tv The Eighties CNN January 26, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PST
mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. "the eighties," next on cnn. the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause. they reserve under themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat. >> the russians are gearing up for war. >> the senate today approved a record $136.5 billion defense budget. >> the largest anti-nuclear protest in u.s. history. >> president reagan is now much more eager to meet with the new leader of the soviet union. >> do you have an agreement, mr. president? >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall.
clear the russians are meeting resistance from muslim tribes men and units of afghanistan's army. >> in 1980 the soviet union had moved into afghanistan, it was in nicaragua, it was in the caribbean. there was a feeling that the united states, and i felt it, the united states could lose the cold war. >> there was a model of behavior during the cold war, and the way i often described it, it was the red side of the map and blue side of the map, separated by the iron curtain. the rest of the world we competed for. >> that fundamental clash between communism and capitalism, between dictatorship and freedom was the dividing line in the world that people assumed would last forever. but there's a revolution starting to stir. >> there has been an unexpected development abroad. polish workers in the baltic area are standing firm in their strike against the government. >> the demands of the striking
polish workers included free press, release of political prisoners and right to strike. even though these workers assumed the risk of striking illegally. >> along comes solidarity, but it's not a union run by communists. it is a union run by polish patriots, so it's a tremendous threat to the ussr because of the possible contagion. it would just wipe out communism if it were allowed to spread. >> some of the principal players in this country's season of discontent spend the season reinforcing the link between poland workers and the catholic church. >> it is impossible to understand solidarity without understanding the impact of pope john-paul ii. >> the soviets are nervous about john-paul ii, he is anti-communist and beloved by the poles. these pressures are forcing the
polish government to figure out how to keep control. >> the strike by polish ship yard workers is over. for the polish strikers, it was a day worthy of hyperbole, lech walesa telling his followers we are now co-masters of this land. >> lech walesa and solidarity are showing that you could have an independent union in a communist country and the question was how independent were they going to be allowed to be? >> how the u.s. deals with poland, with the eastern bloc and with russia, the early challenges for the foreign policy of the president-elect ronald reagan. >> reagan had spent much of his career blasting the soviet union and attacking any republican or democrat who had said we can negotiate. he had been the leading opponent of detente during the 1970s, the policy of trying to ease relations with the soviets. what he disliked about detente, was that they were hitting the negotiating team as equals. reagan thought there are two
superpowers, but we have moral superiority because democracy is inherently good and sovietism is inherently bad. >> the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat. i think when you do business with them, even at a detente, you keep that in mind. >> and everybody was like, oh, this cowboy is shooting from the hip, actor, doesn't he understand that's not diplomat? boy did he get the soviets' attention, but there was tush-tushing about whether this was appropriate for the president to say. >> ronald reagan had a more radical view of american goals in the cold war than any president before him. as he put it, my policy toward the communists is very simple. we win, they lose. it shocked people. >> it sounds as if, sir, you're saying that there isn't going to be any summit meeting with -- >> no, i don't know. but i do believe this, that it
is rather foolish to have unilaterally disarmed by letting our margin of safety deteriorate and then you sit with the fellow who's got all of the arms, what do you have to negotiate with? >> the senate today approved a record $136.5 billion defense budget for fiscal 1982. the vote was overwhelming. 92-1. >> reagan was trying to spend the ussr into oblivion. he said what we spend on our armed forces is a much smaller proportion of our economy than is the case with you. now see if you can compete. >> ronald reagan's clear anti-communism made many people worry that though he didn't want war, the effect of his thinking would be the coming up of unwanted war. >> in poland the state council has decreed the introduction of martial law beginning today. >> the leader of solidarity is
said to be in a government guest house, not under arrest, but dozens of polish activists and dissidents were locked up along with former leaders of the communist government. >> have you said anything to the russians, mr. president? >> we've made it plain how seriously we would view any interference by them. >> there was concern the soviets were going to invade and that the poles in their drive for self-determination were going to go beyond whatever mental threshold the soviet leadership had. >> at the vatican today, pope john paul ii expressed concern for the worsening situation in his native poland. pope john paul told some 200 polish pilgrims he knew were in the crowd that they and all fellow poles should pray for peace. >> the cold war became as cold as it had ever been before. it got so cold, it was capable of becoming hot.
