New Movements and New Fronts

New Movements New Fronts QuoteDétente dissolved in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution and subsequent Iran Hostage Crisis as well as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  The abdication of the U.S. supported Shah of Iran, witnessed through the home movie lens of a Plano, TX family and included here in the exhibit, gave rise to an Islamic state under the Ayatollah Khomeini.  Afghanistan’s civil war echoed Iran’s anti-Western rhetoric and reignited old Cold War positions as American and Soviet resources were funneled into opposing sides of the conflict.  Once again, Texans played key roles as the war played out on the national and international stage.  East Texas Representative Charlie Wilson agitated tirelessly on Capitol Hill and around the world to raise awareness (and money) for the Afghan mujahideen fighting the communist invasion of their country.

Unlike his predecessor Jimmy Carter, President Ronald Reagan defied diplomatic cooperation with Soviet countries upon his election in 1980, and implemented new, aggressive armament plans with which to encourage the end of the USSR.  Combined with the actions of Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping, who created a market economy in China, refusing to believe that communism and free enterprise were mutually exclusive; Poland’s Lech Wałęsa, who began the first trade union in a communist country; and, later, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who knew the Soviet Union had to change course in order to survive, the stage was set for the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Empire.

Continue to The Fall of a Wall and an Empire