Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guttenberg demands Ronald Reagan memorial in Berlin

German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg on Wednesday called on Berlin to honour Ronald Reagan by naming a square or a street after the late US president.

“I would welcome naming a street after this great honorary citizen and it would be evidence that the gratitude of (the city’s left-wing government) didn’t stop at (leftist student leader) Rudi Dutschke,” Guttenberg told daily Bild.

Guttenberg and other conservative politicians are upset that the German capital has no plans to mark what would have been Reagan’s 100th birthday on February 6. The former US president, who died in 2004, famously demanded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall in a speech before the city’s Brandenburg Gate in 1987.

“Ronald Reagan’s determination and clear message brought down the Iron Curtain in Europe,” said Christian Democratic MP Ruprecht Polenz, adding he believed German reunification would not have been possible without Reagan. “We should permanently remember this great friend of Germany in a prominent place.”

Martin Lindner, a state legislator in Berlin for the pro-business Free Democrats, said city officials were being “blind to history” by overlooking the Republican president. “Germany and especially Berlin owe a lot to Ronald Regan,” he told Bild.

Lindner attempted to no avail in 2004 to have Washington-Platz in front of Berlin’s main train station renamed for Reagan.

Philipp Mißfelder, the head of the Christian Democrats’ youth wing, called the German capital’s decision not to celebrate Reagan’s upcoming birthday “shameful.”

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