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PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, AMERICAN HISTORY ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 November 2019

Summary and Keywords

The Cold War may have ended on the evening of November 9, 1989, when East German border guards opened up checkpoints and allowed their fellow citizens to stream into West Berlin; it certainly was over by January 28, 1992, when U.S. president George H. W. Bush delivered his annual State of the Union Address one month after President Mikhail Gorbachev had announced his resignation and the end of the Soviet Union. After the Berlin Wall came down, Bush and Gorbachev spoke of the Cold War in the past tense in person and on the telephone. The reunification of Germany and U.S. military campaign in the Persian Gulf confirmed that reality. In January 1991, polls indicated that, for the first time, a majority of Americans believed that the Cold War was over. However, the poll results obscured the substantial foreign and domestic crises, challenges, and opportunities created by the end of the Cold War that occupied President Bush and his national-security team between November 1989 and Bush’s defeat in the 1992 presidential inauguration and the inauguration of William Jefferson Clinton as America’s first post–Cold War president in January 1993.

Keywords: Cold War, George H. W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin, Russia, new world order, Bill Clinton, 1992 election, end of history

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