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We begin bombing in five minutes
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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. 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.
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.
Many Americans and Soviets were scared about a nuclear attack until Reagan admitted it was a joke. 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.
- "Reagan Outlaws Russia". Time.com. http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1821563_1821568_1821569,00.html. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Radio Address to the Nation on Congressional Inaction on Proposed Legislation
- "Reagan Said to Joke Of Bombing Russia Before Radio Speech" (in en). The New York Times (Punch Sulzberger): A16. 1984-08-13. . . https://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/13/us/reagan-said-to-joke-of-bombing-russia-before-radio-speech.html. Retrieved 2020-07-04.