President Reagan's Ambitious Star Wars Defense Plan

By Kellar Ellsworth
President Reagan declaring more a of hope than a reality. history

In 1983, President Reagan announced his Strategic Defense Initiative, which sounded like a bad Steven Segal movie crossed with “Back To The Future.” The highly implausible and even more costly program earned widespread criticism from government officials but general approval from Americans. Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy dubbed it “reckless 'Star Wars' schemes” and the name stuck.

At that time the Cold War’s threat of imminent nuclear annihilation hung over America like a guillotine. Despite the “Star Wars Defense” improbability and colossal cost, people, including the President, yearned for a solution to the threat of complete nuclear destruction however unlikely.