In 1981, Reagan aided the Polish workers movement. "If Poland were freed, [he] felt all Eastern Europe would follow."
Narrator: In 1981, Reagan saw a chance to strike at the heart of the Soviet empire. The Polish workers movement, Solidarity, marched for democratic freedoms. When the government declared martial law, Reagan was determined to keep Solidarity alive.
He met Pope John Paul II a few months later in June 1982. Like Reagan, the Polish Pope had also survived an assassin's bullets in 1981. He too believed God had spared him for a special mission.
The Pope would turn the Catholic Church in Poland into an underground Solidarity network. Reagan imposed economic sanctions and committed the CIA to undermine the government and keep Solidarity alive. If Poland were freed, they felt all Eastern Europe would follow.
Other covert actions were less peaceful. In Afghanistan Reagan continued President Carter's policy of backing the factions fighting a Soviet invasion. In Central America, the CIA began to train forces to harass the Sandinistas, the Soviet backed government in Nicaragua. The "Contras" became one of Reagan's favorite causes.
Reagan (archival): They are the moral equal of our Founding Fathers and the brave men and women of the French resistance. We can not turn away from them. All they need is proof that we care as much about the fight for freedom 700 miles from our shores as the Soviets care about the fight against freedom 5,000 miles from theirs.
Narrator: Reagan spoke to the hopes of people the world over who feared communism. The "Great Communicator" had the actor's gift of connecting with his audience in a deeply personal way.
Eleanor Roosevelt supported the President's New Deal and advocated for civil rights, becoming one of the 20th century's most influential women.
The bizarre saga of the Symbionese Liberation Army and Patty Hearst's kidnapping and conversion to her captors' cause.
The Chiricahua Apache medicine man and warrior who refused to accept white man's 'civilization.' Part of The Wild West collection.
Silent film actress Mary Pickford played a pivotal role in bringing Hollywood into the center of the motion picture industry.
John Scopes' free speech trial pitted science against religion after the teacher presented Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in a Tennessee school.
Accounting for America's most famous inventor and his role in America's future.
The world famous escape artist could escape from everything - except his own mortality.
Martha Ballard was a midwife and mother in Maine following the American Revolution.