Nov. 19 – Reagan and Gorbachev Meet at Summit

Gay Lynn HillAmerican History(BR), Bell Ringers

Nov. 19, Reagan and Gorbachev Hold Their First Summit Meeting.

On this day in 1985, then U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in Geneva, Switzerland. It was the first summit meeting between leaders of the two powerful nations in approximately eight years.

The summit did not produce any ground-breaking agreements, but managed to help establish a much closer relationship between the two men. There would be two more summits between them in the following two years, which combined allowed for a number of concessions to be made by both sides with the goal of controlling the nuclear arms race.

The summit came as a surprise to many in the U.S., as President Reagan generally expressed strong criticism of the Soviets, often making pointed remarks about communism and the Soviet Union. He also occasionally tormented them with humor.

  1. Why do you think the meeting proved to be so amicable despite the strained relationship between the two nations?
  2. How do relations between the U.S. and our enemies today compare to relations during the Cold War? Can you think of any modern summits that might be similar to those between Reagan and Gorbachev?

Image Citation:

18 July, 2018, Reagan and Gorbachev. [Digital image]. Retrieved from <>.