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Richard Nixon & Deténte - Early 1972 Nixon's attempt to "thaw the cold war". He was trying to ease Cold War tensions by visiting Communist China.
Soviet-Afghanistan War - Late 1979 Afghanistan had been run by a Pro-Soviet government, but a strong Muslim rebel group was intent on overthrowing the Afghan government. Fearing a rebel victory, the Soviet Union sent troops to Afghanistan.
Reagan Begins An Arms Race - 1981-1989 Defense Department budget almost doubled, so Reagan revived two controversial weapons: the MX Missile & B-1 bomber. In 1983, Reagan asked the country's scientists to make a defense system that would protect American citizens from enemy missiles. From this, came the Strategic Defense initiative.
Mikhail Gorbachev Becomes Leader Of USSR March of 1985 Gorbachev used glasnost (openness). He allowed open criticism of the Soviet government and went forward the freedom of press. He also used perestroika, a restructuring of Soviet Society. He called for less government control, intro of some private enterprise and steps to establishing a democratic government.
INF Treaty - December 8, 1987 Gorbachev realized that better relations with the U.S. would allow Soviets to reduce military spending and reform their economy. Many meetings led to the INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty). It eliminated to classes of weapons systems in Europe.
Soviet Union Declines (Warsaw Pact Breaks Up) - 1988 Gorbachev encouraged East Germany and Eastern Europe to go their own ways. In 1988, he reduced the number of Soviet troops in Eastern Europe and allowed non-communist parties to organize in satellite nations. He encouraged the satellite nations to move toward democracy.
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