DBLOGGING FROM A TO Z

A 1970’s Time Capsule

NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY

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Détente

Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of the geo-political tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States which began in 1969, as a foreign policy of U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford called détente; a “thawing out” or “un-freezing” at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War.

By Knudsen, Robert L. - This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 194517. See Commons:Licensing for more information.

Leonid Brezhnev (left) and Richard Nixon (right) during Brezhnev’s June 1973 visit to Washington; this was a high-water mark in détente between the United States and the Soviet Union. By Knudsen, Robert L. – This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 194517. See Commons:Licensing for more information.

The period was characterized by the signing of treaties:

The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were two rounds of bilateral conferences and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of armament control. The two rounds of talks and agreements were SALT I and SALT II.

5Feb1917ComblesFranceWWI

Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev signing SALT II treaty, June 18, 1979, in Vienna. By Photo Credit: Bill Fitz-Patrick - Original Uploaded by Thames to EN, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev signing SALT II treaty, June 18, 1979, in Vienna.
By Photo Credit: Bill Fitz-Patrick – Original Uploaded by Thames to EN, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org

The Helsinki Accords, Helsinki Final Act, or Helsinki Declaration was the final act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe held in Finlandia Hall of Helsinki, Finland, during July and August 1, 1975. Thirty-five states, including the USA, Canada, and all European states except Albania, signed the declaration in an attempt to improve relations between the Communist bloc and the West. The Helsinki Accords, however, were not binding as they did not have treaty status.

Chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) Helmut Schmidt, Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) Erich Honecker, U.S. president Gerald Ford and Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P0801-026 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) Helmut Schmidt, Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) Erich Honecker, U.S. president Gerald Ford and Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky
By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P0801-026 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org

There is still ongoing debate amongst historians as to how successful the détente period was in achieving peace.

After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the two superpowers agreed to install a direct hotline between Washington D.C. and Moscow (the US/Soviet Hotline red telephone), enabling leaders of both countries to quickly interact with each other in a time of urgency, and reduce the chances that future crises could escalate into an all-out war. The U.S./U.S.S.R. détente was presented as an applied extension of that thinking. The SALT II pact of the late 1970s continued the work of the SALT I talks, ensuring further reduction in arms by the Soviets and by the US. The Helsinki Accords, in which the Soviets promised to grant free elections in Europe, has been called a major concession to ensure peace by the Soviets.

Détente ended after the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, which led to the United States boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Ronald Reagan’s election as president in 1980, based in large part on an anti-détente campaign, marked the close of détente and a return to Cold War tensions. In his first press conference, president Reagan said “Détente’s been a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its aims.”

All images in this article are in the public domain. For any YouTube clips embedded in my posts, I am not the uploader.
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8 responses

  1. I remember Detente from a kid. We followed it in school in our class Current Events.

    I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings.
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  2. I didn’t know most of this – I had heard of it vaguely, but the details are most interesting. Thank you.
    Tasha
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  3. rolandclarke says:

    Thanks for another informative post about an issue too easily forgotten. Sadly still needed.

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  4. Birgit says:

    I remember this as a kid and then a teen. I remember my parents saying that the States better keep a careful eye on Russia and to not trust them and, at that time, I do tend to agree considering g what happened.

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