May 13 1981 The Pope was shot four times as he blessed the crowds in St Peter's Square in Rome.
--constituted a broad anti-communist social movement ranging from people associated with the Catholic Church to members of the anti-communist Left . Solidarity advocated nonviolence in its members' activities. The survival of Solidarity was an unprecedented event not only in Poland, a satellite state of the USSR ruled (in practice) by a one-party Communist regime , but the whole of the Eastern bloc . It meant a break in the hard-line stance of the communist Polish United Workers' Party , which had bloodily ended a 1970 protest with machine gun fire (killing dozens and injuring over 1,000), and the broader Soviet communist regime in the Eastern Bloc, which had quelled both the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the 1968 Prague Spring with Soviet-led invasions. Solidarity's influence led to the intensification and spread of anti-communist ideals and movements throughout the countries of the Eastern Bloc, weakening their communist governments.
The invasion of Grenada in late 1983 can be seen as a small part of the rivalry between the U.S. and Cuba during the Reagan years. A bloody coup in Grenada, along with a perceived threat to American students on the island provided the U.S. with an excellent excuse to eliminate a Marxist regime allied to Fidel Castro's Cuba.
In the early morning of October 25, 1983, the United States invaded the island of Grenada. The initial assault consisted of some 1,200 troops, and they were met by stiff resistance from the Grenadian army and Cuban military units on the island. Heavy fighting continued for several days, but as the invasion force grew to more than 7,000, the defenders either surrendered or fled into the mountains. Scattered fighting continued as U.S. troops hunted down stragglers, but for the most part, the island quickly fell under American control. By mid-December, U.S. combat forces went home and a pro-American government took power.
The Iran-Contra Affair was a clandestine action not approved of by the United States Congress. It began in 1985, when President Ronald Reagan 's administration supplied weapons to Iran¹ — a sworn enemy — in hopes of securing the release of American hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah terrorists loyal to the Ayatollah Khomeini , Iran's leader. The U.S. took millions of dollars from the weapons sale and routed them and guns to the right-wing &quot;Contra&quot;² guerrillas in Nicaragua. The Contras were the armed opponents of Nicaragua's Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction, following the July 1979 overthrow of strongman Anastasio Somoza Debayle and the ending of the Somoza family's 43-year reign.
The transactions that took place in the Iran-Contra scandal were contrary to the legislation of the Democratic-dominated Congress and contrary to official Reagan administration policy. Major trials were held for former National Security Advisor Rear Admiral John M. Poindexter and National Security Counsel staff member Colonel Oliver L. North. It was finally found that National Security Advisor Poindexter had personally authorized the diversion of money to the Contra rebels; all the while withholding the information from President Reagan. The CIA's William J. Casey played a part in the conspiracy, but he died during the hearings. Both were convicted and their convictions reversed on appeal. Fourteen persons were charged with criminal violations in the affair.
Mikhail Gorbachev became the new leader of the Soviet Union in 1985 – He faced a major financial crisis – the USSR could no longer keep up the arms race with the United States. He must make cuts in the Soviet military – He had to stop financing Eastern European governments.
Soviet economic and social policy of the late 1980s. Perestroika [restructuring] was the term attached to the attempts (1985-91) by Mikhail Gorbachev to transform the stagnant, inefficient command economy of the Soviet Union into a decentralized market-oriented economy. He restructured the Soviet economy – to save money Gorbachev began to make cutbacks. He ended economic aid to Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe. He began to withdraw Soviet troops from Eastern Europe. He encouraged free speech in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Glasnost gave new freedoms to the people, such as a greater freedom of speech — a radical change, as control of speech and suppression of government criticism had previously been a central part of the Soviet system. There was also a greater degree of freedom within the media. In the late 1980's, the Soviet government came under increased criticism, as did Leninist ideology (which Gorbachev had attempted to preserve as the foundation for reform), and members of the Soviet population were more outspoken in their view that the Soviet government had become a failure. Glasnost did indeed provide freedom of expression, far beyond what Gorbachev had intended, and changed citizens' view towards the government, which finally led to the collapse of the Soviet Union
To save money, Gorbachev agrees to withdraw his nuclear missiles. Reagan and Gorbachev both removed nuclear missiles from Europe.
series of student-led demonstrations in the People's Republic of China which occurred between April 15 , 1989 and June 4 , 1989 , leaving 400 - 800 civilians dead and 7,000 - 10,000 injured. The massacre is named after the location of the forceful suppression of the movement in Tian'anmen Square , Beijing by the People's Liberation Army . The protestors came from disparate groups, ranging from intellectuals who believed the Communist Party -led government was too corrupt and repressive, to urban workers who believed Chinese economic reform had gone too far and that the resulting rampant inflation and widespread unemployment was threatening their livelihoods. After the protestors defied government calls to disperse, a split emerged within the Communist Party on how to respond to the protestors. Out of the party turmoil, a hardline faction emerged and the decision was made to massacre the protestors, rather than to heed their demands. On May 20 the government declared martial law and on the night of June 3 and the early morning of June 4 , army tanks and infantry were sent into Tian'anmen Square to crush the protest and kill the protestors. Estimates of civilian deaths vary: 400-800 ( Central Intelligence Agency ), 2600 ( Chinese Red Cross ). Injuries are generally held to have numbered from 7,000 to 10,000. Following the violence, the government conducted widespread arrests to suppress the remaining supporters of the movement, banned the foreign press and strictly controlled coverage of the events in the Chinese press. The violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protest caused widespread international condemnation of the PRC government. 
odNovember 9, 1989 On August 23 , 1989 , Hungary removed its border restrictions with Austria , and in September more than 13,000 East Germans escaped through Hungary. Mass demonstrations against the government in East Germany began in the autumn of 1989. Tens of thousands of East Berliners heard Schabowski's statement and flooded the checkpoints in the Wall demanding entry into West Berlin. The surprised and overwhelmed border guards made many hectic telephone calls with their superiors, but it became clear that there was no way to hold back the huge crowd of East German citizens short of dispatching the army with lethal force, as the vastly outnumbered border guards had only been equipped for regular duty. The guards and the East Berlin government were not willing to use lethal force, so in face of the escalating crowd safety issues the guards finally yielded, opening the checkpoints and allowing people through with little or no identity checks.