On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered a major speech on the Cold War with the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall as a back drop. In staging this speech, President Reagan hoped to draw a parallel with the historic speech delivered in Berlin by President John F. Kennedy in July 1963. It was in this speech that President Kennedy spoke the famous phrase: "All free men, wherever they….
In December 1988, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev delivered what he called a “watershed” address at the United Nations, announcing that he planned unilaterally to reduce Soviet military forces by 500,000, cut conventional armaments massively, and withdraw substantial numbers of armaments and troops from Eastern European countries. Even with the proposed cutbacks, Soviet conventional forces….
In the following report, the American Ambassador to Poland (John R. Davis, Jr.) outlines possible outcomes of June 4 elections and what consequences might follow from each. Although the analysis reveals a general expectation that the regime would perform poorly, considerable uncertainty remains over whether this will translate into a clear mandate for Solidarity. The cable underscores two….
This cartoon from the East German weekly magazine Eulenspiegel (a weekly magazine of humor and satire), is poking fun at the possibility of German reunification. Once the Berlin Wall was torn down, unification became the goal of most (but not all) Germans on both sides of the border. The caption under the cartoon reads: "A common European home - but, only when I can collect the rent!"….
President George H. W. Bush held his first summit with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev early in December 1989 onboard a Soviet cruise ship docked off the coast of Malta. Although US-Soviet relations had thawed during the second term of President Ronald Reagan as he and Gorbachev developed a personal rapport, signed the first treaty between the superpowers to reduce nuclear weapons arsenals,….
Following World War II, State Department officials, skeptical of the diplomatic value of programs they considered “propaganda,” persuaded Congress to cut allocations severely for Voice of America (VOA) radio programs that had been established during World War II to communicate US war aims to populations abroad. In late 1947, however, a committee of senators traveling in Europe reported….
Once in power, Mikhail Gorbachev began a reform process that followed two paths: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). In order to reform the Soviet economy, Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military, both inside Soviet borders and throughout Eastern Europe. In both 1986 and 1987, Gorbachev proposed army reductions in summit meetings with….
Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms followed two paths: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). In order to reform the Soviet economy, Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military, both inside Soviet borders and throughout Eastern Europe. By the end of 1989, 500,000 men had been decommissioned from the Soviet army, greatly reducing its military presence….
On April 26, 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine led to the radioactive contamination of the surrounding countryside and to radioactive fallout throughout Eastern and Western Europe. The radiation released from the explosion was 100 times that of atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. 30 to 35 million acres of land were irradiated; this land was home to….
In this letter to Mikhail Gorbachev dated October 6, 1988, Georgy Shakhnazarov, Gorbachev's adviser and a champion of reform in the Soviet Union, revealed his views about the urgency of perestroika (reform) in socialist countries worldwide. Shakhnarazov acknowledged not only that each country had unique problems in need of some country-specific reform measures but also that some problems….
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States was closely watching the events unfolding in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and this secret service document reveals the extent of that interest. As exhibited in this source, under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union embarked on a program of reform both within the Soviet bloc and in its relationships….
During the significant changes that were brewing in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev (leader of the Soviet Union) met with members of the Trilateral Commission, a nongovernmental organization founded in 1973 by private citizens of Japan, North America, and Europe to foster mutual understanding and cooperation. In these notes from a Politburo meeting in January….
This February 1989 report by the Bogomolov Commission analyzes the current situation in Eastern Europe for Alexander Yakovlev, key foreign policy advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev. The Bogomolov Commission was the largest Soviet think tank conducting research on the East European countries. This document can be compared with the memorandum by the International Department of the CC CPSU (document….
In the following memorandum to Alexander Yakovlev, one of Gorbachev's chief advisors, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) analyzes the effects of Gorbachev's reform program in Eastern Europe. The document reflects the complexity of the issues raised by the new Soviet policy. In the excerpt below, the CPSU assesses the current situation and identifies some of….
Months after Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush signed the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, it seemed that extensive nuclear disarmament between the United States and soon-to-be former Soviet Union was becoming a reality. in this internal document, the Central Intelligence Agency examined the feasibility Gorbachev's proposals, their potential consequences, and….
On September 18, 1990, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher addressed the Czechoslovak Parliament in Prague. In her speech, Thatcher raised three main points that reflect the major tenants of her European policies in the wake of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. First, she highlighted the long history of cooperation and cultural ties that existed on a bilateral level between….
On March 21, 1990 British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher hosted a delegation from Czechoslovakia, including the newly elected president Vaclav Havel. One of Prime Minister Thatcher's major initiatives following the collapse of communism was the creation of the "Know How Fund," a fund created to assist economic, political, and cultural development in Eastern Europe. Relative to what other….
In the spring and summer of 1989, Chinese protestors occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing in order to achieve some political concessions from the Chinese Communist Party. At the same time, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev continued to follow along their path of political reforms with glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). In September 1989, Prime….
As part of a public demonstration of support for the newly-elected governments in Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, traveled throughout the region in September 1990. Not only did this provide her an opportunity to discuss important matters for Britain's foreign policy but also she could use the attention she brought with Western journalists to allow the new….
As the Cold War wound down, NATO’s mission underwent a gradual shift from one of insuring the security of member nations through the deterrence of military aggression to one of fostering the integration of Eastern European countries into a new world order. At the fortieth anniversary NATO summit held in Brussels at the end of May 1989, the heads of the member states issued a declaration that….