University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

June 2, 1982

The Siege Has Begun

The advancing British troops on East Falkland to Port Stanley got embroiled in fierce fighting with considerable casualties on both sides. The war for the Falkland Islands, which has never been declared but has seen heavy fighting, is now entering its decisive confrontation. The nearly 10,000 men strong Argentine garrison in Port Stanley has been encircled from all sides. The siege has begun.

The Berlin Wall - Introductory Remarks

[President Reagan participated in the G-7 (Group of seven leading industrialized countries) summit meeting in Versailles from June 4-6, 1982. On June 7, he met for the first time Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, and on June 8, he gave the speech before members of the British Parliament in which he predicted that the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe will collapse by themselves. Two days later, on June 10, Reagan arrived for a short visit in Berlin. He proceeded to “Checkpoint Charlie,” where he saw the Berlin Wall for the first time. When asked by a reporter what his impression of the Wall was, he replied: “It’s as ugly as the idea behind it.” See Morris, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, p. 461.]

South Bend, June 10, 1982

A Declaration of Loyalty at the Wall

Like his predecessors in office, also President Reagan declared his loyalty at the Berlin Wall. He assured that the United States will not forsake Berlin and that it remains committed to the defense of the Federal Republic and Western Europe.

South Bend, June 15, 1982

The War is Over

In the last moment, reason has prevailed. Hopelessly encircled from all sides, the commandant of the Argentine garrison in Port Stanley decided to surrender. Thereby, a senseless bloodshed possibly of thousands of lives has been avoided, for in the end 9,000 British were confronted by approximately 14,000 Argentine troops. The Falklands or Malvinas War is over.

[Margaret Thatcher offers a detailed survey of the course of events in the Falklands conflict, above all of the many-sided but failed diplomatic efforts to achieve a peaceful solution. The Falklands War was the greatest challenge of her time in office. See Thatcher, The Downing Street Years, pp. 173-235.]

June 27, 1982

Swift Turnover

The swift turnover in the State Department that occurred over this weekend not only took foreign countries by surprise, but it also baffled the American public. Last Friday, June 25, President Reagan announced in a brief communiqué that Secretary of State Alexander Haig had resigned, while at the same time George Shultz was nominated as his successor. What prompted the resignation of Alexander Haig? A number of speculations are circulating: Discords within the inner circle of the White House staff have already surfaced for some time. There were controversies between Haig and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Finally, there were also differences of opinion between Haig and Reagan on foreign policy.

[Alexander Haig did not resign on his own decision. He was actually fired by President Reagan. See Morris, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, p. 463.]

South Bend, June 29, 1982

Never So True

Today, my wife was sworn in on the American Constitution at the U.S. District Court in Hammond, Indiana. Thus, all four members of our family have become American citizens. It has been a sheer endless red tape process that lasted for ten years. But all the applications and petitions at consulates and immigration offices have now led to a happy end. It was just a matter of not losing patience and of observing the residence requirement. The swearing in on the U.S. Constitution is always a solemn ceremony. On each face of the 62 applicants for citizenship, who had assembled in the Hall of the District Court, one could see the inner emotion. Everyone has come to this point on his or her own way in life.

America never becomes so true as at the moment of naturalization. All false images and illusions fade away, and each cheap cliché would get stuck in one’s mouth. Naturalization as American citizen is for everyone a new beginning.

While the judge instructed the new citizens of their rights and duties, the screeching noise and whistle of a locomotive was heard through the window. The Court House in Hammond is situated next to a railroad station in the industrial hub of Gary and East Chicago. The hardship and at the same time also the generosity and spaciousness of this country as well as a sense of freedom and security were felt at that moment with an intensity as it had never been experienced before.

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