Cooling Off: Peaceful Coexistence to Detente

What efforts were made at cooling off the Cold War?

The tension of the Cold War had reached seriously dangerous
proportions by the late sixties and early seventies. Crisis had, on
several occasions, threatened to explode into full scale war. In
Korea and Vietnam US and Soviet forces hadn’t faced each other but
they came perilously close. Both nations were playing the dangerous
game of brinkmanship. The Cuban Missile Crisis made it clear just how
high the stakes of the game were… nuclear holocaust. The time had
come to seek another route. The traditional enemies would still be
enemies but there had to be a better way to communicate, to avoid the
conflict that might destroy the world.

I. A New Direction is Taken – A Cooling Off

A. How did Kruschev’s policies change as a result of
the Cuban Missile Crisis?

1. His embarrassing failure led him to adopt a new
policy known as “peaceful coexistence.”

2. Kruschev was deposed shortly thereafter.

B. How did Detente change the US – Soviet relationship?

1. Detente – cooling off. A decrease in tension in the
early to mid 70’s.

2. During this time the US and USSR signed:

  • SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. This limited nuclear
    testing and the numbers of missiles.

  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
  • Non Proliferation Treaty – Nuclear nations agreed to ban the
    sale of weapons grade plutonium and nuclear technology to non
    nuclear nations. The idea was to stop the spread of nuclear
    weapons capability.

3. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980 hurt detente. US under
Jimmy Carter boycotted the Olympics to be held in Moscow and then the
new President Ronald Reagan would escalate tension.

C. What were Reagan’s policies towards the Soviet Union?

1. He called the Soviet Union “The Evil Empire.”

2. Began a huge arms build up.

3. Began the Star Wars Defense Initiative (SDI)

D. How did Mikhail Gorbachev change the nature of the Cold War?

1. Introduced new reforms that brought the US and
Soviet Union closer together.

  • Glasnost – Openness
  • Perestroika – more freedoms

2. Began a series of summits to bring about peace with the US.