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union since stalin. unlike his predecessors, gorbachev might feel less tied down by the burden of soviet history. >> gorbachev is a revolution among himself. he's talking about a new soviet union allowing some freedom of speech, allowing a more open society. gorbachev had seen how the gap between how the soviet people lived and what the party said was growing wider and wider. but he is a child of the system. he did not want to destroy it. he had in his mind i have to save it. [ speaking foreign language ] >> i want him to fight for peace and for better life. >> i think that he will be a good leader and i like him. >> those first couple of years of the reagan first term, reagan
didn't meet any soviet leaders. when asked about it, reagan said they keep dying on me. well, that was true, but he wasn't really making much of an effort, and there was a fear that if you don't reach out to the soviets, they are so afraid of us, they will do something stupid. >> president reagan had a change of heart. he is now much more eager to meet with the new leader of the soviet union and he has sent mikhail gorbachev a letter suggesting a summit. ♪ ♪ >> all previous summits had a communique worked out ahead of time by the two foreign ministries. here's what we say at the end, and there'd be some gaps in it to be filled in during the meetings. reagan said we are not doing any
communiques. whatever comes from the summit will be what we develop while we're there. >> after 70 minutes with advisers, mr. reagan invited gorbachev to stroll the garden to the pool house where they sat alone before a fire. mr. reagan talked without notes, not about arms control but about of his personal feelings about reducing the level of fear and misunderstanding between the two nations. >> the main thing is they met each other as human beings, reagan, in particular, had concentrated his attention on gorbachev as a person. he spent more time studying gorbachev than he did the esoteric things having to do with arms control. >> it is understood the president tried to dispel gorbachev's negative image of the u.s. gorbachev wouldn't budge but he was not nearly as combative as he's been with other american officials recently. >> is it a good sign? >> of course. >> i would think so. >> i was at lunch when ronald reagan came out of the first meeting with mikhail gorbachev and he said this is a new type of soviet leader. >> the president announced gorbachev will visit the u.s. next year and that they agreed to accelerate the arms talks.
but the soviet leader was more negative. >> translator: the solving of the most important problems concerning the arms race and increasing hopes of piece, we didn't succeed in this meeting. so of course there are important disagreements on matters of principle that remain between us. >> the general feeling here is that president reagan deserves credit for starting a dialogue with soviet leader gorbachev, that, in the nuclear age, any lessening of tension must be applauded. but many pronounced the summit here only a modest success because it failed to achieve any significant progress on arms control. >> the first word that something was seriously wrong came from this power plant in eastern sweden where workers coming on the job registered abnormally high levels of radiation on their bodies. as tests were conducted, similar
puzzling reports of high radiation came in from all over scandinavia, but still no accidents were reported. >> finally, a surprise. the radiation was coming from 750 miles away at chernobyl in the soviet union. a terse announcement picked up from radio moscow. >> the soviet government reports an accident at the chernobyl nuclear power plant in the ukraine. >> the instinctive reaction of the soviet bureaucracy was to deny that anything had really happened. as a result of which, people died. not only were ordinary soviets not getting the truth about chernobyl, the top leaders were not getting the truth. gorbachev discovered that he was also in the dark as the soviet leader. >> soviet newscasters deliberately played down the incident, reporting it after the latest five-year plan and crop reports. eight or nine minutes into the news, an announcer said that only two people had been killed in the incident, contradicting one news report that casualties numbered in the thousands.
