BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 19: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Brandenburg Gate on June 19, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Obama is visiting Berlin for the first time during his presidency and his speech at the Brandenburg Gate is to be the highlight. Obama will be speaking close to the 50th anniversary of the historic speech by then U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Berlin in 1963, during which he proclaimed the famous sentence: 'Ich bin ein Berliner.' (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Obama speaks at Brandenburg Gate
02:57 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: Historian calls Obama's speech good, but not a "gold star" in history

President Obama says it's time to "move beyond Cold War postures" on nuclear arms

Obama invokes JFK's "peace with justice" call from 50 years ago

The president speaks at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate

CNN  — 

President Barack Obama followed in the footsteps of past U.S. leaders with a speech on Wednesday at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, where he said he would ask Russia to join the United States in slashing its supply of strategic nuclear warheads.

“We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” Obama said in the city that symbolized the East-West divide in the decades after World War II.

“After a comprehensive review, I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies – and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent – while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third,” he said. “And I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures.”

Obama’s speech made repeated references to Berlin’s post-war history and the resiliency of its people. He called on them to manifest the same spirit that helped bring down the Berlin Wall to now take on broader challenges facing the modern world.