By 1962, the two global superpowers were on the brink of nuclear war. This was a result of the years of suspicion since WW2 but in particular these events – U2 incident (1960) – The Bay of Pigs Invasion (April 1961) – Berlin Wall (August 1961) – US missiles in Turkey (April 1962) – Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962)
DETENTE By the end of 1962 it was clear that the US and USSR needed to negotiate with each other to avoid the possibility of a nuclear Third World War. This led to the era of Détente, a French word that means a relaxing of tension.
MAD During the Détente years the superpowers moved from threatening each other with MASSIVE RETALIATION (using every weapon possible if attacked) to the realization that the use of nuclear weapons would be MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) and that a balance needed to be maintained.
# of Nuclear Weapons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_and_USSR_nuclear_stockpiles.svg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_and_USSR_nuclear_stockpiles.svg
Reasons for Detente Both superpowers had reasons to improve relations. US fighting in Vietnam - needed to slow Arms Race to reduce burden on economy. USSR concerned about the growth Communist China on its south eastern border. Both sides wanted to reduce economic spending.
From 1946 to 1974, the United States military costs were in excess of $1.3 trillion* on national security alone; this compared to $1.6 trillion spent by the federal government for all nonmilitary goods and services since 1789. *1 trillion= 1,000,000,000,000 http://www.cdi.org/issues/milspend.html
Détente Timeline 1963 Presidential Hotline between the leaders of the US and USSR was set up; 1963: Partial Test Ban Treaty signed by 108 nations banned nuclear tests above ground. This was due to the amount of radioactive fallout from atmospheric tests that was being found around the world. 1968: Non-proliferation Treaty which banned spread of nuclear weapons or technology was signed by 115 nations.
1969: Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) began - reducing mid-range nuclear weapons between the US and USSR. 1972: President Nixon visits Moscow and SALT* 1 treaty signed. 1973: Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev visits USA 1975: Space - US astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts docked together in space. *SALT ( Strategic Arms Limitation Talks)
Helsinki Agreement: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Human%20Rights%20Documents/Helsinki_Agreement.html http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Human%20Rights%20Documents/Helsinki_Agreement.html August 1975. – signed by 35 countries (including USSR,US, Canada and all of Europe except Albania and Andorra). – There was a Declaration of Human Rights and – The current borders of Europe were accepted and it was agreed that no one would try to change these by force. – This was a demonstration of commitment to improve relations.
1979: SALT 2 treaty proposed to cover long-range nuclear missiles was signed but.. Never ratified by US Congress due to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. USSR claimed they had been asked to 'restore order'. US saw it as an invasion and supported Afghan rebels. This was considered the end of Détente and a return to a more dangerous time.