Geneva has repeatedly been the host city for high-level meetings between the United States and Russia. In November 1985, former US President Ronald Reagan met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
This content was published on May 27, 2021 - 09:00
Thomas Kern was born in Switzerland in 1965. Trained as a photographer in Zürich, he started working as a photojournalist in 1989. He was a founder of the Swiss photographers agency Lookat Photos in 1990. Thomas Kern has won twice a World Press Award and has been awarded several Swiss national scholarships. His work has been widely exhibited and it is represented in various collections.
The meeting was an important step in the rapprochement of the two countries and is considered a turning point in the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US.
Just one day after taking office, Gorbachev resumed the arms control talks that had been interrupted at the end of 1983. The US had started its "Strategic Defense Initiative" (SDI), a missile defense system in space. Therefore, it came as a surprise when the American president and the Soviet head of state agreed to a summit meeting in Geneva on November 19, 1985.
At the so-called Geneva Summit Conference, talks included the reduction of nuclear weapons. The outcome of the exchange, which took place in private, included assurances for the first time by the US and USSR not to seek military domination.
In a joint declaration they said "that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought".
Reagan added to this: "Genuine confidence must be based on deeds, not just words. That is the criterion for the future."