Why did Detente come to an end?


Why did Detente come to an end?


  • Soviet increasing influence of Communism to the Third World e.g. Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique.
  • Soviets violated human rights in Communist countries.
  • SALT II.
  • Soviets invaded Afghanistan.
  • Brezhnev was becoming very frail and old so it was hard to make negotiations.
  • November 1979: Islamic militants take over US Embassy in Teheran (Iran).


  • Neo- Conservatives saw this as Communism spreading; Carter increased arms supplies to anti-communist groups e.g. El Salvador to prevent spread of Communism.
  • USA were extremely against human rights abuse and Soviets went against what they agreed at the Helsinki Accords in 1975.
  • Massive opposition in the US Senate.
  • USA massively opposed to Communist expansion and felt Soviets were taking advantage of them.
  • USA easily adopted a hard-line approach on Soviets to take advantage and stop Communism from spreading anymore.
  • US hostages were taken and not released for 2 years: US influence was rapidly decreasing so they needed to be firmer against aggressors.

Overall summary

Overall, there were many causes of the end of Detente. The main reasons include the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan being the last straw for Carter, and the fact that the US influence was rapidly decreasing worldwide, shown by the incident in Teheran in Iran. Many earlier things such as SALT II not making any agreements and SALT I only having temporary agreements also led to the end of Detente.


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