30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

End of the Cold War, 1989-1991

Oct 9, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., October 9, 2009 - Twenty years ago today, crowds of East German demonstrators took to the streets in Leipzig starting their own October revolution that would bring down the Berlin Wall a month later. Ironically, these massive peaceful crowds of about 70,000 people gathered in the streets and squares of Leipzig just two days after the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic and the visit by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Berlin.

May 26, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 26, 2009 - Today the National Security Archive publishes its fourth installment of the diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, the man who was behind some of the most momentous transformations in Soviet foreign policy at the end of the 1980s in his role as Mikhail Gorbachev's main foreign policy aide. In addition to his contributions to perestroika and new thinking, Anatoly Sergeevich was and remains a paragon of openness and transparency, providing his diaries and notes to historians who are trying to understand the end of the Cold War.

Jan 26, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 26, 2009 - The brutal suppression by Czechoslovak Communist authorities of commemorative ceremonies for "Palach Week" 20 years ago this month marked the beginning of the end of the regime in the annus mirabilis 1989, according to secret police, Communist Party, and dissident documents posted today on the Web by the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre (Prague) and the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) at George Washington University (Washington, D.C.).

Dec 8, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington DC, December 8, 2008 - Previously secret Soviet documentation shows that Mikhail Gorbachev was prepared for rapid arms control progress leading towards nuclear abolition at the time of his last official meeting with President Reagan, at Governor's Island, New York in December 1988; but President-elect George H. W. Bush, who also attended the meeting, said "he would need a little time to review the issues" and lost at least a year of dramatic arms reductions that were possible had there been a more forthcoming U.S. position.

May 31, 2008 | Briefing Book
Left: President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev on Red Square in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral, May 31, 1988, with interpreter Pavel Palazhchenko to the right.  Just out of the picture is U.S. Navy lieutenant commander Woody Lee, carrying the “football” briefcase with U.S. nuclear war plan options and launch codes for missiles targeting Red Square.  [Photo courtesy of Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California]

May 23, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., May 23, 2008 - Today, the National Security Archive publishes its third installment of the diary of one of the main supporters of Mikhail Gorbachev and strongest proponents of glasnost during the perestroika period in the Soviet Union — Anatoly Sergeevich Chernyaev. This section of the diary, covering two key years of history, is being published in English here for the first time.

Dec 10, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 10, 2007 - Previously secret Soviet Politburo records and declassified American transcripts of the Washington summit 20 years ago between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev show that Gorbachev was willing to go much further than the Americans expected or were able to reciprocate on arms cuts and resolving regional conflicts, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

May 25, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 25, 2007 - Today the National Security Archive publishes the second installment of the diary of one of the key behind-the-scenes figures of the Gorbachev era--Anatoly Sergeevich Chernyaev. This document is being published in English here for the first time. It is hard to overestimate the uniqueness and importance of this diary for our understanding of the end of the Cold War--and specifically for the peaceful withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Oct 13, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. and Reykjavik, Iceland - President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev almost achieved a deal 20 years ago at the 1986 Reykjavik summit to abolish nuclear weapons, but the agreement would have required "an exceptional level of trust" that neither side had yet developed, according to previously secret U.S. and Soviet documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive of George Washington University and presented on October 12 in Reykjavik directly to Gorbachev and the president of Iceland.

May 25, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 25, 2006 - Today the National Security Archive is publishing the first installment of the diary of one of the key behind-the-scenes figures of the Gorbachev era - Anatoly Sergeevich Chernyaev. This document is being published in English here for the first time. It is hard to overestimate the uniqueness and importance of this diary for our understanding of the end of the Cold War - and specifically for the peaceful withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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