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The Cold War 1980-1990 (The Roles of Reagan and Gorbachev)

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Introduction

The Cold War 1980-1990 (The Roles of Reagan and Gorbachev) 1) The relations between the Superpowers worsened in the years after 1979 because the agreement which was to take place in the SALT II talks never came into force because, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Americans refused to ratify the treaty. In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected as President, he loathed communism and in the first four years of his presidency he increased spending on arms by 40%, these years are sometimes called the new, or second Cold War. Both Superpowers deployed so-called intermediate nuclear missiles - the Soviet SS-20s and the NATO Pershing and Cruise missiles. The US missiles were more sophisticated than the Soviet equivalents as they could avoid radar and could be launched from almost anywhere. Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative, known as SDI or Star Wars, started in 1983. He announced that American scientists were developing laser weapons to shoot down Soviet missiles from space. 2) Gorbachev and Reagan were able to improve relations between the Superpowers from 1985 to 1989, because the Soviet economy was in trouble by the mid 1980s and the Soviet government found it difficult to compete with the West. ...read more.

Middle

The competition between the superpowers was symbolised by Reagan's 'Star Wars' project, known as the SDI, which involved research into ways of giving America nuclear superiority by destroying Soviet missiles in space. The USA did this because they knew that the Soviet Union couldn't compete with this project and knew that it was a no-win situation for the Soviets and so threatened to use it against them. 4) Superpower relations changed in the years 1985-90 as Gorbachev and Reagan met in Geneva in November 1985 and shook hands. This was a sign of improved relations between the two superpowers. Gorbachev's reformist policies encourage d�tente, e.g. perestroika, limited capitalism and glasnost (greater openness to the West). Arms Talks with west needed to cut costs to aid reforms and improve relations. Talks leading to signing of INF treaty with Reagan were; Geneva in 1985, Iceland in 1986, Washington in 1987 and Moscow in 1988. USSR pulled out of Afghanistan and there were no boycotts of Seoul Olympics in 1988. ...read more.

Conclusion

and wanted to improve the Soviet Union by perestroika - economic restructuring or reforming the economy - and by glasnost - greater openness and freedom of speech. 8) The key features of Reagan's policies towards the USSR, 1981-85 were designed to put pressure on USSR e.g. Evil Empire speech which included high tech goods trade embargo on USSR, intensifying of arms race e.g. SDI (Star Wars), CIA activity in Eastern Europe, USA arms to non-communists (e.g. in Afghanistan and Nicaragua). 9) The relations changed between the superpowers from 1980 to 1990 by starting off as poor relations in 1980 due to the end of d�tente, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, SALT II not ratified by USA, New Arms race made by Reagan, Moscow Olympic boycott by USA, Election of republican patriot Reagan and USA becoming keen to get tough with USSR. However by 1990, there was massive improvement between their relations as Arms talks signalled possible end to Cold War, communism in Eastern Europe was in full retreat and in 1991 communism collapses in USSR itself, so Cold War between superpowers was no more. By Anil Vaghela 11SAC ...read more.

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