>> chernobyl was not a flash in the pan. every few weeks there would be something like chernobyl because of structural defects of the soviet system. >> officials say that because this took place at the soviets' newest reactor, it's another indication of the inferiority of soviet technology, and they say that they brought on the accident not taking the same safety precautions taken in the united states. >> chernobyl reminded the soviets that they couldn't play in the game of modern technology. they couldn't protect their own people and they couldn't hide it anymore. >> gorbachev's biggest challenge was how to get his country moving again, and in order to do that, he needed to end the arms race, he needed to spend more money on improving living standards of ordinary people. and for that, he needed a relaxation of tensions with the west. >> iceland? >> that's what i was here to tell you about. yeah. well, i am pleased to announce
that general-secretary gorbachev and i will meet in reykjavik, iceland. meeting proposed by general secretary gorbachev and i accepted. >> no agreements at the meeting next week? >> i don't know. all we've agreed upon is we're going to have a meeting. >> gorbachev needs a show of progress overseas to boost his stature in moscow. the irony of reykjavik will be that when reagan, the leader of the free world, meets gorbachev, the autocrat, it will be gorbachev that most needs the publicity back at home. hey, darryl. would you choose the network rated #1 in the nation by the experts, or the one awarded by the people? uh... correct! you don't have to choose, 'cause, uh... oh! (vo) switch to the network awarded by the experts. and get apple music included, on us. on both ios and android.
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at reykjavik, the feeling was we didn't have to prepare all that much. according to everything we knew, it would be howdy and hello, handshake and photo-op and it turned out to be anything but that. after the first morning when reagan and gorbachev met, we were called into the embassy which was right nearby. reagan says gorbachev really wants to reduce nuclear weapons, so he hands a piece of paper to no one in particular. all of us kind of grab it, we looked it over and it was a holy cow moment. this guy really wants to reduce nuclear weapons.
here was a soviet leader who was not going by the script. here was a guy that wanted to do business. >> the first indication that some progress may have been made at today's talks at reykjavik came at a white house briefing a few minutes ago. there's no prediction yet on the outcome of the talks, but they give rise to some optimism. >> i was up there as the clock was ticking down. they had worked and worked and worked on an arms control agreement and at the last minute it fell apart. >> mr. president. >> do you have an agreement, mr. president? >> do we have an agreement, sir? >> will you meet again? >> when i saw reagan come out of that room with gorbachev, his face was a mask of rage. and gorbachev was very stiff walking out and the guy beside me said i don't like the body language. >> president reagan, secretary gorbachev appear to have reached tentative agreement on much of a
historic breakthrough arms reduction arrangement. but in the end, the soviets insisted that president reagan must drop his "star wars" program to get the deal. president reagan wouldn't do that. >> the soviets feared that sdi was a lot more real than it was that the strategic defense nsht initiative could really protect the united states. it wasn't mutually assured destruction at that point, it was assured destruction of the soviet union but assured protection of the united states. so they went crazy about the sdi. >> translator: the president insisted until the end on retaining for the united states the right to things relating to sdi. it would have taken a madman to accept that. >> after reykjavik inside the united states there is astonishment and beyond that, fear, of what reagan has talked about doing. banning nuclear weapons.
>> a reagan administration move to sign an arms deal with the soviets was criticized today by former president nixon and former secretary of state henry kissinger. they said it would be a profound mistake to allow medium range missiles in europe. >> many conservatives thought that reagan had been charmed by gorbachev, and reagan actually had more problem dealing with his hard-right than he did the left. so reagan had to constantly let the right know, i know what i'm doing. >> reagan was being accused already of getting soft on communism, but he hadn't forgotten the problems we still had. europe was still divided, there was still a berlin wall. >> there's one sign the soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. mr. gorbachev, open this gate.
mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. >> it was perfect. it was beautiful. he had to insist on keeping it in the speech. and he did it. don't let anybody tell you it was a staffer or anybody else that did that. >> meanwhile, in the soviet union, gorbachev decides to do something bold and he says let's separate sdi from reducing the nuclear stockpile. once he does this, it opens up the possibility for a third summit. >> this week's summit may prove especially important, even historic. for the first time since the onset of the nuclear age, the united states and soviet union will sign a treaty actually reducing the number of nuclear missiles. >> the inf involved the elimination of an entire class of weapons, the intermediate-range ballistic missiles. and it changes the nature of arms control because you went
from arms control to arms reduction. you're now getting rid of nuclear weapons. >> many american conservatives are afraid that mr. reagan is too anxious for an arms agreement to ensure his place in the history books as a peacemaker. >> well, i haven't changed from the time i made a speech about an evil empire, and i think i could sum up my own position on this with a recitation of a very brief russian proverb, "doveryai, no proveryai." it means trust but verify. ♪ ♪ >> the importance of this treaty transcends numbers. we have listened to the wisdom in an old russian maxim. doveryai, no proveryai. trust but verify.
