During the peak of the
Cold War, West Berlin was an island of capitalism surrounded by the communist
soviet section of Germany, known as the German Democratic Republic. About two
years before Kennedy came to give his speech, a wall began to form. About eight
months prior to the speech, Kennedy went head to head with the Soviet leader,
Khrushchev, over Soviet missiles in Cuba, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Meanwhile, there was already one person that was shot trying to get to West
Berlin from East Berlin and the Soviet authorities closed off food supplies to the
West. In these fearful times Kennedy stepped in and spent 4 days in Germany, on
one of them giving his speech. In his speech, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” John F.
Kennedy uses ethos, pathos, and logos to strengthen his speech and to ignite a
flame in the people of West Berlin.
John F. Kennedy goes into his speech
with a very respectable ethos that is known globally and it gives the audience
reasons to support. The main way he gains his ethos is quite simple, and it is
being the President of the United States. But there are also a few more ways
that he gains his ethos that are more complex. During World War II, Lieutenant
Kennedy’s ship was struck by a large Japanese destroyer. His crew was scattered
throughout the water and wreckage of the ship. He swam to one of his men and
towed him to shore by biting onto his life vest and for this he is a war hero.
Another way he gains his respectable ethos is by him taking his time, coming to
a foreign country that is fearful and in distress while he probably has plenty
of business to attend to in the United States.
In his speech John F. Kennedy uses pathos
to draw the audience in, get them engaged, and to get an emotional response.
One case of his use of pathos would be his multiple uses of anaphora.
Throughout the speech he often the phrases “Let them come to Berlin.”(par. 4,6,8,11)
and “Ich bin ein Berliner.”(par. 2,19). This puts emphasis on these words and
lets the listener feel like they are involved because they are able to predict
what is going to be said next, which engages the audience. Another way he
develops pathos in his speech is through emotive language. One example of this
would be, “Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was ‘civis Romanus sum.’
Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.'”(par.
2). This is an instance of emotive language since it derives emotion from the
audience and grabs their attention. This is because it makes them feel like
they are a part of something bigger than themselves, a part of history.
developinglogos in his speech, John F. Kennedy is able to rely on the
audience’s own intelligence and gives evidence to support his argument. During
his speech he discusses the city’s current state to appeal to the logic of the
people of the audience saying, “While the wall is the most obvious and
vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system …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. 13). By
saying this he is showing that what is being done is the complete illogical
thing to do. He also develops logos when he says, “Freedom has many
difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we never had to put a wall up to
keep our people in – to prevent them from leaving us.”(par.12). This was a very
good and clear point he made that supports his argument and can’t be argued.
Almost thirty years after
JFK gave his speech, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ , the Berlin wall fell. He ignited
a long-lasting flame in the people of Berlin and they never gave up until the
wall was taken down. Now, the people of America are on the edge of being in the
middle of a nuclear wart just like they were during the times of the Cold War.