Evil empire

From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Evil empire (disambiguation).

The term evil empire was applied to the former Soviet Union (USSR) by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, American conservatives, and Cold War hawks during the 1980s.

The use of the phrase "evil empire" by Reagan and U.S. conservatives was intentionally designed to introduce a moral divide to the Cold War, depicting the Soviet Union and its allies as acting in ways that were evil and undermined conventional moral ethos. Some contend that the depiction of the Soviet Union, in the mid to late-1980s, as "evil" marked a turning point in the Cold War, affording the U.S. a moral highground that allowed it to take vastly more aggressive steps to deter and rollback the Soviet Union's significant engagement in global affairs.

President Reagan first used the term in a speech to the United Kingdom House of Commons on June 8, 1982, and again in a 1983 speech in Orlando, Florida.

Reagan's description of the former Soviet Union was as totalitarian and evil. While his characterization of the USSR was supported by conservatives and Cold War hawks, a global controversy grew around Reagan's use of the phrase.


Reagan's critics, especially those who favored détente with the Soviets, felt that he was needlessly inflaming tensions between the two superpowers, increasing the risk of war. Some on the left held that the United States was not in a position to make a moral claim against the Soviet Union, arguing that both superpowers had acted immorally throughout the world.

Michael Johns, writing for the conservative Heritage Foundation's magazine, Policy Review, prominently defended Reagan's assertion. In "Seventy Years of Evil: Soviet Crimes from Lenin to Gorbachev", Johns cited 208 acts by the Soviet Union that he argued demonstrated the evil of the USSR.

Almost three years after using the term "evil empire," during his second term office, Reagan visited the new reformist General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. When asked by a reporter whether he still thought the USSR was an "evil empire," Reagan responded that he no longer did, and that when he had employed the term it had been a 'different era'—referring to the period before Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost reforms. Still, Reagan remained a harsh critic of the Soviet regime.

Later uses

Critics of United States foreign policy have turned this term against the United States. Drawing on the phrase, the rock group Rage Against the Machine, for instance, released a 1996 album titled Evil Empire, which featured songs generally critical of the United States government, including People of the Sun and Bulls on Parade.

The term itself may have originated as a subtle pop culture reference to the Star Wars series of movies, which pitted a Rebel Alliance against the Empire of the evil Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. President Reagan reportedly was a fan of the Star Wars movies.

In recent years, the American professional baseball team, the New York Yankees, have been nicknamed the "evil empire".

Within hacker culture, the term come to be used as a reference to the monopolistic software company Microsoft.

In 2002, U.S. president George W. Bush coined a similar term "axis of evil", referring to the regimes of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Bush was criticized for this much the same way Reagan was.

External links

sk:Ríša zla


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools