Jump to content
The Education Forum

Was JFK a jelly doughnut?


Graham Davies
 Share

Recommended Posts

Was JFK a jelly doughnut?

A language teacher's thoughts:

In JFK’s famous speech in Berlin in 1963 he announced in German to his audience “Ich bin ein Berliner”, which was greeted with rapturous applause and cheers. However, what JFK did not appear to know was that he was actually saying “I am a jelly doughnut” (in British English “I am a jam doughnut”), which is how the phrase is usually interpreted if you leave in the indefinite article “ein” (“a”).

“I am a citizen of Berlin (Berliner)” is normally expressed as “Ich bin Berliner” – without the indefinite article "ein". “Hamburger”, “Frankfurter” and “Wiener” (Viennese sausage – or something quite rude but sausage-shaped) work the same way. However, Berliners don’t call a doughnut a “Berliner”. “Berliner” is the word for “doughnut” that is used outside Berlin in many parts of Germany. Berliners call a doughnut “Krapfen”, as do the Austrians, for example. So maybe the Berliners were quite clear about what he meant to say.

How about this as an essay title?

“JFK claimed in Berlin in 1963 that he was a jelly doughnut. Did this have anything to do with his subsequent assassination?”

That should keep you guys busy for a while. I won’t be around much to read your replies, however, as I am about to enter hospital for major abdominal surgery that will put me out of action for at least four weeks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was JFK a jelly doughnut?

A language teacher's thoughts:

In JFK’s famous speech in Berlin in 1963 he announced in German to his audience “Ich bin ein Berliner”, which was greeted with rapturous applause and cheers. However, what JFK did not appear to know was that he was actually saying “I am a jelly doughnut” (in British English “I am a jam doughnut”), which is how the phrase is usually interpreted if you leave in the indefinite article “ein” (“a”).

“I am a citizen of Berlin (Berliner)” is normally expressed as “Ich bin Berliner” – without the indefinite article "ein". “Hamburger”, “Frankfurter” and “Wiener” (Viennese sausage – or something quite rude but sausage-shaped) work the same way. However, Berliners don’t call a doughnut a “Berliner”. “Berliner” is the word for “doughnut” that is used outside Berlin in many parts of Germany. Berliners call a doughnut “Krapfen”, as do the Austrians, for example. So maybe the Berliners were quite clear about what he meant to say.

How about this as an essay title?

“JFK claimed in Berlin in 1963 that he was a jelly doughnut. Did this have anything to do with his subsequent assassination?”

That should keep you guys busy for a while. I won’t be around much to read your replies, however, as I am about to enter hospital for major abdominal surgery that will put me out of action for at least four weeks.

:lol:

Quite the intellectual JFK wasn't he??

I suspect a conspiracy of fast food suppliers fearing a bad press may have done for the late President.

Sorry to hear you are going to be out of action for a while Graham - I look forward to welcoming you back sooner rather than later, when hopefully debaters in this section may have finally come to the shocking conclusion that the President was definitely shot :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was JFK a jelly doughnut?

A language teacher's thoughts:

In JFK’s famous speech in Berlin in 1963 he announced in German to his audience “Ich bin ein Berliner”, which was greeted with rapturous applause and cheers. However, what JFK did not appear to know was that he was actually saying “I am a jelly doughnut” (in British English “I am a jam doughnut”), which is how the phrase is usually interpreted if you leave in the indefinite article “ein” (“a”).

“I am a citizen of Berlin (Berliner)” is normally expressed as “Ich bin Berliner” – without the indefinite article "ein". “Hamburger”, “Frankfurter” and “Wiener” (Viennese sausage – or something quite rude but sausage-shaped) work the same way. However, Berliners don’t call a doughnut a “Berliner”. “Berliner” is the word for “doughnut” that is used outside Berlin in many parts of Germany. Berliners call a doughnut “Krapfen”, as do the Austrians, for example. So maybe the Berliners were quite clear about what he meant to say.

How about this as an essay title?

“JFK claimed in Berlin in 1963 that he was a jelly doughnut. Did this have anything to do with his subsequent assassination?”

That should keep you guys busy for a while. I won’t be around much to read your replies, however, as I am about to enter hospital for major abdominal surgery that will put me out of action for at least four weeks.

Good luck Graham and as you may know humor can be medicine too !

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was JFK a jelly doughnut?

A language teacher's thoughts:

In JFK’s famous speech in Berlin in 1963 he announced in German to his audience “Ich bin ein Berliner”, which was greeted with rapturous applause and cheers. However, what JFK did not appear to know was that he was actually saying “I am a jelly doughnut” (in British English “I am a jam doughnut”), which is how the phrase is usually interpreted if you leave in the indefinite article “ein” (“a”).

“I am a citizen of Berlin (Berliner)” is normally expressed as “Ich bin Berliner” – without the indefinite article "ein". “Hamburger”, “Frankfurter” and “Wiener” (Viennese sausage – or something quite rude but sausage-shaped) work the same way. However, Berliners don’t call a doughnut a “Berliner”. “Berliner” is the word for “doughnut” that is used outside Berlin in many parts of Germany. Berliners call a doughnut “Krapfen”, as do the Austrians, for example. So maybe the Berliners were quite clear about what he meant to say.

How about this as an essay title?

“JFK claimed in Berlin in 1963 that he was a jelly doughnut. Did this have anything to do with his subsequent assassination?”

