Cold War (1979–1985)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Cold War (1979–1985) refers to the phase of a deterioration in relations between the Soviet Union and the West arising from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. With the election of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1979, and United States President Ronald Reagan in 1980, a corresponding change in Western foreign policy approach towards the Soviet Union was marked with the abandonment of Détente in favor of the Reagan Doctrine policy of "Roll Back", with the stated goal of dissolving Soviet influence in Soviet Bloc countries. During this time the threat of nuclear war had reached new heights not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In response to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, US President Jimmy Carter announced a US-led boycott of the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics. In 1984 the Soviets responded with their own boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.

Tensions increased when the US announced they would deploy Pershing II missiles in West Germany, followed by Reagan's announcement of the US Strategic Defense Initiative.

East and West tensions were further exacerbated in 1983 when Reagan branded the Soviet Union an "Evil empire".

In April 1983 the United States Navy conducted FleetEx '83, the largest fleet exercise held to date in the North Pacific. The conglomeration of approximately forty ships with 23,000 crewmembers and 300 aircraft, was arguably the most powerful naval armada ever assembled. U.S. aircraft and ships attempted to provoke the Soviets into reacting, allowing U.S. Naval Intelligence to study Soviet radar characteristics, aircraft capabilities, and tactical maneuvers. On April 4 at least six U.S. Navy aircraft flew over one of the Kurile Islands, Zeleny Island, the largest of a set of islets called the Habomai Islands. The Soviets were outraged, and ordered a retaliatory overflight of U.S. Aleutian Islands. The Soviet Union also issued a formal diplomatic note of protest, which accused the United States of repeated penetrations of Soviet airspace.

Also during 1983, the civilian airliner Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was downed by Soviet fighter jets near Moneron Island. In November 1983, NATO conducted a military exercise known as "Able Archer 83". The realistic simulation of a nuclear attack by NATO forces caused considerable alarm in the USSR, and is regarded by many historiansTemplate:Who to be the closest the world came to nuclear war since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

This period of the Cold War would continue through US President Reagan's first term (1981–1985), through the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in 1982, the brief interim period of Soviet leadership consisting of Yuri Andropov (1982–1984), and Konstantin Chernenko (1984–1985). This phase in the Cold War concluded with the ascension of reform minded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, who brought a commitment to reduce tensions between the East and West, and bring about major reforms in Soviet society.

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan following the Saur Revolution in that country, ultimately leading to the deaths of around one million civilians. Mujahideen fighters succeeded in forcing a Soviet military withdrawal in 1989.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cold War (1979–1985)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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