Secretary of State George Shultz on the Evil Empire Speech:

At one time President Reagan called the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire.” And there was a big hue and cry particularly among the Democrats…A wonderful man who was working with me, named Paul Nitze, he’d been around a long time. He was a terrific person – served in Democratic and Republican administrations. And he was testifying, and the Senators were after him about the evil empire remark. And at the end one of the senators said to him, “Paul, how can you serve in an administration where the president would call the Soviet Union an evil empire?” And Paul said, “Senator, have you considered the possibility that the statement might be accurate?” That ended the hearing.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Video

Secretary of State James Baker on the Evil Empire Speech:

Many Americans felt like the Soviet Union was an evil empire, but President Reagan had the guts if you will to go out and say that – publicly.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Video

President Reagan on President Reagan and his Evil Empire Speech:

[The] “evil empire” speech…was so often quoted as defining my attitude toward the Soviets. At the time it was portrayed as some kind of know-nothing, archconservative statement that could only drive the Soviets to further heights of paranoia and insecurity.

For too long our leaders were unable to describe the Soviet Union as it actually was. The keepers of our foreign-policy knowledge – in other words, most liberal foreign-affairs scholars, the State Department, and various columnists – found it illiberal and provocative to be so honest. I’ve always believed, however, that it’s important to define differences, because there are choices and decisions to be made in life and history.

The Soviet system over the years has purposely starved, murdered, and brutalized its own people. Millions were killed; it’s all right there in the history books. It put other citizens it disagreed with into psychiatric hospitals, sometimes drugging them into oblivion. Is the system that allowed this not evil? Then why shouldn’t we say so? Even the Soviets themselves are now admitting to annihilating their own people during Stalin’s era.

I could not in good conscience today call the Soviet Union an evil empire. As I write this, the Soviets have just conducted the most democratic elections since their revolution. Remarkable things are happening under Mikhail Gorbachev. In addition to taking a hard line on the morality of the Soviet Union, this speech also outlines my opinions on a number of other moral issues.

Reagan, President Ronald, “Introduction to Remarks at the Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals,” Speaking My Mind, Simon & Schuster, (1989), at 168.

Thatcher on the Evil Empire Speech:

[Reagan’s] policies had a freshness and optimism that won converts from every class and every nation, and ultimately, from the very heart of the “evil empire.”

Yet his ideas, so clear, were never simplistic. He saw the many sides of truth. Yes, he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion, but he also sensed that it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform. Yes, he did not shrink from denouncing Moscow’s evil empire, but he realized that a man of good will might nonetheless emerge from within its dark corridors.

Margret Thatcher, “Eulogy for President Reagan” 2004 Jun 11 [link]

Natan Sharansky

The great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union as an Evil Empire before the entire world…It was the brightest, most glorious day…the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution.”

Natan Sharansky, “Reagan’s Revolution”

How You Can Help

Please consider donating to this cause. An appropriate and necessary memorial to Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech stands at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Yet to date, no acknowledgment exists to pay tribute to President Ronald Reagan’s Evil Empire Speech – the most important Cold War address he delivered on U.S. soil. It is time to mark the historical significance of President Reagan’s speech so future generations can understand the need to face down tyranny with liberty and to face down moral relativism with moral clarity.

To build this memorial, the Foundation needs to raise the necessary funds. The Foundation was structured to keep all internal expenses low as possible. The Foundation has no employees – only volunteers who recognize the importance of this mission. The Evil Empire Speech Memorial Foundation is a private foundation recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization under the tax code. All contributions to the Foundation are deductible to the donor.