Section One

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March 16, 1983: “Father of Nuclear Freeze”
Washington Post

Herblock’s cartoon turned around the meaning of “nuclear freeze”—which referred to a protest movement in Europe and America pressuring the U.S. and the Soviets to freeze development of nuclear weapons—and applied it to President Reagan’s rhetoric toward the Soviet Union. Democrats attacked the rhetoric, such as Reagan’s reference to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and his prediction that Communism would wind up on the “ash heap” of history. They also charged that Reagan’s rhetoric and his huge increases in the defense budget blocked negotiations with the Soviets on arms control.

Notwithstanding, Reagan did seek talks when, in his view, his buildup of U.S. arms allowed him to negotiate from a position of strength. After he privately sought talks with two Soviet premiers, both of whom died in rapid succession, Reagan quipped that he was not against negotiating with the Soviets, but they kept dying on him.