President Reagan Proposes Strategic Defense Initiative

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In the 1980’s the US military leaders were starting to get concerned on whether they would be safe from any future attacks which can leave them crippled, since Congress shut down the US missile base in 1976. They began researching in private and did not let anyone know at the time. The Joint Chiefs of Staff approached President Reagan, to renew a national program for missile defense. With what was presented to Reagan,  it helped convinced him that it would be appealing on both moral and domestic political ground. He personally addressed this on national television on March 23, 1983 with a speech that emphasized the new Strategic Defense Initiative. In this speech, he stated that it would be better to save lives than to avenge them. He also stated that he wanted an infallible space shield that could hold itself up even in a massive nuclear attack. This SDI has become the subject of some intense political controversy and caused people to believe that the arms race would extend into space. A lot of critics were not too happy with this and argued that the Soviet Union might want to expand their own nuclear forces.  The defenders of the SDI had stated that the Soviet Union was already working on increasing their strategic forces at very fast pace and were also researching missile defense. Due to Reagan’s popularity, he was able to convince Congress on approving the spending for this program. The Soviets were not too happy that a new and expensive arms race could prevent them from winning a war against us.

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SDI – Space Is My Limit

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President Reagan speaking on the Strategic Defense Initiative at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. 3/14/88.

 

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