Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were dead-locked during the 1980s as a result of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the repression of the labour union Solidarity in Poland. More and more nuclear rockets were placed in Europe and diplomatic talks were suspended. In 1982 secretary-general Brezhnev died, soon followed by his successors Andropov (1983) and Chernenko (1985). The US saw an opening for talks when a Soviet leader died, and funerals were used as an opportunity to begin dialogue. At the funeral of Chernenko it became clear that the young secretary-general Gorbachev was a man who was willing to talk. During the condolences after the funeral, the American delegation offered a meeting between the US president and Gorbachev. A series of meetings further led to a reduction of the number of nuclear missiles in Europe in 1988.
|Translated title of the contribution||There is time for condolences after the ceremony. Exploratory bilateral talks between the United States and the New Soviet leaders, 1982-1985|
|Journal||Tijdschrift Voor Geschiedenis|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|