cross-Atlantic alliance in a new direction.

"The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand," Obama said at Berlin's Tiergarten Park, alluding to often strained relations between Europe and the United States during the Bush administration. "While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

Advertisement

"Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the only way, it is the one only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity," he said to a crowd that Berlin police estimated at more than 200,000. "This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it."

The Illinois senator drew loud applause at several points during his speech, which used the Berlin Wall, a Cold War icon which was demolished in 1989, as a metaphor for divisions that continue to separate humanity.

"The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christians and Muslim and Jew cannot stand," he said. "These now are the walls we must tear down."

Obama met earlier in the day with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a discussion that ranged across the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, climate change, energy issues and more.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Advertisement