Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kennedy's speech 1963: "Ich bin ein Berliner"

Many remember the late June scene in front of Brandenburg Gate. Footage link embedded in the following article by Snopes.com

Claim: President Kennedy called himself a jelly donut in his famous 1963 speech in Berlin, Germany.

----> --> FALSE!

Article didn't copy so: Here's the link: http://www.snopes.com/language/misxlate/berliner.asp

Embedded also is the following (very short) New York Times article from April 30, 1988, by chief editorial writer, William J. Miller, which fueled the fires of this RUMOR.

'I Am a Jelly-Filled Doughnut'

Putting words into a President's mouth, or attributing fabricated quotes, as former White House spokesman Larry Speakes admitted he did for President Reagan, may on occasion be preferable to having a President utter clever words dreamed up by his speech writers.

It's worth recalling, again, President John F. Kennedy's use of a German phrase while standing before the Berlin Wall. It would be great, his wordsmiths thought, for him to declare himself a symbolic citizen of Berlin. Hence, ''Ich bin ein Berliner.''

What they did not know, but could easily have found out, was that such citizens never refer to themselves as ''Berliners.'' They reserve that term for a favorite confection often munched at breakfast. So, while they understood and appreciated the sentiments behind the President's impassioned declaration, the residents tittered among themselves when he exclaimed, literally, ''I am a jelly-filled doughnut.''

Ronald Reagan is not the first President to be quoted saying words he never said. In the case of Mr. Speakes, the ventriloquist act would have gone undiscovered but for Mr. Speakes's own admission.


  1. He does call himself jelly donut, but they all know what he means so it is ok. I also think that many people here don't understand what the misunderstanding is. A berliner baellen is much better than a jelly donut anyways!

  2. JFK was criticized to no end for such a ridiculous situation. A recent mistranslation occurred with Hilary Clinton in Russia so they still happen. However, JFK didn't even have the wrong words or even bad pronunciation, so I don't understand why people made it such a big ordeal.

  3. I simple misunderstanding turned into a big story. It's funny how that happened.

  4. It's funny how fake rumors spread like wildfire, but none of it is actually true!

  5. Ya the media does tened to turn little things into huge issues. Still JFK was good president and one of my most liked presidents. Even if he was a demacrat. Ha Ha.

  6. It's funny how misunderstandings can lead to so much controversy. He is still my favorite president though.

  7. It wasn't even JFK's fault though. In the article above it talks about how his wordsmith's thought it would be a good idea and they were the ones who gave him what to say. If they had followed up on their research they would have known that what JFK was saying was wrong. Well in my opinion, it is the thought that counts. JFK was just trying to get his point acrossed and let the German people know he felt for them.