8 Handshakes That Changed History

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Ronald Reagan - Mikhail Gorbachev


November 19, 1985

This handshake, between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, signified the first meeting between US and USSR heads of state in six years. Scheduled to meet for 15 minutes at the Geneva Summit, Reagan and Gorbachev ended up speaking for substantially longer, and later braved the language barrier without translators in a truly private second conversation. Though the summit ended in the signing of an agreement stipulating that each side would reduce their nuclear arsenals by fifty percent, the two parties continued to disagree on the United States' Strategic Defense Initiative, "Star Wars."


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