Let’s go back a few decades, first, more than a few decades, and see the way we were then. The way we were, not just the great people of a real America, but people all over this good old planet. During World War II, a bunch of very evil guys in Germany and Japan, were trying, and for a while, succeeding, to enslave the world. Of course, there were other evil guys about, in Italy, Spain, and most assuredly, Joe Stalin and his Communist thugs in the Soviet Union, but they weren’t interested in ruling the world, although the Communist thugs did try later.
A message to those who are opposed to the United States and other decent countries taking proactive military actions against unhinged idiots with delusional dreams of conquest, especially in the age of weapons of mass destruction — just imagine how many millions of lives of good people would have been saved if nations had stopped the Axis powers before the start of WWII. At least, this is true in Europe, with Hitler and Germany, which would have included Mussolini and Italy as well.
In early 1945, it was the beginning of the end for Hitler and Germany. In February of that year, President Roosevelt of the U.S., Prime Minister Churchill of Great Britain, and Premier Stalin of the USSR, known as the "Big Three," met in Yalta, in the Soviet Union, to discuss war strategies and post-war activities. Churchill and Roosevelt had wanted the conference to be in a neutral location, as Tehran had been in their previous Big Three conference, November, 1943. However, Stalin wanted it to be in Yalta, USSR, saying his doctors did not want him to travel for health reasons. At the time, Franklin Roosevelt, confined to a wheelchair most of his adult life, was in genuine poor health – he would die two months later - but nevertheless, he and Winston Churchill, knowing a Soviet Union location was a power play by Stalin, agreed.
Thus, the conference commenced on February 4, 1945, with Soviet troops only 40 miles from Berlin, adding to Stalin’s power position. Among other things, it was decided a defeated Germany and the city of Berlin would be divided into three zones of occupation. In addition, it was agreed that prewar governments would return to European liberated countries, along with free elections.
As Germany crumbled, American and British troops moving east within Germany against collapsing opposition, were within 120 miles from Berlin in early April, 1945, and military commanders, as well as Winston Churchill, urged General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander, to allow western front forces to rush toward Berlin and capture the city before Soviet troops did. The citizens of Berlin, aware of the raping and looting reputation of Soviet soldiers, also hoped for this.
However, Eisenhower ordered troops to halt the advance at the Elbe and Mulde Rivers, thus allowing the Soviets to capture and occupy Berlin and eastern Germany. He saw no reason to suffer additional casualties in a race to capture Berlin, when the division of Germany and Berlin had already been decided at Yalta.
Of course, based on what occurred later, Stalin never had any intention of following all agreements made at Yalta. Some say, perhaps because of his obvious failing health, President Roosevelt gave away too much at Yalta. It’s also been said that Eisenhower made a strategic mistake by not allowing his troops to advance deeper into Germany and capture and hold Berlin while further negotiations went on. Harry Truman, president after Roosevelt’s death, it is said, might have been tougher with the Soviets than Roosevelt had been at Yalta, and might have allowed Eisenhower to order troops to take Berlin. In hindsight, given what happened, this speculation makes sense.
For, very quickly it became obvious (alluded to above), Joe Stalin had never been serious at Yalta, as the Soviet Union established a Communist hell in the liberated countries of Eastern Europe. Nine months after Winston Churchill lost an election to continue as Prime Minister, he made a March 5, 1946 speech at Westminster College, located in President Truman’s home state of Missouri. And this is the part of the speech which is remembered, the part which clearly defined the situation:
"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone — Greece with its immortal glories — is free to decide its future at an election under British, American and French observation. The Russian-dominated Polish Government has been encouraged to make enormous and wrongful inroads upon Germany, and mass expulsions of millions of Germans on a scale grievous and undreamed-of are now taking place. The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy."
An thus, the words, "iron curtain," were stamped forever into history, and the Cold War commenced and would threaten the existence of mankind, until a change happened – Ronald Reagan.
During Cold War years, the Soviet Union, with their Marxist, collectivist, enslavement form of government, sought to expand Communism, while bullying the west with threats of nuclear destruction.
At Yalta it had been agreed that the USSR would declare war on Japan within 90 days after the end of hostilities in Europe. Stalin waited exactly 90 days, declaring war on August 9,1945, after the Americans dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, August 6, and just before the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9. Soviet troops quickly overran Manchuria, raping and looting along the way, including three days of mass rape and looting of innocent Chinese in Shenwang, China, ignoring the protests of Chinese Communists, and moved into northern Korea, but failed in their plan to take all of the Korean Peninsula before American troops landed in South Korea. Stalin wanted to occupy part of mainland Japan, but Truman said, "No."
