Star wars

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Star wars

  • Reagan was determined to win the cold war
  • He believed that the USSR could be forced to disarm by his new initiative- SDI
  • SDI (strategic defence initiative) was the idea of a 'nuclear umbrella' which would stop soviet nuclear bombs from reaching American soil
  • This scheme soon became known as star wars
  • Reagan believed this technology would make soviet nuclear missiles useless and therefore force the USSR to disarm

SDI: to launch an army of satellites equipped with powerful lasers. These would intercept soviet missiles in space and destroy them before they could do any harm to America

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How SDI changed things

  • Evenly matched, the superpowers had worked to limit the growth of the stock piles of nuclear weapons
  • SDI was a complete break frm this policy
  • Infact, it broke the terms of the outer space treaty of 1967
  • In response the USSR boycotted the los Angeles olympic games
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Soviet difficulties

  • America had won race to the moon in 1969- getting ahead in space race
  • Soviet economy was not producing enough wealth
  • USSR was behind in terms of computer technology
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Soviet leadership

  • Brezhnev dies in 1982
  • Suceeded by Yuri Andropov
  • He dies in 1984
  • Andropov is suceeded by Konstantin Chernenko
  • Who dies in 1985
  • Unstable
  • 1985 Gorbachev became leader
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Gorbachev

Problems he faced

  • Alcoholism- caused decline in soviet industry (deaths)
  • Lack of technology (arms race)
  • Afghan war
  • Lack of consumer goods
  • debt

Gobachev's solutions

  • Glasnost (openness)- Censorship of the press was relaxed
  • Perestroika (restructing)- economic reforms designed to make the soviet economy more efficient
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