Nearly 50 years after John F Kennedy’s historic Cold War speech in Berlin, Barack Obama yesterday called for the United States and Russia to cut their nuclear arsenals as he visited the same city.

Speaking at the Brandenberg Gate from behind a wall of bullet-proof glass, the US president used the occasion to suggest a one-third reduction of American and Russian nuclear stockpiles.

He also issued a warning to the eurozone over the wisdom of austerity policies, saying the need to balance budgets should not distract from the ultimate economic goal of improving people’s lives.

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Safe: US President Barack Obama speaks from behind bulletproof glass in front of the Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz in Berlin

Safe: US President Barack Obama speaks from behind bulletproof glass in front of the Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz in Berlin

His comment seemed particularly aimed at his German hosts and its pressure on southern eurozone neighbours such as Greece and Spain to slash government spending.

Mr Obama was confident Europe would pull through but said leaders would have to moderate their cost-cutting if youth unemployment went too high, to ‘ensure that we don’t just lose a generation’.

Mr Obama gave a more cautious speech than his usual soaring rhetoric – perhaps aware of comparisons with President Kennedy’s historic denunciation of communism with the phrase: ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’

Rhetorics: President Obama's speech was nearly the 50 years after 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'

Rhetorics: President Obama’s speech was nearly the 50 years after 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’

 

 
The crowd waves flags during the speech where Obama addressed the nuclear policies of Russia and the US

Great gathering: The crowd waves flags during the speech where Obama addressed the nuclear policies of Russia and the US

 

 
Message: The US President addressed EU leaders saying austerity cuts would have to be moderated if youth unemployment spikes

Message: The US President addressed EU leaders saying austerity cuts would have to be moderated if youth unemployment spikes

 

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