restored Americans’ confidence
and pride in themselves and their country.He did this partly be building up the military in a new arms
the Soviet Union, which Reagan called an Evil Empire.This not only made the US capable of defending
and our allies from attack, but it also forced the USSR to spend money to
keep up with
American military spending.The Soviet Union, however, was not
truly able to
afford this, particularly because of its commitment in Afghanistan.
*Reagan not only
built new bombers and
missiles, but he promoted the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) or
a plan for land- and space-based lasers to shoot down enemy missiles,
potentially making the US and our allies safe
*Reagan also funded
around the world.He supported the
Mujahedeen in Afghanistan.He sent troops to invade the Caribbeanisland of Grenada when pro-communist
overthrew its government.
*He also sent money,
weapons, and advisors to
the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua.However, this led to the Iran-Contra Affair, a scandal that
when it was discovered that the US had secretly sold
equipment to our enemy Iran to get money to
*Reagan also sent the
Marines to Lebanon to try to stop a
civil war there,
but pulled them out after a suicide bomber drove a truck with
*Reagan later bombed Libya after terrorists
supported by Libya bombed a nightclub
in Berlin that was popular
soldiers (two of whom were killed in the blast).
*By Reagan’s second
term, the Soviet Union was under enough
the West and from its own people to consider reform, partly because it
new, young leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.
policies of perestroika (reform) and glasnost
(openness—limited freedom of
the press).He did this partly because
he truly believed that the Soviet Government was not taking care of its
(especially its farmers) as it should, but also because the Soviet
*Between 1985 and
1989, Reagan and Gorbachev
met four times.Together they worked out
the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which would reduce the
nuclear weapons each country owned.
*In 1987, Ronald
Reagan visited Berlin, and gave a speech
in front of
the Berlin Wall.Although he praised
Gorbachev’s reforms, he said they had not gone far enough and directly
addressed the Soviet leader:'Mr
Gorbachev, tear down this wall!'
*As Soviet citizens
began to experience some
freedom and to have more exposure to the luxuries of the West (like
jeans, Pepsi-cola, and McDonald's) they wanted reform to come even
the government was allowing it to, even though Gorbachev pulled Soviet
out of Afghanistan in 1989.
*The Soviet Union's satellite
countries began to
demand greater freedom, too.
*In 1989, Hungary elected a
government and opened its border with Austria, and soon people
from all over Eastern Europe, especially East Germany, went to Hungary, then Austria, then West Germany or elsewhere in Europe.
*In East Germany pressure for reform
demands to allow free travel between East and West Berlin, and when the
(but did not specify how it would work) jubilant crowds took matters
own hands. The flooded the checkpoints on 9 November, 1989,
and within days, began tearing down the wall. On 3 October, 1990,
Germany was re-unified.
*The other communist
countries of Europe also overthrew their
governments between 1989 and 1991, and Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia even broke up into
countries.Czechoslovakia did so peacefully,
but Yugoslavia broke up during a
characterised by ethnic cleansing by most sides.
*On the other hand,
demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989 were
brutally crushed by
the Chinese government.
*In August 1991,
hard-line politicians and
military officers in the Soviet Union attempted a coup,
They did not have the support of the people or many members of the
and the president of the RussianSovietFederativeSocialistRepublic (and former mayor of
Moscow) Boris Yeltsin led
the coup, which quickly collapsed. Gorbachev was released, but
*In August and September, 1991, all the republics of the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics (except Russia, although it also
declared independence from the USSR. On Christmas
Gorbachev resigned. On the 26th, the USSR dissolved.
*Boris Yeltsin went on the serve as president of Russia until 1999, during
which time he
oversaw democratisation, economic liberalisation, and friendship with Europe and the United States, even supporting the
US in the 1991 war in Iraq.
*Ronald Reagan is
generally given credit for
the collapse of the Soviet Union.His consistent support of anti-Communist
groups and his military spending was too much for the USSR to keep up with.
*By the time the Soviet Union fell, George H. W.
vice-president, had become president of the United States.
*It seemed a hopeful
time:not only was communism was
the world, but Latin American countries were developing more democratic
governments (although in Panama this only happened after Bush sent
troops to overthrow dictator Manuel Noriega), and South Africa ended
of Apartheid, allowing black South
Africans to vote (in 1994 they elected Nelson Mandela, the nation’s
*Even a major crisis
seemed hopeful, as both
Western and Eastern European countries (including Russia) allied with
countries (both Moslem countries and Israel) in a US led coalition to
*In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, which it had once
wanted back. In 1991, a coalition of 34 nations with a UN mandate
them out of Kuwait and invaded Iraq, but did not
overthrow Iraq’s dictator, Saddam
However, an embargo was imposed, and large portions of Northern and
Iraq were declared ‘no-fly zones’ where Iraq could not send
let the Kurds become fairly independent.
Persian Gulf War, President
Bush was popular.However, Saddam Hussein
continued to threaten to disrupt the Middle East.The American economy also suffered a recession.Furthermore, Bush tried to reverse America’s budget deficit,
but had to
raise taxes to do it, breaking one of his promises in the 1988 election.All these things would work against Bush when
he ran for re-election in 1992.