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Chronology End of Cold War

Chronology End of Cold War - Chronology The End of the Cold...

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Chronology: The End of the Cold War August 1980 Solidarity is born. Lech Walesa leads a wave of wildcat strikes in Poland. Solidarity movement is born. The Communist government concedes to demands and acknowledges the right to form independent trade unions and the right to strike. January 1981 Reagan becomes President. Ronald Reagan inaugurated President of the U.S. Date Evil Empire speech. December 1981- July 1983 Martial law in Poland. General Wojceich Jaruselski imposed martial law on Poland after receiving pressure from the Soviet Union. Solidarity was banned and its leaders briefly imprisoned, including Walesa. March 1983 SDI. Reagan outlines the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The proposal to build a defensive shield against nuclear attack threatens the nuclear balance of MAD by undermining the second-strike capability of the USSR. Critics argued the system would spark a new arms race in space, would not work, and would be too costly among other things. Defenders argued that the proposal provided a key long-term challenge to the Soviet Union and signaled that it had fallen far behind the US in economic and technological strength. This arguably led the USSR to seek new leadership in Mikhail Gorbachev and for Gorbachev to try internal reform to rescue the failing Soviet system. March 1985 Gorbachev comes to power. Two Soviet leaders who were in line to succeed Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko die in quick succession. Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the youngest General Secretary of the Communist Party (and hence, leader of the USSR) in history. June 1987 Gorbachev launches internal reform. Gorbachev unveils his perestroika (restructuring) program of economic reform and glasnost (opening), which expanded civil liberties such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
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