An American Crusade

“I don’t think Ronald Reagan has gotten the credit he deserves for ending the Cold War,” says producer Austin Hoyt. “Gorbachev deserves enormous credit, too — but for losing it gracefully. Reagan wanted to win the Cold War. He saw the Soviets were vulnerable, and went for the kill. In the process, he scared a lot of people half to death, including himself.”

American Experience: An American Crusade
2/14 9:00 pm WOSU TV
2/15 1:00 am WOSU TV
2/15 9:00 pm WOSU PLUS

“An American Crusade” focuses on Reagan’s battle with the Soviet Union and his resolve to end the Cold War, which the program sees as his principal legacy. Edmund Morris calls Reagan’s hatred of Soviet communism “the only negative emotion he had in his life,” and says Reagan believed that, with the pressure of a defense buildup, he could “bring this hostile totalitarian system to its knees.”

The program identifies two turning points in the Cold War: Reagan’s bold deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe, and a hastily called summit with rival Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1986, considered a failure at the time.

In the following video, Reagan speaks of specific freedoms in America that he hopes Russians themselves will be able to experience. He introduces the possibilities of greater exchange programs between American and Russian students, future tourism, and economic exchange between the two nations. He speaks of strategic arms reductions, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the hope for future peace in African nations. (May 31, 1988)
View the full speech here:

– Scott