Richard Nixon and Detente

1065 WordsMay 11, 20115 Pages
Why did detente develop between 1969 and 1979? After the Second World War, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as superpowers and subsequently a period of tension and hostility arose, known as the Cold War. During this time, a new possibility of complete nuclear destruction that would claim the lives of many emerged, therefore “the easing or relaxing of tensions” on both sides was needed, this period would be known as detente. Both countries had been guaranteed mutually assured destruction as they had both managed to stay ahead in the development of nuclear arsenals. By the late 1960s the Soviets had surpassed the United States in intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) by 1,300 to 1,054. Although the U.S was still…show more content…
Brandt believed that the Hallstein Doctrine which stated that West Germany would not recognize any country that associated with East Germany subsequently isolated East Germany from the rest of the world. The signing of the Moscow Treaty in 1945 which confirmed the division between the two nations was the catalyst that opened an era of detente in Europe. Pressure for detente did not derive solely from the superpowers but also from Ostpolitik which had encouraged links across the iron curtain. In conclusion, President Nixon and Soviet leader Brezhnev developed detente from 1969 to 1979 because of the overwhelming fear of a possibility of a nuclear war. The cost of the arms race had taken an immense toll on the economic stability of both the United States and the Soviet Union, causes both leaders to adopt a more pragmatic view of the Cold War. The European countries involved in the Cold War were also taking steps to relax tensions between the countries divided by the iron curtain. This caused both nations to develop this period of detente and establish treaties through the Arms Limitations
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