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….
Günther Schabowski, the spokesman for the East German Communist Party Politburo, played a vital role in the toppling of the East German Communist government in the fall of 1989. During a press conference on November 9, 1989, a reporter asked him about new travel regulations issued by the government that seemed to indicate the possibility of easier travel into West Berlin through the Berlin….
The new Secretary General of East Germany, Egon Krenz, traveled to Moscow on November 1, 1989 to meet in person with Gorbachev and assess the situation in East Germany and discuss possible paths forward. Throughout the lengthy meeting, Krenz and Gorbachev spoke openly about the challenges that now faced the GDR. Gorbachev, for the most part, remained hopeful that the new GDR leadership could….
In this excerpt from the Mikhail Gorbachev's remarks to the Soviet Union's Defense Council, his chief foreign policy advisor Anatoly Chernyaev lays out the argument by Gorbachev that the Soviet Union can no longer sustain the arms race with the west that had raged as a part of the Cold War since the 1940s. Despite this rational observation that the Soviet Union can no longer compete with the….
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….
On June 12, 1989, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev began a four-day visit to West Germany, just two weeks after a similar visit to West Germany by United States President George H. W. Bush. Gorbachev had by the summer of 1989 become a popular figure and expectations were running high in West German society over the summit. From the Soviet Union's perspective, West Germany represented….
Czechoslovak Defense Minister Milan Vaclavik wrote this report on the "Vltava-89" military training exercise conducted by Warsaw Pact forces in May 1989. The Warsaw Pact was the Eastern Bloc regional security organization founded in 1955 as a challenger to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The NATO-Warsaw Pact rivalry symbolized the heights of aggression between the United….
As President George H. W. Bush took office in January 1989, factions within his administration disagreed concerning the approach to take with regard to US-Soviet relations. In December 1988, Gorbachev had 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….
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….
In the midst of a chaotic year of economic and political reforms, Communist Party General Secretary (and head of state) Mikhail Gorbachev addressed the politburo on the delicate issue of the Soviet military presence throughout Europe. Conventional Soviet military thinking was that any troop buildup by NATO countries must be met by tit-for-tat by the Warsaw Pact countries; to act otherwise was….
After gaining the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev set the Soviet Union on the path of reform with perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). He had followed his domestic changes with a general arms reduction throughout Eastern Europe in 1988, extending the reach of his reforms. On 6 July 1989, in a speech made in front of the Parliamentary….
As the Communist Parties throughout Eastern Europe lost power throughout the fall of 1989, the issue of the treatment of minorities inside those countries gained increased prominence. The ongoing plight of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria and the tensions among the nationalities of Yugoslavia were two areas of international concern. The Soviet Union faced its own minority issues with the….
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….
This speech was delivered by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on June 8, 1990. In her speech, she articulated two main points: one that expressed her support for continued reform and another that affirmed her support for a unified German state (something she was initially hesitant to support). When addressing the issue of reform inside the Soviet Union, Thatcher welcomed the new Soviet….
Margaret Thatcher held an impromptu press conference outside of her official residence, No. 10 Downing Street, on the morning following the initial opening of the Berlin Wall. In her remarks, it is clear that she is hesitant to reply directly to the idea of a unified German state. Instead, she expressed a desire to move slowly and to facilitate the internal growth of democracy from within East….
President Reagan Discusses Soviet Violations of Arms Control Agreements with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Ronald Reagan began his presidency in 1981 confident that the policy of détente with the Soviet Union—initiated by Richard Nixon in May 1972 and terminated in January 1980 by Jimmy Carter as a response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—was misguided. During his first three years in office, Reagan substituted a confrontational approach. Nations of Western Europe, however, maintained….
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. Earlier, in 1967, following a series of statements the previous year from France, West Germany, the US, and the Soviet Union calling for a….
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the prospect of a powerful reunited Germany worried nations in both the Eastern and Western blocs. Soviet officials suggested in repeated messages to the US that the four allies empowered to govern Germany at the conclusion of World War II—Britain, France, the US, and the Soviet Union—meet in order to relinquish their occupation rights and….
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….
On 3 October 1990, the constitution of West Germany was extended to cover the five states of East Germany, reunifying Germany as a single country under one law. Congratulations were extended to the new country from around the world, including from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which could celebrate the reunification as one of its own achievements. NATO was a military alliance….