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What was the main point of President Reagan's Address to Members of the British...

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kelliwoodward | Student, College Freshman | Honors

Posted July 17, 2012 at 9:24 PM via web

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What was the main point of President Reagan's Address to Members of the British Parliament on 6/8/82?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 18, 2012 at 3:09 AM (Answer #1)

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The main point of President Reagan's address was to bring forth his belief about the Cold War and how his approach would be fundamentally different than that of his predecessors.  Regan's speech was significant because he refused to accept that the Cold War would end in anything but a victory for the United States.  Reagan made it clear that he would not engage in any type of conciliatory policies with the Soviets because he deemed their form of government in the speech nowhere on the political level of the American vision of democracy and freedom.  It was the force with which he declared these ideas in the speech that made many take note that Reagan was going to approach the Cold War in a much different way than anyone else would have figured:

In an ironic sense Karl Marx was right. We are witnessing today a great revolutionary crisis, a crisis where the demands of the economic order are conflicting directly with those of the political order. But the crisis is happening not in the free, non-Marxist West, but in the home of Marxist-Leninism, the Soviet Union. It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens. It also is in deep economic difficulty. The rate of growth in the national product has been steadily declining since the fifties and is less than half of what it was then.

In likening the fight between the West and the Soviet Union as what Churchill did against Hitler, Reagan was able to construct a picture of the Soviet Union as dying, something to be discarded on the "ash heap of history," in terms of its inevitable loss in the Cold War. Reagan's end point is to suggest that the Cold War will be won, and America will be triumphant and the British need not fear an American alliance with them to this end:

While we must be cautious about forcing the pace of change, we must not hesitate to declare our ultimate objectives and to take concrete actions to move toward them. 

It is in this forceful point through which Reagan is able to make in his Parliament Address in 1982 that demonstrates the intensity and vigor through which he assured victory in the Cold War.

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