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This Happened—November 19: Reagan And Gorbachev On Neutral Territory

In order to begin to alleviate decades of tension between the U.S. and Soviet Union, Switzerland hosted the Geneva Summit of 1985 where American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev would begin to lead the world out of the Cold War

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Why did the Geneva Summit of 1985 occur?

In 1985, Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were still high, and the nuclear arms race still very much on. Despite tensions, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed that something must be done to reduce their number of nuclear weapons.

What happened during the Geneva Summit of 1985?

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met at a villa in Geneva Switzerland to make a first attempt at slowing the arms race and improving diplomatic relations. There, the two discussed their nuclear stockpiles and response capabilities, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as ideological differences on human rights and civil liberties.

Reagan even reportedly asked the Soviet leader if he would help to defend Americans from an alien invasion, to which he responded with a firm “No doubt about it.”

Although the 1985 Geneva Summit yielded little immediate change, it paved the way for future discussions between the two leaders and played a notable role in mitigating the tensions of the Cold War. The two would go on to hold more meetings like this and, after Reagan left office, Gorbachev would continue to hold similar meetings with U.S. president George H.W. Bush when he took office, leading to the definitive end of the Cold War.

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