Actor Ronald Reagan was an unlikely, charismatic politician that started his presidency in 1989. He faced one of the biggest challenges America had faced in a long time. Preventing nuclear fallout. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was the leader of the U.S.S.R which was the other major country in this world-threatening situation. It wasn’t an easy road to getting world peace. For multiple years, every meeting they had was futile. Finally they both understood that more effort was needed from both of them to put an end to this.Intro page shownThe Cold War was a long, nonmilitary war that lasted almost 50 years between the Soviet Union and the United States. The roots of the war dated back to disagreements between the countries in 1917 during the Russian Revolution. They joined forces to take down Hitler in the 1940’s but old disagreements came up again when World War II ended in 1945. As a result the Cold War erupted between the U.S and U.S.S.R. Although the Cold War did not have any actual fighting, it affected American life greatly. During the Cold War, fighting broke out occasionally as in the Korean and Vietnamese Wars. Military confrontations were avoided for the tolls of the war to be revealed in other ways. It most affected the military arsenals of the two countries. The war fueled an alarming arms race. The roots of the Cold War started when Bolsheviks in Russia overthrew the czar and established their own state. The U.S was concerned with the new Soviet Union that challenged American democratic beliefs. The U.S especially did not like the U.S.S.R’s rejection of organized religion. The U.S sent troops into the Soviet Union to try to take down this new empire. When that didn’t work they refused the U.S.S.R of formal diplomatic recognition. This created a stalemate that wasn’t resolved until 1933 when FDR established diplomatic ties. The antagonism intensified when Josef Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Hitler. The Soviet Union became allies soon thereafter because of Germany attacking the Soviet Union. As the United States , Great Britain, and the Soviet Union fought together during the Grand Alliance, Americans began to view Stalin and the Soviet state with more sympathy. Their former antagonists were now friendly people just like them. As World War II came to an end in 1945, issues that had just been slipped underneath the rug came back again. The U.S emerged from the war wanting to spread it’s vision of liberty, equality, and opportunity. On the other hand, the U.S.S.R wanted to focus on post-war security before anything else. The Russians wanted to rebuild at home, with friendly neighbors in the west. Soviet and American aims came in to conflict and the Cold War erupted. The Arms Race was one result of the international competition. As the U.S built up their military after World War II, they started to rely more and more on nuclear weapons. The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was just a showcase for the force that had just been unleashed. In the 1950’s, scientists started to create hydrogen bombs that were much more powerful than atomic bombs. These weapons became bargaining chips for a war that was more dangerous than any before it. The two nations also started competing in space, launching satellites such as the Russian Sputnik. The Russian victory was embarrassing enough, but the U.S feared that the guided missiles used to launch satellites into space could also launch hydrogen bombs at other countries. The arms race encouraged an alliance between government and business, known as the military industrial complex. It stimulated extraordinary economic growth. As columnist David Lawrence observed in 1950, ” Government planners figured they have found the magic formula for almost endless good times. Cold War is the catalyst. Cold War is an economic pump primer. Turn a spigot, and the public clamors for more arms spending.” Because of this spending, the post World War II years were very prosperous. By 1960 $500 billion worth of goods were being produced annually.The two countries, wanting the upper hand, kept building up their arsenal. Doing this created the lethal atmosphere that was present during the height of the Cold War. The only way to lessen the amount of arms on each side was to compromise and decrease tensions. This was not easy for the two countries with opposite aims in government. Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev were the leaders of each country from 1990-1991. They were the only two Soviet Union and United States leaders had good relations. These two leaders decided that they needed to have conferences to end this era of mistrust and disagreement. They often sent letters to each other, discussing how to end the Cold War. Their predecessors signed a couple treaties such as the Limited Test Ban Treaty, but the signings proved to be futile because the diplomatic relations deteriorated again. Both nations subscribed to the policy of deterrence, in which one power’s nuclear forces were intended to prevent the other using its atomic weapons. Many treaties had been signed leading up to 1980, when relations deteriorated and the hard work of signing the treaties was for nothing. Jimmy Carter left office around the time when relations deteriorated. Before leaving he signed the Presidential Directive 59, which committed the U.S to fight a prolonged nuclear war that might last for months. The new president, Ronald Reagan, took that commitment even further with National Security Division Directive-13, which committed the nation to winning a nuclear war. Reagan sought an unprecedented $1.5 trillion over a five year nuclear arms buildup. Many senators criticized him and were worried when reagan discarded past diplomatic efforts in favor of Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START). Reagan strongly opposed a freeze and made that clear. Although Reagan was opposed to a freeze, Reagan recognized the need to counter Americans’ anxiety about nuclear war. He came up with the idea for SDI (Star Wars) which was an outer space defense mechanism that destroys Soviet bombs before they could reach the U.S. He did this to make Americans feel safer. In the Soviet Union, a new leader came about. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev assumed power in 1985 and recognized the need for accomodation with the West. He endorsed policies of glasnost( political openness to encourage personal initiative) and perestroika(restructuring the economy). He also developed a personal relationship with Ronald Reagan. All the while, the president maintained pressure on the Soviet bloc. However, the Russians were not able to compete with the U.S and required a reevaluation of military policy. And Reagan’s rhetoric demanded change. On June 12, 1987 Ronald Reagan delivered the powerful “Tear Down this Wall” speech at the Brandenburg Gate. This speech became an icon of the Cold War.Excerpt of ” Tear Down this Wall Speech”The close working relationship of the Soviet and American leaders led to a number of significant agreements. Gorbachev and Reagan signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987, and the START with Bush and Gorbachev in 1991. Gorbachev’s liberalization policies led to successful movements by Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The process of disintegration spread throughout Eastern Europe. In 1989 the East German Communist Party announced that people could leave East Germany. Many Germans celebrated by smashing down the Berlin Wall. This event signified the end of the Cold War. With the help of Ronald Reagan the Americans had won the Cold War. Many years of Soviet and American arms buildups had come to an end, and Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev put the two countries on the path to ending this dangerous arms buildup known as the Cold War.