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11. Reagan and the End of the Cold War
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the end of the Cold War, focusing in particular on: (i) the importance of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979; (ii) Reagan’s aggressive rhetoric, describing the Soviet Union as an “evil empire”, and his massive increases in defence spending; (iii) Reagan’s deployment of conventional and nuclear missiles in Europe, and his proposal in March 1983 to create a space-based missile defence system, the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) or more conventionally as ‘Star Wars’; (iv) Reagan’s use of the CIA and covert operations to combat the spread of communism around the world, e.g. Afghanistan, Nicaragua, etc.; (v) the importance of Reagan’s relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev in easing tensions between the US and Soviet Union; (vi) the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and the end of the Cold War; and (vii) the extent to which Reagan’s actions can be credited with bringing the Cold War to an end.
In this course, Dr Thomas Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester) provides an introduction to the Cold War, 1947-91, the period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc) and the United States and its allies (the Western Block). In the first module, we provide an introduction to the topic as a whole, considering how we should actually define the Cold War, and its diplomatic, economic and ideological dimensions. In the second and third modules, we think about the origins of the Cold War, before turning in the fourth module to consider the importance of the Korean War (1950-53) on the conflict. In the fifth module, we think about the domestic impact of the Cold War, before turning in the sixth module to consider how the Cold War began to incorporate tensions in Africa, Asia and South America to become an increasingly global conflict. In the seventh module, we consider the importance of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) to the development of the Cold War, before turning in the eighth module to the most important conflict of them all – Vietnam (1955-75). In the ninth module, we consider the development of the war between 1968-75, a period of easing tensions between the US and Soviet Union known as Detente, before turning in the tenth module to the ratcheting up of tensions during the presidency of Jimmy Carter (1977-81). Finally, in the eleventh module, we think about how the Cold War came to an end.
Dr Tom Tunstall Allcock is a lecturer in American history at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War, with particular interests in U.S.-Latin American relations, presidential history and diplomacy, and the cultural history of the Cold War.
Cite this Lecture
Tunstall Allcock, T. (2020, February 05). Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991 - Reagan and the End of the Cold War [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-cold-war-1945-1991/reagan-and-the-end-of-the-cold-war
Tunstall Allcock, Thomas. "Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991 – Reagan and the End of the Cold War." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Feb 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-cold-war-1945-1991/reagan-and-the-end-of-the-cold-war