COLD WAR part 2/4 (Detente)

Image Source: IMBd


As told in my previous blog, the world stood on the brink of world war III, during the Cuban  missile crisis of 1962. It was a very close call. One miscalculation could have resulted in a nuclear war. The ideological difference, arms race, proxy wars, suspicion, mistrust etc, became causes for the hike in tension. Both the superpowers and their blocks realised that its time to decrease tensions. Steps were taken by the superpowers and we saw significant decrease in tensions, roughly between 1963 and 1979. This period is called ‘Detente’. Emphasis in this period was laid on peaceful coexistence, diplomacy, social economic and cultural progress etc. However, this peaceful state in the world lasted till later 70s only and ended completely after the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR in 1979.

Meaning of Detente

*  ‘Detente’ is a French word which means relaxation or decrease in tensions. Nowadays, this word is mostly used for describing the  period during the Cold War in which tensions decreased between the two superpowers of the time i.e. America and Soviet Union. This change was brought bye treaties, negotiations, agreements, diplomacy etc.


* Though Detente had mostly political implications but still, it affected other sectors also. As a result, social, cultural and economic relations also improved between the nations.


* Detente doesn’t means that tensions finished completely between the superpowers. Tension was still there but its intensity decreased to a great extent.



Causes of Detente


* Arms race- The race, which began after the start of Cold War was at hike. Countries were spending a huge chunk of their budget, just for producing weapons. They realised that more and more weapons will be more and more dangerous for the world and also that huge amount of money wasted on weapons could be used for education, health etc.


* Nuclear arms race- Along with conventional weapons, the mass production and nuclear weapons by the USA and the USSR was imposing a great threat to the world. The USA and the USSR tested thermonuclear bomb or hydrogen bomb in 1952 and 1953, respectively. Later, other countries followed.. nuclear arsenal of the world increase uncontrollably and a need arrived for for check and balance.


* Fall in USSR-China relations- Both China and the USSR were Communist countries and both wanted to lead the Communist bloc but there can be only one king at a time, so differences between them arrived which became a cause of Detente, because the USSR thought that it should improve its relations with the USA now. Second thing was that the USSR was not giving nuclear technology to China, but China developed it by itself, later. Hence, the differences between the two biggest Communist powers weekend the Communist bloc and decrease tensions.


* Vietnam war- It started in 1965 and America got involved directly. soviet Union and China never sent any troops but played the game, from behind the curtain. This war became a fiasco for the US. Due to its lack of experience in jungle warfare and underestimating, the other side, US faced very heavy losses. American public was not happy with the loss of thousands of lives, it was estimated that approximately 60,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam war.. Consequently, the US Army had to pull off from the war and thus, tensions decreased.



Steps taken during Detente


* Hotline- The first thing which was done after Cuban Missile crisis was the establishment of a hotline between Moscow and Washington, DC. It was to provide a direct means of communication between the head of states of the USA and the USSR, in case of emergency. It finish the gap in communication between them and chances of misunderstandings decreased.


* PTBT and NPT-     Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), were signed in 1963 and 1968 respectively. The prior limited nuclear test to below ground only, to stop the environment from being polluted by nuclear radiation. and latter was for stopping the transfer of nuclear technology to other countries.


* Top level summits- When Richard Nixon became the President of America, he laid emphasis on negotiation and cooperation. He became the first U.S. president to visit the Soviet Union since 1945, Nixon and Brezhnev(leader of Soviet Union),, took part in three historic summits while both held office, first in Moscow summit of May 1972, followed by Brezhnev’s visit to Washington in June 1973 and a return trip to Moscow by Nixon in June/July 1974. These meetings played an important role in Detente and as a result, important agreements were reached.


* S.A.L.T.  – Both the USA and the USSR  had developed hundreds of Inter Ballistic Missiles along with nuclear war heads by then. This was a very dangerous combination for the national security of both the superpowers. It was a big cause of tensions between the two nations and so the historic Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty/Talk I, was signed   on May 26, 1972 in Moscow. . The agreement limited the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) on either side, in their arsenals and allowed each nation to build two missile defense sites. this was a great achievement for Nixon and has a big significance in Detente. S.A.L.T. II was also signed in 1979, but was never ratified by the US Parliament.


* Helsinki Accord- Cold War affected trade, culture, social issues etc, along with geopolitics. so this Accord was signed by 35 nation at the conference on security and cooperation in Europe. It laid emphasis on not only military issues and defining political borders, but also promoted  opportunities to increased trade and scientific cooperation between the nations. Along with this,   It  advocated the increase  of cultural exchanges, human rights and freedom of the press.



Impact of  Detente


* Detente reduce the tensions between the superpowers. The world got a slight relief from the constant fear of a nuclear war. It set an example, how countries could coexist peacefully, even with differences. Trade and other exchanges, also increased which benefited everyone


* The uncontrolled production of nuclear weapons finally got controlled, to some extent. The treaties signed between the superpowers increased trust between this was very important because mistrust and suspicion was one of the basic causes of the Cold War.


* The Iranian revolution also known as the Islamic revolution(1978-1979), became successful in Iran and pro-US government was removed from power. This was a very important development in the Middle East which had big implications in the years to come.





Detente was not completely successful but still it has great significance in history of the Cold War. It tells how countries can think and go beyond the never ending struggle for power. I believe this period is going to become very important in the days to come, as we are witnessing the start of another Cold War today.



Note from the author.

Sorry guys, it took some time for the second part, due to time issues. Hope you enjoyed it. All suggestions are welcome as always and I will try to bring the next part as soon as possible Inshallah

Previous articleLearned Helplessness of a Nation & Learned Optimism of a Leader
Saad Ahmad
Saad Ahmad Khan a.k.a. Poet Saad is from Lucknow (India) and is currently doing graduation from dr. Shakuntala Mishra National Rehabilitation University, Lucknow. Saad is suffering from vision impairment and kidney disease for a long time. However, even with all the issues, he maintains a positive attitude towards life. He loves to write a lot of things which include articles, poetry, essays, quotes and novel. Along with that he likes to sing, dance, play guitar, listen to audiobooks and he's always on the lookout for new opportunities. Saad has an Instagram page called - Poet Saad @the_words_of_fire, where he shares his thoughts.


  1. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  2. Amazing blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Thanks!

  3. Hey very cool web site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionallyKI am satisfied to find a lot of helpful info right here within the publish, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  4. A large percentage of of whatever you claim is astonishingly appropriate and that makes me ponder the reason why I had not looked at this with this light previously. Your article truly did switch the light on for me as far as this topic goes. However there is just one issue I am not too comfy with so whilst I attempt to reconcile that with the core idea of the position, permit me observe just what all the rest of your subscribers have to say.Very well done.

  5. I like this site very much, Its a rattling nice position to read and find information. “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.” by M. H. Alderson.

  6. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this excellent blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  7. Wow, amazing weblog format! How long have you
    ever been running a blog for? you made blogging look easy.
    The overall look of your site is fantastic, let alone the content
    material! You can see similar here e-commerce

  8. Good day very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally…I am happy to seek out numerous helpful information right here in the put up, we want develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  9. Somebody essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular publish incredible. Fantastic job!

  10. Hey very cool website!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds alsoKI’m satisfied to find a lot of useful information here within the submit, we want work out extra strategies on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  11. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch! “Feeling passionate about something is like getting a peak at your soul smiling back at you.” by Amanda Medinger.

  12. Hi there are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any html coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here