southbeach1500 saidThe fall of the Berlin wall was a direct result of the USA outspending the Soviet Union on military during the cold war.
And Ronald Reagan had something to do with it as well.
During my US Army Officer Advanced Course, Jan-Aug 1981, when Reagan was just beginning his first term, we had secret briefings that were predicting exactly what eventually happened: Soviet defense spending was consuming too much of its GDP to be indefinitely supportable, the military & civilian infrastructure was crumbling, and political & domestic instability within the Soviet alliance was growing.
Reagan did keep the pressure on, which was good. And he moved more forcefully than Carter had done to rebuild the "hollow military" that was the legacy of Vietnam. But the Soviet cracks were already there, and collapse inevitable.
At least it was a far cry from another secret briefing I attended in 1975 as an armored division officer, when Ford was President following Nixon. At that time Soviet tanks in Central Europe outnumbered ours 10 to 1, and theirs were superior in some ways.
We were basically told we would fight a defensive holding action, while the politicians decided whether or not to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield. Otherwise we didn't have a chance, we were either dead or prisoners, something I'd hear again when I lived in West Berlin for 2 years (more on that here later).
And one Captain in the audience stood up with a question for the Pentagon briefer, and asked, with the heaviest Southern accent you can imagine:
"Suh, are you tryin' ta tell us we're gonna LOSE???"
And the audience broke into laughter at his slowness to grasp the notion that this time the Americans weren't going to win (in spite of Vietnam, though I'm not sure if it had finally fallen yet), and despite this very clear briefing we were attending.
The US has had its ups & downs, with credit & blame for every administration. Which brings us to the Berlin Wall...