Today In History Spotlights Mar. 8, 1983, President Ronald Reagan Delivers his Evil Empire Speech

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Today’s History Spotlight

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President Ronald Reagan delivers his Evil Empire speech. This marked the first time that the phrase “Evil Empire” was used to describe the Soviet Union since its formation in 1922. During the speech, held at the 41st Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, Reagan remarked that the ideological conflict between the world’s two superpowers was a battle between good and evil.

Likewise, he commented that he had a strategy to end the Cold War. During his presidency, Reagan brought the USSR to its knees with a “peace through strength” initiative. Upon visiting Moscow in 1988, Reagan remarked that he no longer believed the Soviet Union to be an evil empire, as times were changing. The Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991, the day after Christmas.

What Happened On This Day – March 8

  • 1979 The compact disc is presented to the public. The CD was developed by Philips and Sony. The companies later collaborated to produce a standard format and CD players.
  • 1978 The first episode of the radio comedy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is broadcast. Douglas Adams’ radio play was a major success with BBC Radio 4 listeners. The book version consisting of five novels – A Trilogy in Five Parts – became a worldwide success.
  • 1971 In the Fight of the Century, Joe Frazier triumphs over Muhammad Ali. Ali had been stripped of his World Heavyweight Champion title in 1967 for refusing to serve in the armed forces. As he was still undefeated, Frazier had to beat him to be recognized as the world champion.
  • 1910 Raymonde de Laroche becomes the first woman with a pilot’s license. The French aviatrix was also the first woman to fly solo. She died at the age of 36 when her experimental plane crashed at Le Crotoy airfield in northern France.
  • 1817 The New York Stock Exchange is founded. The NYSE at 11 Wall Street in New York City is the world’s largest stock exchange.

Births On This Day – March 8

  • 1990 Petra Kvitová – Czech tennis player
  • 1952 George Allen – American politician, 67th Governor of Virginia
  • 1907 Konstantinos Karamanlis – Greek politician, 3rd President of Greece
  • 1879 Otto Hahn – German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1841 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. – American jurist

Deaths On This Day – March 8

  • 1999 Joe DiMaggio – American baseball player
  • 1942 José Raúl Capablanca – Cuban chess player
  • 1930 William Howard Taft – American politician, 27th President of the United States
  • 1917 Ferdinand von Zeppelin – German general, businessman
  • 1869 Hector Berlioz – French composer

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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