Nov. 4: Reagan defeats President Jimmy Carter, carrying 44 states.


Jan. 20: Reagan is sworn in as the 40th president of the United States; Iran releases the 52 remaining hostages who had been held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran for 444 days.

Nov. 12: Reagan sets a date for deployment of Pershing II missiles to West Germany, promising to cancel it if the Soviet Union dismantles all intermediate-range weapons targeted at Western Europe.


Military personnel get a 14.3 percent raise. Other federal workers get a 4.8 percent raise. (In 1984, 1985 and 1986, military personnel again receive bigger raises than their civilian counterparts.)

Jan. 6: Reagan sends his 1983 budget to Congress. At just under $200 billion, the Department of Defense is one of the few departments that does not take a budget cut.

Aug. 25: U.S. Marines arrive in Beirut, Lebanon, as a peacekeeping force between warring Christian and Muslim factions.


March 23: Reagan proposes the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) which uses space-based systems to protect the United States from a nuclear attack.

Oct. 23: A suicide truck bomber crashes into the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Marines.

Oct. 25: Reagan orders 5,000 troops to invade Grenada after the island nation undergoes a communist coup and growing unrest threatens U.S. medical students there.

Nov. 23: The first Pershing II missiles are deployed in West Germany.


June 10: First successful test of the Army’s Interceptor missile, centerpiece of Reagan’s space defense system.

Nov. 4: Reagan defeats Democrat Walter Mondale in a landslide.


Nov. 19: During the Geneva Summit, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and Reagan agree to seek a 50 percent reduction in nuclear arms.


April 14: U.S. Air Force and Navy bombers hit Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya, an attack Reagan authorizes in response to the bombing of a West Berlin nightclub in which a U.S. serviceman was killed.

Oct. 11: A summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, ends in failure after Reagan refuses Gorbachev’s proposal that the USSR will cut its nuclear weapons if the United States confines the SDI program to the laboratory.


May 17: A missile from an Iraqi warplane hits the USS Stark, a frigate participating in a naval task force sent to the Persian Gulf to keep the waterway open during the Iran-Iraq war. Thirty-seven sailors on board die.

June 12: In a speech at the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin, Reagan utters the soon-to-be-famous lines, "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Dec. 8: Reagan and Gorbachev sign the International Nuclear Forces treaty in Washington. Although the agreement eliminates just 4 percent of nuclear arsenals, it marks the first time Moscow and Washington have agreed to mutually destroy nuclear weapons.


Jan. 20: George H.W. Bush is inaugurated; Reagan leaves office.

April: Gorbachev announces that the Soviet Union will become a democracy; on Dec. 31, 1991, the USSR is formally dissolved.

November: The Berlin Wall, which surrounded West Berlin within East Germany, is torn down.

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