Ronald Reagan and Anti- Nuclear Movements in the United States and Western Europe, 1981-1987

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This work challenges the assertion that the nuclear freeze and Western European movements forced Ronald Reagan to embrace arms control and improve Soviet-American relations during his presidency. While these movements put tremendous pressure on Reagan, they never fundamentally altered his conception of how to reduce nuclear weapons significantly. Besides outlining Reagan’s complex interaction with these movements, this work will show that Reagan’s conduct and personal views played a crucial role in bringing about the Soviet-American Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987.


“This book offers a unique and compelling interpretation of President Reagan’s foreign policy toward U.S.-Soviet relations in general and their bilateral arms control negotiations in particular. It is a nicely argued and well-supported historical study that focuses specifically on Ronald Reagan’s own ideas and influence during this truly pivotal period. It is this focus that makes the study surprisingly fresh and insightful….As Peterson follows the evolution of Reagan’s foreign policy, he convincingly demonstrates that Reagan was more engaged than most accounts portray….Well written and convincingly presented, this book’s focus on Ronald Reagan as the instrumental figure in changing America’s approach to nuclear arms negotiations enhances our understanding of his leadership role and of his personal views in shaping U. S. foreign policy.” – Dr. Carolyn Rhodes, Utah State University

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Ronald Reagan: Was He a Visionary or a Demon?
3. From Bad to Worse: The Reagan Administrations’ Approach to Arms Control in 1982
4. The Nuclear Freeze Movement: The Reagan Administration’s Greatest Threat
5. Did Antinuclear Sentiment Change President Reagan’s Approach to Arms Control?
6. President Reagan: Lucky Peacemaker?
Bibliography; Index

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