Ronald Reagan end of Cold War

  • Created by: CButcher
  • Created on: 23-05-17 19:33

Reagan brought the Cold War to an end

Reagan intended to win the Cold War. He regarded détente as a futile prolongation of the Cold War. This determination to win may be seen as a clear contribution towards bringing the Cold War to an end. Reagan’s approach was based on a completely different agenda when compared to all previous US Presidents.

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Reagan 2

He expanded the US military machine and adopted aggressive policies which put increased pressure on the USSR. These included actions such as exploring the SDI programme. This pressure was further increased through the INF talks.

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Reagan 3

Reagan’s commitment to the summit programme was very significant in negotiating an end to the Cold War. He was clearly willing to engage with Gorbachev but also to promote US interests at a time of Soviet fragility.

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Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev was the prime mover in bringing the Cold War to an end. He developed his ‘New Thinking’ strategy for example. It was Gorbachev who informed the East German government that the Soviet Union would not intervene to halt political opposition in that country in 1989. This stance by Gorbachev undermined the communist bloc and profoundly weakened the communist’s capacity to function in the Cold War.

Gorbachev was a key player in the summit programme. He was willing to form a personal relationship with Reagan and to make significant concessions which accelerated the ending. 

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USA, Western Europe and Bush

Just as the Communist Eastern European bloc was under increasing pressure which served to weaken the USSR’s capacity to function as a Cold War power, the USA was firmly allied to Western Europe. This reinforced the strength of the USA to function as the dominant Cold War power.

Reagan’s successor, George Bush, had his own strategy for ending the Cold War. At the 1989 Malta summit for example, he moved towards closer economic relations with the USSR. Bush was in office when START 1 was finalised.

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Collapse of communism in Eastern Bloc

The collapse of the communist bloc in Eastern Europe was partly initiated by Gorbachev but also through a dynamic of its own. This was particularly evident in Hungary and Poland. The ability of the Warsaw Pact to function was totally undermined. The ultimate collapse of communism in Eastern Europe may be regarded as a highly significant factor in bringing the Cold War to a final conclusion.

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Conclusion

It was Gorbachev who was the key player in bringing the Cold War to an end. It was his changes that activated a process of collapse which made it impossible for the Cold War to continue. However, his reforms were necessitated by the failures of the communist system, i.e the poor soviet economy and quality of life.

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