I took German for a total of 6 years (3 in high school and 3 in college) and learned about JFK's Ich bin ein Berliner speech my very first semester. It was probably the most important speech of Kennedy's presidency. He was underlining the support of the United States for West Germany almost 2 years after the Soviet-supported Communist state of East Germany erected the Berlin Wall. Critics claim that " Ich bin ein Berliner" is literally translated as "I am a jelly donut." Apparently he should have said "Ich bin Berliner," and with a firm, elementary grasp of the German language, it made sense to me. Plus, I always found it amusing that his wordsmiths could have made such a huge mistake.
Tonight my goal was to create an editorial design based upon JFK's gaffe. Much to my dismay, after doing less than 5 minutes of research, I discovered the entire jelly donut story to be a complete fallacy. Without diving into an explanation of the German language, a Berliner really is a jelly donut, however "Ich bin ein Berliner" could also be translated as "I am one with the people of Berlin."