During the July and August 1945 Big Three Potsdam Conference, defeated Germany and Berlin were divided into four occupied zones. Soon, Stalin began to initiate complications, resulting in a strained relationship between the Allies and the USSR. In 1948, the Soviets blocked Allied travel via road, rail, and canal, through the Soviet Zone of Germany, to their Zones in Berlin. The aim was to stop the supply of fuel and food to Allied Zones in Berlin, resulting in the Soviets controlling the supply of these items, and thus, in practical terms, controlling all of Berlin, in what was known as the Berlin Blockade.
In response, in June, 1948, the Berlin Airlift was started by the Allies, airlifting fuel and food for Berliners, eventually landing a cargo plane every 30 seconds. Humiliated, the Soviets finally ended the blockade on May 12, 1949, and the Berlin Airlift officially ended on September 30, 1949. As a result of this incident, Allied Zones in Berlin and Germany were combined, forming West Berlin and West Germany.
In 1949, Western Powers formed a military alliance, NATO, to contain the spread of Communism, while the Soviet dominated group formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Both sides in the Cold War had nuclear weapons, so a direct war between the USSR and United States was prevented due to mutual assured destruction. Instead, the Communist Bloc engaged in indirect provocations, using client states such as the Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War, plus arms races, as well as initiating and assisting Communist revolutions, espionage, and propaganda.
In 1961, the Berlin Wall, built of concrete, twelve feet in height, was erected by East Germany, encircling West Berlin. No surprise. The Communists said it was needed to stop the flow of West Berliners into Communist East Germany. Of course, it was quite the contrary - the Wall was constructed to stop East Germans escaping into West Berlin and freedom. On the Communist side of the Wall, to prevent escapes, there were rows and rows of barbed wire, dog runs, night lights, and armed guards.
It is a sad fact that as the Cold War continued, many Americans became captivated with the appeal of Communism, some hard-core knowingly engaging in an attempt to destroy America from within, others naively and idealistically inspired by vague thoughts of some sort of a utopian world. Lyndon Johnson, the worst president we’ve had, until one Barack Obama came along to compete for that distinction, certainly bears much of the responsibility for many Americans supporting our Cold War enemies.
His inept handling of the Vietnam War along with the creation of the so-called Great Society, resulted in hard-core misfits and haters in this country to emerge in the 1960’s, cause mischief, incitement, and finally insert themselves and their future comrades into government, media, and education, often using the guarantees of the United States Constitution they want to destroy. Barack Obama is one of them.
But because of one lucky break, these haters and misfits no longer have their idolized partner, the Soviet Union. That lucky break was the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, a strong anti-Communist. While the haters and misfits did everything they could to destroy the man, he served the maximum two terms.
With a positive, affable approach, in contrast to his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, and with an overwhelming victory, Reagan strengthened the economy, and directly took on the Soviet Union by building up our military might. In a speech before the British House of Commons in 1982, he said, freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history. The next year he called the Soviet Union, an evil empire.
He had strong allies in his stand against the evil empire, most notably, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain, who also agreed with Reagan's conservative politics, free market capitalism, and small government.
As part of his efforts to challenge the Soviet Union directly, Reagan dropped the offensive strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction, where both the Soviets and the United States knew if a nuclear missle attack was launched by one, the other would react immediately with another attack. Reagan changed the United States strategy to one of defense against Soviet missiles, called, Strategic Defense Initiative, SDI, also called Star Wars by critics and others who wanted to disparage anything relating to the president. SDI theoretically created a shield, protecting the United States from incoming Soviet missles by intercepting the missiles and destroying them with lasers.
Whether SDI would work or not, didn't matter. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had to assume it would work. The Soviet Union's stagnant economy could not keep up with Reagan's military buildup. In other words, the Soviets could no longer compete in the arms race.
Gorbachev initiated wide-spread economic and political liberalizing reforms which eventually resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He also formed an understanding with Reagan, which resulted in a reduction of nuclear weapons, and eventually the end of the Cold War.
It's appropriate the title of this article, should end the article. On this date, 25 years ago, June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan drove the final nail into the coffin of the evil empire, which was turned into ashes by the flames of liberty, and the ashes were dumped onto the ash heap of history.
"We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"