Why Detente?

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  • Created by: Isabella
  • Created on: 09-05-14 11:08
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Why did the two superpowers pursue détente?
USSR achieving parity in the nuclear arms race
By 1969, the USSR had matched the capability of the USSR for MAD
(Mutually Assured Destruction- ie both could destroy each other easily)
Both now had enough to strike each other back
Gave a balance of deterrent for deterrence
Threat of nuclear weapons lead them towards détente
Achieved parity- now needed to limit them
New Soviet leadership
Lenoid Brezhnev
Wanted to continue peaceful coexistence
Now cared more about national interests (such as dealing with domestic
issues) then ideology when faced with decisions
Strengthen control of Eastern Europe
Wanted to gain recognition of the Soviet sphere of influence
Romania's independent foreign policy, the Prague Spring and Polish
1970 protests= all signs that control needed to be strengthened
Accommodation would stabilise Soviet control- would allow Soviets not
to worry about Western threat in Europe
Sino Soviet Split
USSR and China= broken allies
US and China on better terms- rapprochement- threatened USSR
If conflict broke out with China, risk of US intervening and turning to full
on war
Détente- ease tensions and decrease risk of intervention
Soviet economic problems
Needed to divert money from military to deal with mounting economic
problems
Living standards still needed to be improved- dire
Arms Race was still continuing, and was difficult to lift emphasis. Could
do this if arms limitations happened

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Détente provides background necessary to achieve this switch in
emphasis
Soviet desire for technology
Soviet production falling behind the times
Exceeded US production in steel, cement, oil and pig iron
But the world had moved away from industry- moved onto computer
technology
USSR needed this to move forward
8th Five Year Plan- dealt with this within car production, deals with Fiat
and Renault
Bring technology to the USSR
If relations improved- more trade to the USSR of technology from the
US' superior computer technology
Grain…read more

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Rapprochement with China- weakened Soviet Union
Weakened attitudes allowed Nixon to pursue détente
US economic reasons
Allows the influence of the powerful military industrial complex to be
introduced
Kennedy and Johnson's social spending programmes sacrificed for
military spending. Social spending needs increasing, can only be achieved
by reduction of military.…read more

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