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Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois on 6 February 1911. His political career began in 1966 when he was elected Governor of California. He won the Republican Presidential nomination in 1980, and took office as President of the United States on 20 January 1981.

Preventing the spread of communism was the central platform of Reagan’s foreign policy.

Reagan believed that the United States needed to be in a position of military strength to deal with the Soviet Union.

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Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues

During his two terms of presidency, Reagan increased defense spending, pushed for a strategic missile defense system (also know as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or “Star Wars”), and ordered the production of intercontintental ballistic missiles. But he also sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union by negotiating bilateral arms control measures. In 1987, Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. The INF was the first arms control agreement in history to reduce nuclear arsenals. In addition, the Reagan administration began the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) to reduce the strategic nuclear arsenals of the US and Soviet Union by 50%, including large multiple warhead missiles.

In 1994, Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He died on June 5, 2004 at his home in Bel Air, California.