During Reagan's acting career, which included a stint as president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan began giving speeches in which he called communism a menace and a threat to worldwide stability. In 1975, he wrote that communism "is neither an economic nor a political system, but a form of insanity, an aberration . . . [and he wonders] how much more misery it will cause before it disappears. "
The pope and Reagan first met in 1982 in the Vatican. They agreed, according to Time magazine, "to undertake a clandestine campaign to hasten the dissolution of the communist empire. . . . The operation was focused on Poland. . . . Both the Pope and the President were convinced that Poland could be broken out of the Soviet orbit if the Vatican and the U.S. committed their resources to destabilizing the Polish government and keeping the outlawed Solidarity movement alive after the declaration of martial law in 1981."
How much, politically, did the pope and Reagan collaborate? Apparently, they left few smoking guns lying around. UPI, however, writes, "Thus began a series of unofficial, intermittent contacts that some writers and historians have elevated to the status of holy alliance, while others have denied almost their very existence."
Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, credited both the pope and Reagan with the fall of communism. Gorbachev said of the pope, "[Communism's collapse] would not have been possible without the presence of this Pope." Gorbachev called Reagan a "great president . . . instrumental in bringing about the end of the Cold War."
A perfect political storm.