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Actor, California Governor, 40th President of the United States
This Is The Army was a 1943 American wartime musical film designed to boost morale in the U.S. during World War II. It featured a large ensemble cast, including Lt. Ronald Reagan, who would later boost the morale of his country once again, as 40th President of the United States.
Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004) was born in Illinois. After graduating from Eureka in 1932, he began broadcasting the University of Iowa home football games for the Hawkeyes. He later became the announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. While traveling with the Cubs in California, Reagan took a screen test in 1937 that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios. His first role was in the 1937 movie Love Is on the Air, and by the end of 1939 Reagan had appeared in 19 films. He played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne, All American, and this acquired the lifelong nickname "the Gipper." Reagan spent the majority of his Hollywood career in the "B film" division.
Reagan's military career was long and illustrious. He enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve on April 29, 1937, as a private assigned to Troop B, 322nd Cavalry at Des Moines, Iowa. He was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry on May 25, 1937, and on June 18 was assigned to the 323rd Cavalry. Reagan was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942. His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office. He applied for a transfer from the Cavalry to the AAF on May 15, 1942, and was assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California. On January 14, 1943 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of This Is The Army at Burbank, California. He returned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit after completing this duty and was promoted to Captain on July 22, 1943. In January 1944, Captain Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the sixth War Loan Drive. He was re-assigned to the 18th AAF Base Unit on November 14, 1944, where he remained until the end of World War II. He was separated from active duty on December 9, 1945. By the end of the war, his units had produced some 400 training films for the AAF.
Ronald Reagan was an actor, president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and a spokesman for General Electric (GE). His start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962, at the age of 51.
Reagan's political career was officially launched with his famous 1964 speech on behalf of conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater, which became known as Reagan's "Time for Choosing" speech.
California Republicans nominated Reagan as Governor of California in 1966. He was elected, and went on to win again two years later and again in 1970.
Reagan began testing the presidential waters in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, hoping to be a compromise candidate. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but Regan went on to win the nomination in 1980.
The 1980 presidential campaign was between Reagan and incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Reagan selected one of his primary opponents, George H.W. Bush, to be his running mate. Reagan won the 1980 Presidential election with strong support, carrying 44 states with 489 electoral votes. Republicans also captured the Senate for the first time since 1952, and gained 34 House seats. In his inaugural address on January 20, 1981, which Reagan himself wrote, he boldly told the country, "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."
Reagan was reelected in a landslide in 1984, winning 49 of 50 states. and a record 525 electoral votes, the most of any candidate in United States history, while also gaining 58.8% of the popular vote.
During his years as President, Reagan implemented bold political and economic initiatives including his supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics." In his first term, Reagan survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against organized labor, and ordered military actions in Grenada. His second term was about foreign affairs: ending of the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. Reagan publicly described the USSR as an "evil empire" and supported anti-Communist movements worldwide. He negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, resulting in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries' nuclear arsenals.
Reagan left office in 1989; he died fifteen years later at the age of ninety-three. Reagan's legacy is mixed. Supporters credit him for a more efficient and prosperous economy and a peaceful end to the Cold War; critics note that Regan's economic policies caused huge budget deficits and quadrupled the United States national debt, while he negatively impacted America's credibility with the Iran-Contra affair. As time passed, history has viewed Reagan in a more positive light, and he ranks highly among US presidents in many public opinion polls.