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Euromissiles Crisis

This is a collection of primary source documents dating from 1979 to 1983 – during a period of confrontation and building tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. The documents in the collection come from Dutch, German, and Italian archives. They include correspondence and negotiations between the leaders of NATO member countries. The majority of the documents are from 1979, an eventful year which included the conclusion of SALT II (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks), the Soviet Union's deployment of SS-20 nuclear missiles targeting Western Europe, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The rest of the documents dating from 1980 to 1983 deal with security policy and the increased hostility between the Soviet Union and the West. See also the related collections in the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. (Image: Mass peace demonstration in Bonn against the modernization of nuclear weapons in West, October 10, 1981.)

Popular Documents

March 11, 1980

Letter to the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Chairman of the Socialist International, Willy Brandt

A letter from Brezhnev to Willy Brandt before their meeting in Madrid. Discusses detente and the disarmament.

May 31, 1983

Meeting Minutes of the Politburo of the CC CPSU, Regarding Western Plans for Deployment of New Nuclear Weapons in Europe

Politburo discussion, presided over by Andropov, on how to respond to the Western decision to deploy new nuclear weapons in Europe.

August 7, 1980

Meeting between Comrades Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev and Todor Zhivkov

This memorandum provides an overview of the meeting between Bulgarian leader Todor Zhivkov and Leonid Brezhnev. The two discussed international affairs, specifically escalating tensions with the U.S. and NATO, and Soviet interest in maintaining and strengthening detente. In response, a new international summit of the communist parties is proposed.

January 29, 1986

Letter by the Chairman of the SPD, Brandt, to the General Secretary of the CC of the CPSU, Gorbachev

October 14, 1983

Telex from the East German Embassy in Romania to Bucharest, 14 October 1983

Summary of Romanian position on the Euromissiles Crisis presented at October 1983 summit and also shared with the United States via a letter from Nicolae Ceauşescu to President Ronald Reagan.The Ceauşescu – Reagan letter underscored that: (1) Romania did not approve of the Soviet missile deployments; (2) noted that Romania would only participate in defense operations, and specified that it would carefully consider the nature of the call for assistance by fellow alliance members before sending its troops outside of Romanian territory; (3) stressed that the Romanian Armed Forces were fully under national control, giving several specific details on how this was guaranteed; and (4) explicitly noted that Romania did not and would not ever host nuclear missiles on its territory, whether from the Soviet Union or the United States.