This Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. No individual was more responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union than President Ronald Reagan, I know liberals scoff at that notion and anyone will be able to find many politically correct revisionist articles tearing apart that historic fact. A careful examination of the evidence will demonstrate how President Reagan brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union through a very complex plan.
The Breitbart article How Ronald Reagan Won the Cold War chronicles this miraculous series of events.
Based on intelligence reports and his lifelong study, Reagan concluded that Soviet communism was cracking and ready to crumble. He first went public with his prognosis of the Soviets’ systemic weakness at his alma mater, Eureka College, in May 1982. He declared that the Soviet empire was “faltering because rigid centralized control has destroyed incentives for innovation, efficiency, and individual achievement.”
One month later, in a prophetic address to the British Parliament at Westminster, Reagan said that the Soviet Union was gripped by a “great revolutionary crisis” and that a “global campaign for freedom” would ultimately prevail. He boldly predicted that “the march of freedom and democracy … will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”
He directed his top national security team to develop a plan to end the Cold War by winning it. The result was a series of top-secret national security decision directives that:
-Committed the U.S. to “neutralizing” Soviet control over Eastern Europe and authorized the use of covert action and other means to support anti-Soviet groups in the region.
–Adopted a policy of attacking a “strategic triad” of critical resources—financial credits, high technology, and natural gas—essential to Soviet economic survival. The directive was tantamount, explained author-economist Roger Robinson, to “a secret declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union.”
Another great read on this subject is the Heritage article Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism.
There is one Western leader above all others who forced the Soviets to give up the Brezhnev Doctrine and abandon the arms race, who brought down the Berlin Wall, and who ended the Cold War at the bargaining table and not on the battlefield. The one leader responsible more than any other for leading the West to victory in the Cold War is President Ronald Reagan.
The plan President Reagan implemented was one he authored before being elected to the Presidency.
In January 1977, four years before he was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan told a visitor that he had been thinking about the Cold War and he had a solution: “We win and they lose.”
It was a plan he began implementing soon after taking office,
From his first week in office, President Reagan went on the offensive against the Soviet Union. In his first presidential news conference, Reagan denounced the Soviet leadership as still dedicated to “world revolution and a one-world Socialist-Communist state.”
It is true that the Soviet Union was an economic mess, however that nation was able to produce a military that was hugely superior to ours, especially after the Carter Presidency.
Based on intelligence reports and his own analysis, the President concluded that Communism was cracking and ready to crumble. He took personal control of the new victory strategy, chairing 57 meetings of the National Security Council in his first year in the White House.
Here is the plan that President Reagan implemented.
Reagan directed his national security team to come up with the necessary tactics to implement his victory strategy. The result was a series of top-secret national security decision directives (NSDDs).
NSDD-32 declared that the United States would seek to “neutralize” Soviet control over Eastern and Central Europe and authorized the use of covert action and other means to support anti-Soviet groups in the region, especially in Poland.
NSDD-66 stated that it would be U.S. policy to disrupt the Soviet economy by attacking a “strategic triad” of critical resources–financial credits, high technology, and natural gas. The directive was tantamount to a “secret declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union.”
NSDD-75 stated that the U.S. would no longer coexist with the Soviet system but would seek to change it fundamentally. America intended to roll back Soviet influence at every opportunity.
Here are more components of the plan.
A subset of the Reagan strategy was U.S. support of pro-freedom forces in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and Cambodia. A key decision was to supply Stinger ground-to-air missiles to the mujahideen in Afghanistan, who used them to shoot down the Soviet helicopters that had kept them on the defensive for years.
The year 1983 was a critical one for President Reagan and the course of the Cold War. In March, he told a group of evangelical ministers that the Soviets “are the focus of evil in this modern world” and the masters of “an evil empire.”
The same month, the President announced that development and deployment of a comprehensive anti-ballistic missile system would be his top defense priority. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was called “Star Wars” by liberal detractors, but Soviet leader Yuri Andropov took SDI very seriously, calling it a “strike weapon” and a preparation for a U.S. nuclear attack.
Moscow’s intense opposition to SDI showed that Soviet scientists regarded the initiative not as a pipe dream but as a technological feat they could not match. A decade later, the general who headed the department of strategic analysis in the Soviet Ministry of Defense revealed what he had told the Politburo in 1983: “Not only could we not defeat SDI, SDI defeated all our possible countermeasures.”
The master stroke of the plan was this event:
In June 1987, Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate and challenged the Soviet leader: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” No Western leader had ever before dared to issue such a direct challenge.