Essay on How successful was the Détente Period

Essay on How successful was the Détente Period

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The détente was a period in which the two superpowers, the USSR and the USA had a brief moment in which they could finally freely breathe. Although, this moment was wanted by both sides, it was not meant to last long, since neither side would stop being suspicions about each other or trying to undermine the other part. As Bradley Lightbody suggests; after the resignation of President Nixon in August 1974, as a result of the Watergate scandal, the Cold war started to flourish again. Furthermore, both President Ford and President Carter found it difficult to maintain détente against criticism of the Soviet Union’s continued interventions in the Third World.1

We could say that this brief and partially successful coexistence started with the Cuban missile crisis. Both superpowers had reasons for seek relaxation.
On the USSR’s side, Leonid Brezhnev felt that the nuclear arms race was economically unsustainable, since around a 20% of the USSR’s budget was going on defense. Moreover, the soviets hoped to get a financial advantage of the détente, hoping that it would increase the trade with Western Europe as well as getting more access to western technology. Additionally, the soviets believed that a less aggressive policy could gradually separate the Western Europeans from the USA.
The USA economy was also not at its best since the Vietnam War supposed a huge investment.

Nevertheless, the first steps were taken by John F. Kennedy and Krushchev after the Cuban missile crisis, firstly by installing a Hotline between the two countries in order to encourage a more fluid communication between the Soviets and the Americans. After the tensions, both sides realized how primitive their direct communication methods had been. For inst...

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...Détente (worksheet)
How was detente weakened in the 1970s? (Worksheet)
The Cold War, by S.R Gibbons, 1993
The Cold War, by E.G. Rayner, 1992
The Cold War, by Bradley Lightbody, 1999

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