BLOGGING FROM A TO Z
A 1970’s Time Capsule
NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY
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The A to Z Challenge has dueling decades going on. Check out the 1980s theme from a fellow blogger HERE
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.
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.
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.
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.”