Cold War Politics: Jesse Helms Recognized the Importance of President Reagan’s Policies


When Jesse Helms was elected to the United States Senate in 1972, fighting communism and promoting democracy were his top priorities. He reached out to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the famed Russian author and freedom fighter, in 1974 and strongly supported President Reagan when he referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” on March 8, 1983.

On June 12, 1987, during a historic speech at the Brandenburg gate near the Berlin Wall in West Germany, President Reagan challenged the Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” Of course, he was referring to the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Berlin. Not long afterwards, on November 9, 1989, destruction of the wall began and by October 1990 East and West Berlin reunited. Finally, in December 1991 the Soviet Union disintegrated and divided into fifteen different countries.

Taking a Stand

Senator Helms, a long-time supporter of President Reagan, recognized how important it was for Reagan to take such a strong stance against communism and the Soviet regime. In the video below, filmed at a “Helms for Senate” dinner on January 15, 1990, Senator Helms spoke about the upcoming fall of the Soviet Union and the impact Reagan’s policies had on its demise.