The Role of Ronald Reagan in Changing East

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Assess the role of Ronald Reagan in changing East-West relations Argument: Reagan radically put an end to the period of détente and the prospects of an end to the Cold War. After the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, both the USA and the USSR wanted to limit arms production and limit the nuclear threat. Reagan opposed these policies; in his election campaign he openly rejected détente and disarmament. From 1980 to 1984, Reagan was continuously pressurizing the Soviet Union by expanding the US’s defense. Moreover Reagan changed the USA’s image by showing it as superior and prosperous. Finally Reagan also changed East-West relations by creating an “evil” image of the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan played a very important role in regenerating tensions between East and West. He was determined to make the USA superior and to undermine the USSR. 1) Change in the USA’s attitude and image -When Reagan became president, the USA was in decline. Its economy was in depression and inflation and unemployment rates were high. -The USA had just been defeated in Vietnam= scared+ divided American society. -Rapid expansion of S.U nuclear capacity between 1975-1980= USA felt vulnerable to nuclear attack Because of these three factors , Reagan felt that the USA was in retreat= propelled Reagan into offensive. 1980: bring about spiritual revival in America + restoration of natural pride and confidence. -When Soviet Union is weakened after Brezhnev dies, Andropov have a more liberal regime + economy is weakened. When Andropov asks for compromise on arms, Reagan refuses Showed USSR that USA was not longer willing to compromise. Created tension, pressure on USSR. Created the right climate for a nuclear war. 2) Created a negative image of S.U= justify the USA’s actions 1983: Reagan described S.U as “evil empire” 1982: Verbal Assault at British House of Parliament=
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