We begin bombing in five minutes

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Reagan during his reelection tour, August 1984

On August 11, 1984, United States President Ronald Reagan was getting ready to make his weekly Saturday radio address on National Public Radio.[1] He was running for re-election at the time. He was testing the microphone before he started to talk, then Reagan made this joke to the radio workers:

My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.[1]

The joke was based on the start of that day's speech:

My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you that today I signed legislation that will allow student religious groups to begin enjoying a right they've too long been denied — the freedom to meet in public high schools during nonschool hours, just as other student groups are allowed to do.[2]

Many Americans and Soviets were scared about a nuclear attack. Reagan said it was a joke.[3] Though this was not the first time Reagan had joked before giving a speech or address, the Soviets were offended. They started making fun of Reagan.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Reagan Outlaws Russia". Time.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  2. "Radio Address to the Nation on Congressional Inaction on Proposed Legislation". Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  3. "Reagan Said to Joke Of Bombing Russia Before Radio Speech". The New York Times. Punch Sulzberger. 1984-08-13. p. A16. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Archived from the original on 2020-03-18. Retrieved 2020-07-04.