>> translator: you repeat that at every meeting. >> i like it. >> the improbability of either of them, reagan, the cold war hawk, gorbachev, the party guy, doing this kind of thing is just unheard of, and they did it. >> reagan had been in a low in 1987 with iran contra and many americans didn't like him. they didn't trust him. the negotiation with the soviet union in many ways saved his presidency. >> mr. gorbachev may not have seen much of america, but he certainly made sure that a lot of americans saw him. motorcades don't very often turn a lot of heads in this city. but when they stop on a dime, so does everyone else. >> i want to say hello to you. >> that was very special. he didn't have to do it. he did it. i am very surprised and i'm pleased. >> what do you think of gorbachev? >> the guy is a pr genius.
i mean, jumping out of the car like that, unbelievable. >> congressional leaders say they gave president reagan a round of applause on the morning after the summit meeting, but there was caution against euphoria. >> sort of a love fest this morning. everybody applauded when the president came in. >> the president said gorbachev is a different leader, he no longer wants world domination. do you agree? >> it's one thing to sign the inf agreement. it's something else to follow through on a number of other areas. i still don't trust him.
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soviet leader mikhail gorbachev tonight is saying that the war in afghanistan is about to come to an end. >> today's announcement seems to be another indication of how anxious the soviets are to get out of afghanistan, out of a war they have not been able to win, out of a war that has proven too costly to continue. >> because of afghanistan, communism was no longer affordable. the idea of promoting your ideology around the world, defending its interests became too expensive. >> white house officials are thrilled at the idea that when the president arrives in moscow for a summit with gorbachev in late may, it now appears the soviets will already have begun their pullout from afghanistan. ♪ ♪
>> ronald reagan built his career saying communism is evil, and the notion that five years after his evil empire speech, ronald reagan lands in moscow and is welcomed and greeted is mind-blowing. >> just about like every other american tourist who comes to moscow, president reagan today toured red square, which is the historic center of this capital, of course. he had the best possible tour guide, mikhail gorbachev. >> so friendly was it all that at one point, president reagan threw his arm around gorbachev. and at another point completely took back his evil empire pronouncement. >> you still think you're in an evil empire, mr. president? >> no. >> why not? >> i was talking about another time and another era. >> the warmonger reagan is
essentially saying the cold war looks as if it's coming to an end. >> freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth. it is the right to put forth an idea, scoffed at by the experts, and watch it catch fire among the people. >> in gorbachev's soviet union, food has become even harder to get. once there was a selection, maybe two or three cheeses. now there is only one. there is a dangerous undertone to the complaints. we ate better, they say, in the days of brezhnev. >> there was stress in the soviet system because they were trying to change it to a system that was unchangeable and unable to adapt to a modern world. gorbachev thought the united states is so far ahead of him, the soviet system is so far behind, we need to accelerate
the reforms. >> today i can report to you that the soviet union has taken a decision to reduce its armed forces. within the next two years their numerical strength will be reduced by 500,000 men. the numbers of conventional armaments will also be substantially reduced. >> gorbachev was relaxing the soviet's grip on eastern europe. they didn't have much choice about this because they couldn't bail out the east european economies. so what were they going to do? >> the impact in the united states is that finally the critics of reagan, this is in the final month of his presidency acknowledge that things are fundamentally changing. >> in china, today change in the name of democracy was the issue. more than 100,000 people denied
the government and took to the streets of beijing demanding democratic reform. >> in beijing, demonstrations grow and grow and grow to the point where they reach a couple million people. and in the middle of all this, in comes mikhail gorbachev. this was going to be a visit in which the chinese communist party hoped to improve its relations with the soviets. >> as the sun rose here, it was clear that the chinese students' protests for democracy is still gaining strength and urgency. students are dropping from exhaustion. some now are vowing to die, if necessary. >> the chinese leadership didn't know what to do, but recognized that they couldn't reform the way they were being pushed to reform. they couldn't allow this challenge to their authority. >> the soviet leader largely ducked questions on china's student issue. i cannot be the judge, he said. >> in china tonight, the government declare martial law
in beijing, ominous. foreign journalists face new restrictions that amount to a news blackout. >> there's chaos in tiananmen square. there are bodies and dead and injured all over the place. there's no way to ascertain how many have been killed or wounded. >> china is now restored into a deeply repressive leninist regime. it's a question, both in moscow and throughout eastern europe, what's gorbachev's attitude going to be towards people who want to change the communist system? our members shop a little differently.
