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President Reagan's Radio Address to the Soviet Union Before the Geneva Summit

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Ten days before the Geneva summit that marked his first meeting with new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, President Ronald Reagan delivered this radio address to Soviet citizens. The New York Times characterized the speech as a “folksy but firm presentation of his views” and noted a “marked difference in tone” from Reagan’s earlier rhetoric. During his first three years in office, Reagan had... Read More »

President Reagan's Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate

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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... Read More »

Press Release Regarding the Berlin Wall Memorial at the Baker Institute (Rice University)

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In 2000, 11 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Rice University installed a section of the former wall as a permanent part of the Baker Institute. Speaking at the opening ceremony for this monument, Rice University President Malcolm Gillis noted that the remnants of the Berlin Wall serve to remind us that no structure is capable of confining "the human mind and the human spirit in its... Read More »

Prime Minister Thatcher addresses Mikhail Gorbachev

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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... Read More »

Prime Minister Thatcher addresses the Polish Government

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On November 3, 1988, Margaret Thatcher became the first British Prime Minister to make an official visit to Poland. In her toast given at a state diner in the Radziwill Palace in Warsaw, Thatcher highlighted the long historical relationship between Poland and the United Kingdom, especially the cooperation between the two powers during the Second World War. Along with offers of assistance and... Read More »

Prime Minister Thatcher's Press Conference in Moscow

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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... Read More »

Reacting to German Reunification

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On October 3, 1990, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) were reunified as one single state, recreating a country that had not existed since the end of World War II. The divide between East Germany and West Germany had been both a political event and also a symbolic one, between Western democracies and Eastern Communist countries. The... Read More »

Reagan's Support for Human Rights

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By the summer of 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev's reform policies, glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), had begun to change the political landscape of the Soviet Union. When President Ronald Reagan visited Moscow in the summer of 1988 for a political summit, he gave a series of speeches applauding the progress of Soviet reforms but also demanding further achievements. In this speech... Read More »

Record of Conversation between Representative of the Opposition Roundtable and Boris Stukalin

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In the summer of 1989, representatives of the Opposition Roundtable in Hungary met with Boris Stukalin, the Soviet ambassador in Budapest, to discuss the country's political situation. At this meeting, Viktor Orban, a young political figure who was a founding member of the Alliance of Young Democrats (AYD or Fidesz), presented his views about the negotiations between the opposition and the... Read More »

Record of Main Content of Conversation Between Mikhail Gorbachev and Members of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Socialist United Party of Germany

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During Mikhail Gorbachev's historic visit to East Germany on the occasion of the GDR's 40th anniversary, he met with the SED politburo. In his remarks, Gorbachev urged reform and uttered what would become one of the most famous phrases of the period: "Life itself will punish us if we are late."

Using a variety of analogies, Gorbachev lectured the East German politburo that the only... Read More »

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