Evil Empire - First Recorded Use

First Recorded Use

Reagan's March 8, 1983, speech to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, is his first recorded use of the phrase "evil empire." Reagan said:

They preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth. They are the focus of evil in the modern world.... So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

In the "evil empire" speech, which also dealt with domestic issues, Reagan made the case for deploying NATO nuclear armed missiles in Western Europe as a response to the Soviets installing new nuclear armed missiles in Eastern Europe. Eventually, the NATO missiles were set up and used as bargaining chips in arms talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who took office in 1985. In 1987, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to go further than a nuclear freeze. In an atomic age first, they agreed to reduce nuclear arsenals. Intermediate- and shorter-range nuclear missiles were eliminated.

Read more about this topic:  Evil Empire

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