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11-08-1984

Ronald Reagan makes inappropriate joke about Russia on radio

Explosive HumourWe all like a joke right? It’s what makes the world go round. That and gravity (I assume. I didn’t do physics. I did home economics). But when the joke involves the mutually assured destruction of the entire planet made by the man whose finger was on the button, it’s safe to assume that not everyone was going to see the funny side. But that’s exactly what happened on this day in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan, during the soundcheck for his weekly radio address, said "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."His rather tasteless quip has entered the annals of broadcasting history, though, contrary to popular belief, it was never aired live but rather leaked at a later date. Despite this, it was reported that Russian troops were placed on high alert for a period of time and the Soviet news agency condemned the ‘joke’, stating "this kind of behaviour is incompatible with the great responsibility borne by heads of nuclear states…” Quite.