On Thursday night, CNN continues the series “The Eighties” with an episode that showed how Ronald Reagan won the Cold War.
The episode begins with the worker strikes in Poland in 1980, and soon moves to Reagan’s proposal of “Star Wars”, which was somewhat motivated by the popular movie “War Games”, surprisingly prescient for today’s battles of hacking.
Russia got so far behind in technology that Reagan feared Russia could do something stupid, so Reagan opened up the idea of a summit with Gorbachev, who followed Breshnev.
Russia also needed relief from military spending to raise its civilian standard of living. It also had to recover from the catastrophe of Chernobyl in 1986 (Movies, April 24, 2016).
Finally, Reagan implores Gorbachev to “tear down that wall”, In 1989, the Berlin Wall comes down, and Leonard Bernstein gives a concert of Beethoven’s Ninth where “Joy” is replaced by “Freedom”.
CNN has a link, “what the 80s looked like”.
A good companion is the coffee table book “A Day in the Life of America” (May 2, 1986).
The next episode should cover the AIDS epidemic.