Detente: Nuclear Weapon and Cuban Missile Crisis

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Détente

Détente was a permanent relaxation in the international affairs during the Cold War. It was a term generally associated with the relations between USA, USSR and China. The détente was witnessed in the 1970s, mainly because there was a growing fear of a nuclear holocaust especially with the growth in those countries that had nuclear weapons, such as USA and USSR. The détente consisted of many events, right from the decisions made after the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the Helsinki agreement in 1975. In doing so, it seemed to ease tensions between the USA and USSR in the 1970s.

The United States had an atomic monopoly for only a very brief period; this ended in 1949 with the Soviet development of nuclear technology, followed by that of the UK, France and China in 1964. The proliferation of weapons was not simply the stockpiles of weapons but also the expansion of the number of countries that counted as nuclear powers. This proliferation led to necessary negotiations about the extent and limitations of these weapons. The USA and USSR found themselves on the same side in this particular endeavor: neither sought to increase the number of countries that had nuclear weapons. Even in the midst of conflicts in Vietnam, the Congo and Latin America the USA, the UK and the USSR brokered and signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in July 1968. This was an amendment to the 1963 Test Ban Treaty, in which the USA and the USSR agreed to cease underwater, space and atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

Although Brezhnev proved to be a hardliner, he was also a realist, and in 1967 accepted President Johnson’s invitation to begin bilateral talks regarding arms limitations. They were hindered somewhat by US domestic politics but eventually evolved into the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT). Formal negotiations took place, beginning in 1969 under President Nixon and Brezhnev. Salt 1, as it was later called, was implemented in 1972. According to the terms...
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