That should keep you guys busy for a while. I won’t be around much to read your replies, however, as I am about to enter hospital for major abdominal surgery that will put me out of action for at least four weeks.

I always had a suspicion about Dunkin' Donuts role in the assassination. They hate competition.

Good luck with the surgery.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the cartoon, George. I haven't seen it before.

For the benefit of those who don't understand German, the captions translate as "The truth about the JFK assassination" - "Completely full of jam! He really was a doughnut!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Stephen Turner
I love the cartoon, George. I haven't seen it before.

For the benefit of those who don't understand German, the captions translate as "The truth about the JFK assassination" - "Completely full of jam! He really was a doughnut!"

Graham, good luck with the surgery, or should that be sugary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too had read of the translation problem.

I think it pretty clear that the German audience knew what JFK was trying to communicate.

IMO JFK's speech in West Berlin was one of his greatest (of course many of his speeches WERE great but I should say his Berlin speech was outstanding.

In many ways Berlin and Germany came to symbolize the conflict between the two great Cold War adversaries.

I think the JFK speech in Berlin can be compared to Ronald Reagan's speech where he uttered his famous challenge: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it pretty clear that the German audience knew what JFK was trying to communicate. IMO JFK's speech in West Berlin was one of his greatest (of course many of his speeches WERE great but I should say his Berlin speech was outstanding. In many ways Berlin and Germany came to symbolize the conflict between the two great Cold War adversaries. I think the JFK speech in Berlin can be compared to Ronald Reagan's speech where he uttered his famous challenge: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

The Berlin Wall certainly made for good Cold War theater, serving as a moving symbol of communist oppression for a quarter century. The circumstances that led to the building of the Wall are seldom discussed. It's good to remember how the NATO countries were prepared to launch all-out nuclear war to defend West Berlin, a half city located over one hundred miles inside of East Germany. Khrushchev was in a bind over the flood of skilled professionals escaping to the West through that city. It had to be stopped, but if he stopped it, as he claimed at the Vienna Summit to be his intention, there was no form of conventional warfare to contest it. Kennedy deftly sent the subtle signal that there would be no violation of Western interests if the East Germans constructed a Wall on their own territory. The Wall calmed the Berlin Crisis, backfired profoundly as a propaganda symbol, and ultimately bought the time needed to avoid a nuclear war. It's also good to remember how many asserted that Kennedy's refusal to knock the Wall down was a sign of weakness. Berlin demonstrated the efficacy of Kennedy's kind of leadership, in contrast to the solutions preferred by militarists. The euphoria in the streets of Berlin that day of the Ich Bin Ein Berliner speech showed how much people all over the world recognized how Kennedy had brought everyone through the moment of maximum peril.

T.C.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I visited Berlin as a student in 1963 (the year of JFK's famous speech) when I was studying German at the University of Hamburg. The speech did have a tremendous impact. I remember it well. I caught my first site of the Berlin Wall in that year and was horrified by what I saw. Most moving of all were the memorials to those who lost their lives trying to escape into the West.

I spend a month in Leipzig in 1976 on a refresher course in German for teachers, staying with a family and experiencing at first hand the sheer awfulness of life in the GDR.

The most exciting event in my life was the week I spent in Berlin and the GDR in November 1989, watching the Wall crumble and the borders opening so that GDR citizens could enjoy the same freedom to travel as their West German counterparts. You can read my eye-witness account of this momentous event in history at the following URL. In 1963 we never thought it would happen.

"The week the Wall came down: Berlin, 10th-18th November 1989"

http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/berlin.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it pretty clear that the German audience knew what JFK was trying to communicate. IMO JFK's speech in West Berlin was one of his greatest (of course many of his speeches WERE great but I should say his Berlin speech was outstanding. In many ways Berlin and Germany came to symbolize the conflict between the two great Cold War adversaries. I think the JFK speech in Berlin can be compared to Ronald Reagan's speech where he uttered his famous challenge: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

The Berlin Wall certainly made for good Cold War theater, serving as a moving symbol of communist oppression for a quarter century. The circumstances that led to the building of the Wall are seldom discussed. It's good to remember how the NATO countries were prepared to launch all-out nuclear war to defend West Berlin, a half city located over one hundred miles inside of East Germany. Khrushchev was in a bind over the flood of skilled professionals escaping to the West through that city. It had to be stopped, but if he stopped it, as he claimed at the Vienna Summit to be his intention, there was no form of conventional warfare to contest it. Kennedy deftly sent the subtle signal that there would be no violation of Western interests if the East Germans constructed a Wall on their own territory. The Wall calmed the Berlin Crisis, backfired profoundly as a propaganda symbol, and ultimately bought the time needed to avoid a nuclear war. It's also good to remember how many asserted that Kennedy's refusal to knock the Wall down was a sign of weakness. Berlin demonstrated the efficacy of Kennedy's kind of leadership, in contrast to the solutions preferred by militarists. The euphoria in the streets of Berlin that day of the Ich Bin Ein Berliner speech showed how much people all over the world recognized how Kennedy had brought everyone through the moment of maximum peril.

T.C.

Nice summary, Tim. Some interesting points, there.

JFK's performance in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis was a huge hit in Germany and the rest of Europe. The American public appreciated it but the JCS, oil and arms industries thought it stank. :D:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...