Photographer's Note

The Brandenburg Gate's design has remained unchanged since its completion, yet it has played different political roles in German history. After the 1806 Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Napoleon took the Quadriga to Paris, however, after his defeat in 1814 and the Prussian Parisian occupation by General Ernst von Pfuel, the Quadriga was restored to Berlin, and Viktoria's olive wreath exchanged for the Iron Cross, becoming goddess of victory.

When the Nazis ascended to power they used the Gate as their symbol. The Gate survived World War II and was one of few structures standing in the Pariser Platz ruins in 1945, another being the Academy of Fine Arts. The governments of East Berlin and West Berlin restored it, but the gate was closed when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961.

In 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate. The Soviets hung large banners across it to prevent him looking into the East. In the 1980s, decrying the existence of two German states, West Berlin mayor Richard von Weizsäcker said: The German question will remain open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed.

On June 12, 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan spoke to the West Berlin populace at the Brandenburg Gate, demanding the razing of the Berlin Wall by addressing CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev:
“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!”

When the Revolutions of 1989 collapsed the Berlin Wall, the Gate then symbolized the freedom to unity of the City of Berlin. On the 22nd of December 1989, the Brandenburg Gate re-opened when Helmut Kohl, the West German Chancellor, walked through to be greeted by Hans Modrow, the East German Prime Minister.

On July 12, 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke to Berlin at the Gate, about peace in post-Cold War Europe.

On December 21, 2000, the Brandenburg Gate was privately refurbished at a 3 million dollar cost.

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Additional Photos by Alex Sochirca (Zandell) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 39 W: 6 N: 39] (241)
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