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History 2301E Lecture Notes - Boris Yeltsin, Oliver North, Mikhail Gorbachev

Course Code
HIS 2301E
Aldona Sendzikas

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Lecture 47, Part 2 The 1980s
Iran-Contra Scandal cont.
o Administration tried to take the hit, but showed Reagan didn’t know
what was going on in his own administration
o Iran-Contra Hearings
Oliver North on trial, said he did everything in the name of
14 people charged, President Bush issued 6 pardons later
Reagan’s popularity suffered, but rebounded
Left with the highest approval rating since FDR
Mikhail Gorbachev
o Saw need for reform in the Soviet Union, started restructuring
Improving relationship with US and greater openness
Attended summit meeting with Reagan, Gorbachev wanted to
abolish all nuclear weapons, but Reagan refused
George H.W. Bush
o 1988: Reagan’s vice president George H.W. Bush won the election
Naval aviator, from Connecticut, later drawn into Texas for oil
o 1989: Berlin Wall torn down
o 1991: Baltic States declared independence
o Gorbachev resigned because there was no more Soviet Union
Boris Yeltsin the new leader; United States hesitant to
recognize them and the other Baltic states
Bush didn’t trust Yeltsin
Marks the end of the Cold War
o Bush focused on the Middle East
Iran and Iraq at war
o The Persian Gulf War, 1991
Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait
US allowed to use force if Hussein didn’t leave by January 15,
Operation Desert Storm
People were able to watch the war on the news
Kuwait liberated by the end of February, Bush decided to not
go any further
o Bush “kicked Vietnam syndrome once and for all”
Restored American power
o Increased Bush’s popularity
Administration said he didn’t need to focus on domestic policy;
ruined chance for reelection
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