The 1980s saw the greatest changes to world politics since the 1940s, with the end of the Cold War. ‘The final phase, 1980–90’ covers the last years of the Cold War, assessing the impact of President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev. The first half of the decade saw increased American belligerence abroad, while the USSR struggled with economic problems, war in Afghanistan, and a series of leadership changes. Gorbachev's leadership, from 1985, saw sweeping changes to Soviet policy, ending the arms race, relaxing state control at home, and relinquishing control of Eastern Europe. These policies brought about a rapid end to the Cold War, and the USSR itself.