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Freeze!The Grassroots Movement to Halt the Arms Race and End the Cold War$
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Henry Richard, III Maar

Print publication date: 2022

Print ISBN-13: 9781501760884

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501760884.001.0001

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Bedtime for the Bomb

(p.209) Epilogue

Henry Richard Maar III

Cornell University Press

This epilogue describes the signing of the INF Treaty, which eliminated an entire class of missiles, including the highly controversial Euromissiles, as well as their Soviet counterparts, the SS-20s. When the threat of a nuclear war seemed lessened, the objective need for an activist solution to the arms race no longer appeared necessary. With the Freeze campaign's decline, Mikhail Gorbachev stepped into the space the movement was vacating, implementing its ideas. Though historians continue to argue whether Reagan or Gorbachev deserves more credit for the peaceful end of the Cold War, this ignores the pressures US and Soviet leaders faced from grassroots antinuclear activists. In a global sense, the Cold War had multiple end points, but the return of détente between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the subsequent ending of the arms race, had little to do with the unrestrained militarism and hawkish rhetoric of the Reagan administration. While Reagan and Gorbachev both deserve credit for standing up to the hawks, the peace of the late 1980s was made possible by public demand and the political pressures of antinuclear activism.

Keywords:   INF Treaty, arms race, Freeze campaign, Mikhail Gorbachev, Cold War, grassroots antinuclear activists, United States, Soviet Union, Reagan administration, antinuclear activism

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