Unleashing the Force of Freedom: George Bush Addresses Europe

MAINZ, West Germany (AP) – President Bush spoke on East-West relations in Mainz, West Germany on May 31. His desire was to appeal not just to “matters of the mind, but of the deeper aspirations of the heart.” The following is an excerpt from Bush’ address:

I said recently that we’re at the end of one era and at the beginning of another. And I noted that in regard to the Soviet Union, our policy is to move beyond containment.

For 40 years, the seeds of democracy in Eastern Europe lay dormant, buried under the frozen tundra of the Cold War. And for 40 years the world has waited for the Cold War to end. And decade after decade, time after time, the flowering human spirit withered from the chill of conflict and oppression. And again the world waited. But the passion for freedom cannot be denied forever. The world has waited long enough. The time is right. Let Europe be whole and free.

In the East, brave men and women are showing us the way. Look at Poland, where solidarity and the Catholic Church have won legal status. The forces of freedom are putting the Soviet status quo on the defensive. In the West, we have succeeded because we have been faithful to our values and our vision. And on the other side of the rusting Iron Curtain, their vision has failed. The Cold War began with the division of Europe. It can only end when Europe is whole.

And today, it is this very concept of a divided Europe that is under siege. And that is why our hopes run high, because the division of Europe is under siege, not by armies, but by the spread of ideas that began here, right here. It was a son of Mainz, Johannes Gutenburg, who liberated the mind of man through the power of the printed word. And that same liberating power is unleashed today in a hundred new forms.

The Voice of America, Deutche Welle, allow us to enlighten millions deep within Eastern Europe and throughout the world. Television satellites allow us to bear witness from the shipyards of Gdansk to Tiananmen Square. But the momentum for freedom does not just come from the printed word or the television screen. It comes from a single powerful idea – Democracy.

This one idea is sweeping across Eurasia. This one idea is why the Communist world, from Budapest to Beijing, is in ferment. And of course, for the leaders of the East it is not just freedom for freedom’s sake. But whatever their motivation, they are unleashing a force they will find difficult to control, the hunger for liberty of oppressed peoples who have tasted freedom.

The nations of Eastern Europe are rediscovering the glories of their national heritage, so let the colors and hues of national culture return to these gray societies of the East. Let Europe forego a peace of tension for a peace of trust, one in which the peoples of the East and West can rejoice, a continent that is diverse, yet whole. Together we shall answer the call. The world has waited long enough.

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