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. while china's communist rulers were brutally cracking down on democracy, poland's communist leaders today were accepting a form of democracy, the results of parliamentary elections and admitting that solidarity was a big winner. >> for supporters, the taste of victory is sweet. the numbers are overwhelming. in a dwraek announcement, the government conceded and promised reforms. >> stupendous first time it ever happened in eastern european communist history and this was contagious. >> one of our producers from primetime live went into east germany posing as a tourist.
our producer took a home video camera, went to leipzig and found an incredible scene there. >> in east germany, you see a series of demonstrations for change and the question becomes, are these demonstrations going to be repressed and wiped out? what is gorbachev going to do? >> this was the show of mikhail gorbachev's show and tell day. guests of erich honecker in a military parade through the heart of east berlin. he preached reform and offered a gorbachev proverb. those being late, he said, will be punished by life itself. >> gorbachev felt he could put a happy face on socialism, that he could modify it. but the freedom genie got out of the bottle and he couldn't it
back in. >> overseas, time has finally run out for erich honecker, the 77-year-old leader of east germany. he resigned today. the official reason given was poor health but political change was inevitable. >> the people have their government on the run. today, in the bid to convince people that he's serious about reform, the east german leader, who has had the job for less than a month, managed to convince all of the members of the government he inherited they should resign. the question is this, what next? >> the pressure on the east german government was getting enormous. and as part of the kind of package to present themselves as human, there had been a resolution passed which is going to introduce new rules about immigration. gunter went to this press conference. he hadn't been at the meeting so he didn't know what was in it. he said, here's something i can tell you. it was the biggest administrative error in history. >> [ speaking foreign language ]
>> when the east german government opened the window a little bit and said, well, if you want to move from east germany into west germany, you may, that's all people needed to hear. >> history turns on these magnificent little pivots. there are border guards who could have fired at these first people, but they didn't. instead of firing on those who were coming close to the wall, instead of firing on them, they just let them do it.
[ cheers and applause ] >> it is the sort of news that defies the possibility of a headline. what we know is that we are standing in attendance at a moment in history, as you look now at the berlin wall. >> we didn't really anticipate that the wall would come down like that, but there was so much pent up emotion and so much of a desire for freedom that it just overwhelmed them but it wasn't anticipated. it was a surprise. >> our joy was just watching germans roll through that wall and knock it down and start making souvenir slices and it was a truly exciting night
because we had wanted this for 40 years and now it's happening. >> the long-time communist party leader of bulgaria, todor zhivkov, suddenly and surprisingly today announced his resignation. >> it turns out that these regimes are more brittle than gorbachev understood and it also turned out that these regimes couldn't find many gorbachevs. he tried to encourage people like him to rise to the fore in these countries. they weren't successful. >> had gorbachev decided to use force, this whole scenario would have been totally different and, furthermore, the cold war might have ended in a far different way. it might have ended with a bang and not with a whimper. >> and finally this evening, how can one sum up the dramatic human events we have lived through this last months? perhaps a concert. perhaps in music. at a concert tonight, the conductor was leonard bernstein and they climaxed to
"the ode de joy" except one word was changed. tonight it became "ode to freedom." ♪ >> the playwright activist is the first noncommunist president in 41 years. >> the new leaders of romania tonight said that former dictator, nicolae ceausescu, and his wife were executed after a military court found them guilty of genocide, stealing state funds and trying to escape process cushion. >> from our point of view, there was no argument about the most remarkable story of the decade. freedom. in some cases, freedom which had been unthinkable as the decade began.
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