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, while running for re-election, was preparing to make his weekly Saturday radio address on National Public Radio.[1] As a sound check prior to the address, Reagan made the following joke to the radio technicians:

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 a parody of the opening line 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 until Reagan admitted it was a joke.[3] Though this was not the first time Reagan had joked prior to giving a speech or address, the Soviets were offended and began mocking Reagan.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Reagan Outlaws Russia". Time.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. Radio Address to the Nation on Congressional Inaction on Proposed Legislation
  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.