Best Video on Reagan’s Nuclear Policy

During Ronald Reagan’s time in office he was often referred to as “The Great Communicator”.  If given a choice between reading one of his speeches or watching him deliver it, take the time to watch the video.  His passion comes through in video more powerfully than when reading his speech transcripts.  The videos below are excerpts of speeches where he expressed his unique and revolutionary nuclear weapons policy – the necessity to both rid the world of nuclear weapons, while simultaneously creating a shared missile defense shield.


Candidate Reagan’s 1976 Concession Speech

Length 2:41
When Reagan took the podium at the 1976 Republican National Convention to give his concession speech after losing to President Gerald Ford, it has been said that the audience realized they had just nominated the wrong candidate. What most people forget is that the impromptu, unscripted speech he gave that night was about how important it was for us to find a way out of the threat of nuclear destruction.














President Reagan’s 1985 Second Inaugural Address

Length 3:32
In his 1985 second inaugural address, President Reagan announces his intention “to seek the total elimination one day, of nuclear weapons from the face of the earth.” He also challenged the previously accepted doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction, and outlined his creative alternative solution; negotiating a reduction in nuclear weapons in combination with an investment in a missile defense solution to provide a security shield that would render nuclear weapons obsolete.














President Reagan’s 1984 State of the Union Address

Length 2:21
In Reagan’s 1984 State of the Union Address, he devoted several paragraphs to the people of the Soviet Union where he famously said, “there is only one sane policy, for your country and mine, to preserve our civilization in this modern age: A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would it not be better to do away with them entirely?”














President Reagan’s 1988 Historic Address at the Moscow State University

Length 1:47
In response to a Russian university student question, President Reagan said, “my dream has always been that once we started down this road, we can look forward to a day … when there will be no more nuclear weapons in this world at all.”














PBS Reagan Series – The Strategic Defense Initiative

PBS Reagan Series - The Strategic Defense Initiative

Length 8:03
This chapter is from the PBS American Experience series on Ronald Reagan.  Former Reagan associates and biographers explain the centrality of a missile defense shield in his innovative nuclear weapons’ policy.  Reagan abhorred the previous, well-entrenched nuclear policy of Mutual Assured Destruction or MAD.  A missile defense shield was a required component of his alternative policy.













PBS Reagan Series – The Geneva Summit, 1985

PBS Reagan Series - The Geneva Summit, 1985

Length 10:55
At the Geneva, Switzerland in November 1985.  Reagan carefully choreographed a private one-on-one meeting with the new young Soviet Union General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev and the two leaders established a strong personal relationship.  Progress at Geneva created the foundation both for the Reykjavik Summit and future landmark arms agreements, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty(INF).  They left the summit with a joint communiqué stating that “A nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought.”













PBS Reagan Series – The Reykjavik Summit, 1986

PBS Reagan Series - The Reykjavik Summit, 1986

Length 10:44
In October 1986, Reagan and Gorbachev met again at the Hofdi House in Reykjavik, Iceland.  During this historic summit, Reagan and Gorbachev came within two words of agreeing to eliminate all nuclear weapons.  The continued testing and development of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was essential to Reagan’s vision of a nuclear weapons free world.  From Gorbachev’s point of view, SDI would create an inherent nuclear imbalance between the two nations.  Gorbachev did not believe Reagan’s assurances that he intended to share this technology with the Soviets.