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Did Springsteen Help Take Down Berlin Wall?

Bruce Springsteen

Did Bruce Springsteen have a hand in the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989? In a new book, Rocking the Wall, Erik Kirschbaum claims that a speech Springsteen gave at his concert in East Berlin on July 19th, 1988 galvanized the attitudes of the German people.

Kirschbaum says, “300,000 East Germans were there – young, enthusiastic East Germans who had never had the chance to see a big Western rock star like that. Springsteen played an amazing concert — it went straight to their hearts.”

But it was a comment he made in German that may have had the biggest impact. The Boss said, “I am not for or against a government. I’ve come to play rock and roll for you, in the hope that one day all barriers will be torn down,” before launching into a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom.”

Kirschbaum explains, “They had never heard a message like that. Here was this big, famous American rock star who…told them he hoped that the wall would come down one day. I think it really contributed to fueling the sentiment in East Germany for change. They were unhappy in East Germany. A lot of reforms were going on in other Eastern European countries in ’88, but in East Germany it was a very stagnant situation. Springsteen came there and spoke to their hearts. He got them enthusiastic about change, and in the next 16 months we all know what happened.”

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