Reykjavík Turning Point In Cold War - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Reykjavík Turning Point In Cold War

Published June 17, 2014

Reagan and Gorbachev believed the summit in Reykjavík was a turning point in the Cold War says former ambassador

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Hvalreki

Reagan and Gorbachev believed the summit in Reykjavík was a turning point in the Cold War says former ambassador

The Reykjavík Summit in 1986 was a turning point in the Cold War, says former ambassador and diplomat Ken Adelman in his new book, ‘Reagan at Reykjavík’, in which he documents his own experience as a member of the US delegation to Iceland and the consequences of the meeting.

“The summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev on October 11 and 12, 1986 was like nothing before or after—with its cliffhanging plot, powerful personalities, and far-reaching consequences,” author Ken Adelman wrote in a column for FOX. “For those of us in the American delegation, Reykjavik was supposed to be an uneventful weekend, with the real action happening the following year at “the real summit” in Washington. Instead, in Iceland we rode an emotional roller coaster, full of twists and turns, ups and downs, all weekend long.”

The meeting was considered a failure, as both parties left Reykjavík without releasing a joint statement, but Adelman insists that more happened behind the scenes than people are aware of.

“Thanks to the now-declassified American and Soviet notes of their private discussions, we can peep through the keyhole of their small meeting room to see them, hear their back-and-forth reparte, and come to understand their core beliefs, patterns of thought, and fundamental characters in a way that history rarely offers,” Adelman said.

A movie about the summit, ‘Reykjavík’, is currently in development starring Michael Douglas as Reagan and Christoph Waltz as Gorbachev. Mike Newell was slated to direct the film but Variety reported last month that Baltasar Kormákur was in the running for the director’s chair. Ridley Scott will produce.


Show Me More!