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Encyclopedia > Evil Empire

The term evil empire was applied to the former Soviet Union (USSR) by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, American conservatives, and other Americans, particularly "hawks." The presidential seal was used by President Hayes in 1880 and last modified in 1959 by adding the 50th star for Hawaii. ... Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989), and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). ... American conservatism is a constellation of political ideologies within the United States under the blanket heading of conservative. ...

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Reagan's use of the phrase

The use of the phrase "evil empire" by Reagan and U.S. conservatives was intentionally designed to highlight the moral divide of the Cold War, depicting the Soviet Union and its allies as acting in ways that were evil and undermined conventional moral ethos. Some contend that the depiction of the Soviet Union, in the mid to late-1980s, as "evil" marked a turning point in the Cold War, affording the U.S. a moral highground that allowed it to take vastly more aggressive steps to deter and rollback the Soviet Union's significant engagement in global affairs. The term was said often to be inspired by the Galactic Empire in Star Wars which went under the criteria of an oppressive regime that had committed unethical actions. In religion and ethics, Evil refers to the bad aspects of the behaviour and reasoning of human beings —those which are deliberately void of conscience, and show a wanton desire for destruction. ... A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ... Ethos (ἦθος) is a Greek word originally meaning the place of living that can be translated into English in different ways. ... Galactic empires are a fairly common theme in science fiction. ... The cover of the 2004 DVD widescreen release of the revamped original Star Wars Trilogy. ...


British House of Commons

Anthony R. Dolan, Reagan's chief speechwriter at the time, apparently coined the phrase [1]. The exact date Reagan first used it is uncertain. The Modern History Sourcebook, published by Fordham University in New York City, places it on June 8 1982, in a speech to the British House of Commons in London [2]. Fordham University is a private, coeducational research university[2] located in and around New York City. ... Nickname: Big Apple Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area    - City 1,214. ... The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ... London (pronounced ) is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. ...


National Association of Evangelicals

Others have it on March 8, 1983 speech to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, when Reagan said: "[L]et us be aware that, while [the Soviet leaders] 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. March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is an agency dedicated to coordinating cooperative ministry for evangelical denominations of Christians in the United States. ... Nickname: The City Beautiful, O-Town Location in Orange County and the state of Florida. ... Good may mean: Look up good in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In religion and ethics, Evil refers to the bad aspects of the behaviour and reasoning of human beings —those which are deliberately void of conscience, and show a wanton desire for destruction. ...


Reagan described the Soviet Union as totalitarian and evil. While his characterization of the USSR was supported by conservatives and Cold War hawks, many others disagreed, and a global controversy grew around Reagan's use of the phrase. The concept of Totalitarianism is a typology or ideal-type used by some political scientists to encapsulate the characteristics of a number of twentieth century regimes that mobilized entire populations in support of the state or an ideology. ... In religion and ethics, Evil refers to the bad aspects of the behaviour and reasoning of human beings —those which are deliberately void of conscience, and show a wanton desire for destruction. ...


Global reaction

Reagan's critics, especially those who favored détente with the Soviets, felt that he was needlessly inflaming tensions between the two superpowers, increasing the risk of war. Some on the Left held that the United States was not in a position to make a moral claim against the Soviet Union, arguing that both superpowers had acted immorally throughout the world. Détente is a French term meaning relaxation, which has been used in international politics since the early 1970s. ... An American B-2 bomber in flight. ... The United States detonated an atomic bomb over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. ... The factual accuracy of this article is disputed. ... A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ...


Michael Johns, writing for the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review magazine, prominently defended Reagan's assertion. In "Seventy Years of Evil: Soviet Crimes from Lenin to Gorbachev", Johns cited 208 acts by the Soviet Union that, he argued, demonstrated the Soviet leadership's evil inclinations. Michael Johns (born September 8, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania) is an American health care executive, former federal government of the United States official and conservative policy analyst and writer. ... The Heritage Foundation, a think tank located in Washington, D.C., is an influential public policy research institute whose stated mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. ... Policy Review is one of Americas leading conservative journals. ...


The Soviet Union, for its part, maintained the same position it held for most of the Cold War: That the United States was an imperialist superpower seeking to dominate the entire world, and that the Soviet Union was fighting against it in the name of freedom. Imperialism is a policy of extending control or authority over foreign entities as a means of acquisition and/or maintenance of empires. ...


During his second term in office, almost three years after using the term "evil empire," Reagan visited the new reformist General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. When asked by a reporter whether he still thought the USSR was an "evil empire," Reagan responded that he no longer did, and that when he had employed the term it had been a 'different era'—referring to the period before Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost reforms. Still, Reagan remained a harsh critic of the Soviet regime. The General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (First Secretary in 1953-1966) was the title synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenins death in 1924. ...   (Russian: , Mihail Sergeevič Gorbačëv, IPA: , commonly anglicized as Mikhail Gorbachev; born March 2, 1931) was leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. ... Poster showing Mikhail Gorbachev Perestroika ( , Russian: ) is the Russian word (which passed into English) for the economic reforms introduced in June 1987 by the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Recent historians have grown more favourable towards the idea of the 'evil empire', particularly John Lewis Gaddis. In his book, The Cold War, he argues that Reagan was breaking with the detente tradition in using this phrase and thus laid the groundwork for the fall of the Soviet Empire. Many conservatives claim that this speech was instrumental in bringing about the collapse of the USSR. Non-conservatives say that crediting Reagan's speech for that is like crediting the cheerleading squad for winning the game. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush stand with 2005 National Humanities Medal recipient John Lewis Gaddis. ...


Later uses

Following Reagan's use of the phrase, it gained wide use in global culture and was used in these and other contexts:

  • The band Rage Against the Machine released a 1996 album titled Evil Empire, which featured songs generally critical of the United States government, including "People of the Sun" and "Bulls on Parade".
  • "Evil Empire" is the name of a Ska/Punk band.
  • "Evil Empire Comedy" is the name of a comedy company in the Bay Area. They perform improv and focus on pop satire sketch comedy. The logo of the group is a pig face with devil horns.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Evil empire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (887 words)
The term evil empire was applied to the former Soviet Union (USSR) by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, American conservatives, and Cold War hawks after Soviet fighters shot down Korean Air Flight 007 in 1983.
The use of the phrase "evil empire" by Reagan and U.S. conservatives was intentionally designed to introduce a moral divide to the Cold War, depicting the Soviet Union and its allies as acting in ways that were evil and undermined conventional moral ethos.
When asked by a reporter whether he still thought the USSR was an "evil empire," Reagan responded that he no longer did, and that when he had employed the term it had been a 'different era'—referring to the period before Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost reforms.
Evil empire (disambiguation) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (150 words)
Evil empire, a description given to the Soviet Union by Ronald Reagan
Evil Empire, a term for the New York Yankees baseball team popular with Boston Red Sox fans, coined by Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino in 2003
The Galactic Empire from Star Wars, which could be the origin of this term.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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