RONALD REAGAN CENTENNIAL - "MR GORBACHEV TEAR DOWN THIS WALL"
Following WWII partly because of weak agreements made between the Allied Powers for the rebuilding of Europe after the war and partly because of Soviet aggression that was engineered by Josef Stalin the Soviet leader at the time the United States found itself in what was called, "The Cold War." A war of words and positioning that kept the world on the brink of possible nuclear destruction as the worlds two super powers played a cat and mouse game.
The United States tried to coral communist expansionism while the Soviet Union was on the move taking countries as part of an ever expanding Soviet Empire. Several attempts were made by President's from Eisenhower to Carter through treaties and agreements to counter Soviet aggression but most failed or at best prevented further escalation. The policy of America became known as,"Detente." A relaxation of tensions which accepted Soviet expansion and Communism in order to,"get along," with the Communist state.
President Reagan had long been an outspoken opponent to communism well before he entered office. He had realized in the early days of the Cold War that Soviet Communism could not stand especially when compared to freedom and liberty. Two decades before his Presidency Reagan understood the evil of communism and that if challenged it could not stand nor compete with freedom and Capitalism.
Upon becoming President he called a spade a spade and in his first State of the Union address shortly after becoming President called the Soviet Union, "the Evil Empire," to the anger of many who opposed him and the fear of many even in his own Republican party. President Reagan made it United States policy to end the Cold War and the threat of communism and nuclear destruction.
His plan consisted of building our military capability knowing that the Soviets would be forced to compete. He used our diplomatic partners as a means of keeping pressure on the Soviet state. He stressed continually the evil of communism and through back door channels using economic and diplomatic pressure kept the heat on the Soviets. Because of their oppressed economic situation the Soviet Union could not compete with our military build up. This and the other Reagan initiatives eventually forced the Soviets to the bargaining table and ultimately the end of the Evil Empire.
In 1986 President Reagan met with Chairman Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland and when Gorbachev tried to strong arm Reagan as previous Soviet leaders had with other President's, Reagan actually walked out on him and refused to budge. Gorbachev realized that Reagan was a force to recon with and through many other meetings and continued buildup, what President Reagan believed would happen did.
In 1989 during the summer after he left office the Soviet Union fell and the Berlin Wall came down. I realize that this description is a quick and very brief overview of events that changed the world but the point is that through his strength both in character and his belief in the inherent fact that all men wish to be free and the belief that the United States was and is the last best hope for freedom, President Reagan was proven right despite his critics and tremendous out cry against his ideals and policy. Communism as a force on earth ended, The Soviet Union died and the world changed forever for the better thanks to Ronald Reagan.