Why Did Détente Develop Between 1969 and 1979

Topics: Cold War, United States, Richard Nixon Pages: 3 (856 words) Published: August 21, 2013
“Why did détente develop between 1969 and 1979?”

Détente developed between 1969 and 1979 due to improved relations between the USA and the USSR. The end of the Vietnam War improved relations between the USA, USSR and China. Leaders were in contact and numerous summits such as SALT 1 and the Helsinki Accords were held between leaders bringing reform across Europe. The arms race had slowed up as no country had progressed any further from the reality of Mutually Assured Destruction. On top of this there were anti-war and anti-nuclear campaigns throughout The West due to economic, environmental and social reasons. All of these were specific factors contributing to the development of détente between 1969 and 1979.

When the USA’s withdrawal from Vietnam was complete it was clear that the Vietnam War was a defeat for the American policy of containment. It showed that a hard-line approach to communism would not stop a determined revolution, but on the contrary be used as a reason to fuel it. It also became apparent that the domino theory had been proven wrong in this scenario, and that communism in Indochina was an isolated case, having little or no impact on neighbouring and international countries. This contributed to the development of détente as the USA eased their fanatical approach to communism.

The end of the Vietnam War also improved relations between the USA, USSR and China. USA’s President Nixon’s 1972 visit to Chairman Mao in China was an important step in normalising relations between them. The USA also allowed China to become a member of the UN. After the Vietnam War the USA entered a period of greater understanding with the USSR, for the USA became reluctant about involving troops into any conflict they could not easily win. In fact, during détente the USA had better relations with China and the USSR than China and the USSR had with each other.

Opposing leaders actively engaging in negotiations for the first time in the Cold War were crucial in...
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