To what extent was Ronald Reagan responsible for the end of the Cold War?
During WWII Stalin and the Western allies joined forces because they feared what Hitler was capable of, namely ‘world domination’.
After WWII when reconstruction began in Western Europe a bitter power struggle emerged between the allies and the USSR. Stalin wanted Germany to be Communist, the allies wanted Democratic Rule. The Cold War effectively began here. The Cold War was called ‘Cold’ because neither side engaged in conflict, there were no ‘Hot Spots’ and the conflict was fought diplomatically. This nearly changed on September 25th, 1983 when the Soviets detected 5 US ICBM missiles as a first strike. Duty officer Lt. Colonel Stawslav Petrov hesitated and it was revealed that the satellites above a US missile station had actually caught a glint off of a cloud caused by sunlight. A technological error nearly resulted in mass destruction of both the USSR and USA.
The Cold War raged on between leaders of the USA and USSR for over 40 years until Ronald Reagan was elected President in November 1980. Reagan represented what many would consider to be a sea of change in US-USSR relations.
Unlike leaders before him Reagan fought the USSR economically and politically. Reagan was opposed to the policy of detente (relaxed negotiations) because he thought it allowed Soviet expansion. Nixon had tried to negotiate with the Soviets and introduced the SALT talks which never amounted to anything, when detente had reached its peak it began to decline and arms limitation talks stalled. Reagan however rebooted these talks with General Secretary Gorbachev and imposed sanctions on the Russians while they were trying to build the Siberian Gas Pipeline. Although the sanctions failed, it showed Reagan, unlike other leaders before him, was ready to stand up and openly fight against the USSR. Reagan also introduced the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) in 1983. Although dubbed ‘Star...