Period 1: The Cold War (Nixon to Reagan)

  The Cold War : Presidents Nixon-Reagan (1969-1989)




The cold war was a non-physical war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that started in 1945. It was fueled by the fear of communism, nuclear weapons, and much more, therefore there was alot of tension between the two nations. Here, we cover what went on during the Cold War between the time of President Nixon to President Reagan.


During the presidential period of Richard Nixon 1969-1974


· Nixon was president from 1969- 1974.  He took actions to and eventually succeeded in ending the fighting in Vietnam.  He was re-elected in 1972.  He began as a “fiercely anti-communist senator from California” ( before working his way up from vice president to president.  His role in the second Cold War was crucial due to his foreign affairs.

















Richard Nixon was the first president to visit Communist China since its revolution which had isolated itself in 1949.  His objection was to bring together the world’s strongest nations and unite them to settle the tensions and prevent and mend damages caused by fighting.  These countries included the U.S., China, Soviet Union, Western Europe and Japan.  Nixon had displayed an interest in foreign affairs early on in 1954 and visited several countries.  I think that this is brave and admirable of him, and although his intentions were good, I think his intervention is ironic considering the negative attitude towards Communism in the U.S.



The SALT meetings and treaties were signed in order to restrain the arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union.  It was first introduced by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 and the first two treaties were signed in 1972 and 1979.  I believe that these meetings were not made on friendly terms but instead were enforced to ensure each country that they no longer had to compete with other powerful countries.  These treaties were not enforced properly, and in my opinion ultimately failed, but I believe they are a step in the right direction for these two superpowers. 


During the time of the Cold War, The Soviet Union was in bad condition.  Between bombings and nuclear disasters such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Chernobyl and the evil dictator Stalin, many people were dying and being killed.  I think, that both Soviet Union and the U.S. were afraid of each other, and that it the reason behind the SALT meetings and their indirect fighting.  However, Soviet Union’s public had it worse off, fighting a battle of its own. 



During the presidential period of Gerald R. Ford  1974-1977










One issue that was debated during the presidential period of Ford was whether or not Detente was a good thing. Although it was considered a positive policy because it helped in obtaining better relations and negotiations with the Soviet Union, many, however, criticized detente because it showed that the balance of power was much more important than trying to fix the mistreatment other people received in thier nations. Kissinger supported his point that Detente was good, by saying that it would have been ridiculous to anger the Soviets for their wrongdoings and no good results would have come from it, therefore it was better to build a stronger relation with the Soviet Union for negotiations on important topics such as nuclear weapons. In a sense, I agree with Kissinger because it is not possible to stop the cruel treatment of people around the world all at once, no matter how much we want to. In addition, without this way of thinking, there would have been no treaties, SALT agreements, and any other negotiations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. These had been all the signs of cooperation and accomplishments, without the efforts and results that came with them, the Cold War could have still gone on today.


Political cartoon about Detente 





 During the presidential period of James Carter 1977-1981





  • The Final Collapse of the Détente 
  • Cold War Map of 1980  




    Jimmy Carter was a firm believer in human rights and thoroughly advocated these ideals during his time in office, which I think was quite admirable and brave to do. Many need their rights in other countries and by setting an example, I feel as though Carter could have helped push other countires to give rights to their citizens. But because of his need to advocate civil rights, he lost ties with certain countries. However, he also gained ties with others, such as Panama, in which he gave full rights to the Panama Canal. Although giving full rights to Panama was nice, I don't necessarily think that losing ties with some countries is a smart idea for trading purposes, treaties, or for becoming allies. Carter did, however, usethese beliefs in negotiating SALT II, and when Brezhnev invaded Afghanistan, Carter became infuriated that Brezhnev had not followed the rules laid out, causing SALT II to crumble.


     During the presidential period of Ronald Reagan 1981-1989




    Andrei Gromyko




    Mikhail Gorbachev







    Reagan in the beginning of his presidential period had hated the "reds" intensely. He responded aggressively to any events that had to do with communism such as what he did in Grenada. However, it is interesting how this hate later turned into peace and friendship towards the Soviet Union. It was said that Reagan and Gorbachev after having met each other several times, started a " constructive personal relationship" (Warren 225) and became the best of friends. This friendship was very significant in history because it was the key to why and how the cold war especially the arm race had been finally put to rest. Without Reagan's change of his harsh views on the Soviet Union, the accepting and understanding mind of Gorbachev, and their willingness to reach to an agreement and develop a better relation, the Cold War could have still gone on today. What would it be like to live in a world constantly scared about being attacked even up till today?



    Example Of U.S.'s anti-communism propaganda





    A few important things after Reagan's presidential term



    Sources Used:


    Danzer, Gerald A., et al. The Americans. Boston: McDougal Littell, 2002. 


    Kort, Michael. The Cold War. Brookfield, Connecticut: The Millbrook Press, 1994.


    Warren, James. Cold War. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1996.