- In 1980, Ronald Reagan became president of the USA. Reagan had been famous as an actor in Hollywood before turning to politics.
- As a strong anti-communist, he called the Soviet Union the "evil empire" and increased spending on arms.
- He felt that the decade long detente was a plot by the USSR to take advantage of being able to gain ground in the arms race against the USA.
- This is why he did not sign the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II.
- He felt the USA should be more prepared from attack from the USSR so spent more on defence budget. This changed when Gorbachev became leader of the USSR in 1985.
- The US military developed the neutron bomb, cruise missiles and a Star Wars defence system using space satellites.
- Star Wars' estimated price tag totaled nearly $1 trillion dollars, a figure that concerned many Democrats and American citizens during a decade of recession.
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- For the first time since the beginning of the Cold War, a Soviet leader approached the United States to seriously discuss a possible peace.
- This initiative took the Reagan administration completely by surprise, but Reagan quickly responded in kind.
- Numerous summits between top Soviet and American officials were held during Reagan's second term.
- Eventually, even Gorbachev and President Reagan themselves sat together in both Washington and Moscow on a number of occasions to hammer out agreements. Many concessions were made on both sides:
- In 1987 Gorbachev agreed to withdraw most of its nuclear arsenal and troops from the Soviet-controlled states in Eastern Europe and to withdraw from Afghanistan.
- Reagan eventually abandoned his Star Wars plans and agreed to reduce the number of American nuclear weapons.
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