Even before his presidency, Ronald Reagan felt that the continuing policies of containment and detente were not doing enough to bring the cold war to a gratifying end. Once coming to power in 1981 Reagan made his hatred of détente (the aim to “thaw” the Cold War) immediately clear, believing that the Soviets saw this as a sign of American Weakness.
Instead of détente, the president sought peace through strength by building America’s economic and military power. Once this was achieved Reagan wanted not only to contain communism as his predecessors had wanted, but to also reverse and subdue it if possible.
Up until Reagan’s presidency, America had relied on their military superiority to essentially scare the Soviets into challenging them, but now the gap in military technology was narrowing. The USSR had achieved this by concentrating on collectivized agriculture and exporting oil cheaply, thanks to increased production in Saudi Arabia in 1985.
To counter these Soviet developments, President Reagan’s Cold War policies were designed to promote freedom and democracy around the world to block the spread of communism, leading to its failure throughout Eastern and Central Europe. Russia had lost control over these regions gradually throughout the 80’s, culminating in the Berlin Wall’s collapse.
Two years after President Reagan left office in 1991, the Cold War ended when the Soviet Union was dissolved. President Reagan’s desire to abolish Soviet communism was now realised, meaning America had been victorious in ending the Cold War. President Reagan’s policies of maintaining peace through strength and promoting the advancement of democracy around the world greatly aided to the Cold War’s end.