Ronald Reagan and the End of the Cold War

explanatory Essay
1884 words
1884 words

The cold war was a post-World War II struggle between the United States

and its allies and the group of nations led by the Soviet Union. Direct military

conflict did not occur between the two superpowers, but intense economic and

diplomatic struggles erupted. Different interests led to mutual suspicion and

hostility in a rising philosophy. The United States played a major role in the

ending of the cold war. It has been said that President Ronald Reagan ended the

cold war with his strategic defense policies.

In the year1949, Germany was divided by the victors of World War II and

they occupied different zones. The western regions united to form a Federal

republic and the Soviet eastern region became communist East Germany. The cold

war had begun. Berlin, the former capital of Germany was divided into East

Berlin and West Berlin but was located deep inside the soviet controlled zone.1

Then, in 1961, the Soviet government built a wall which separated the

two halves of the city. It was not until the 1980s that cold war tensions eased

through the glasnost (openness to public debate) polices of soviet leader

Mikhail Gorbachev. Finally, in November 1989, the wall crumbled under the hands

of the Germans and the cold war ended.2

The downfall of the cold war started when Ronald Reagan came into office

in 1981. Reagan had two main priorities. He wanted to cut taxes and increase

defense spending. He felt that the United States of America should take a

confrontational approach towards Russia.3

Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of Russia in 1985. He wanted to improve

the Russian economy. He also wanted to improve relations with the United States.

He used his glasnost (openness to public debate) policy and perestroika

(restructuring) to help the Russian economy.4

Both leaders wanted a "margin of safety". Reagan took a tough stand

against Russia and it's allies. The soviets could clearly see that when Reagan

said he wanted a "margin of safety", he meant that the United States should be

superior to Russia. Moscow would not let this happen. They wanted equality.5

Reagan also believed that military power and respect for America abroad

were inseparable from economic strength. However, Reagan's defense policy

resulted in the doubling of the debt of the United States. He used the money for

new strategic ...

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1 Walter Lippman, The Cold War: A Study in U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1947) 48-52.

2 Charles S. Maier, ed., The Cold War in Europe: Era of a divided Continent (New York: Markus Wiener Publishing, Inc., 1991) 27.

3 Ralph B. Levering, The Cold War (Illinois: Harlan Davidson, INC.,1988) 169.

4 Levering, 169

5 Levering, 169

6 John Young, Cold War Europe 1945-1989 (New York: Edward Allen, 1991) 26.

7 Levering, 171-2

8 Levering 173

9 "The End of the Cold War" 2 Feb. 1997


11 Young, 28

12 Young, 28

13 Tom Morganthou, "Reagan's cold war 'sting'?", Newsweek 32 August 1993: 32

14 Levering, 180

15"Ending the Cold War", Foreign Affairs Spring 1988: 24-25

16 Young, 28

17 Young, 29

18 Young, 29

19 Levering, 187-188

20 "Ending the Cold War", 27

21 "Ending the Cold War", 28

22 Brinkley, Alan An Uneasy Peace 1988-, Vol. 10 of 20th Century America, 10 vols. (New York: Grolier 1995):22

23 Brinkley, 30

24 "George Bush addresses Europe" 13 March 1997.

In this essay, the author

  • Describes the direct military ties between the soviet union and its allies.
  • Opines that president ronald reagan ended the cold war by ending the cold war.
  • Opines that cold war tensions eased in the 1980s.
  • Explains that he wanted a "margin of safety", meaning that the united states should be safe.
  • Explains that he used the money for doubling the debt of the united states.
  • Explains that they received no answer, which is why they shot down the crisis.
  • Explains that brinkley, alan an uneasy peace 1988-, vol. 10 of 20th century america, 10 vols.
  • Cites walter lippman's the cold war: a study in u.s. foreign policy, and charles maier, eds.
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