History Cold War Part 3

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T3 - Dentente

Detente was the relaxing of tensions between the superpowers.

Two examples that limited the possibility of further conflict were:

  • 1967 Outer Space Treaty - stopped the arms race continuing into space as it stated no nuclear weapons could be placed in space by either superpower
  • 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - Agreed neiter side would supply / help other states develop nuclear weapons

There were 3 main high points of Detente: SALT 1, the Apollo-Soyuz mission and the 1975 Helsinki agreements

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T3 - Detente - SALT 1 1972

The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty of 1972 imposed limits onthe nuclear capabilities of Russia and the USA. 

  • No further production of stategic ballistic missiles
  • Subs carrying nuclear weapons could only be introduced when intercontinenal ballistic missiles became obsolete

It was significant as it was the first treaty that sucessfully limited the amount of nuclear weapons each side held.

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T3 - Detente - Apollo Soyuz Mission 1975

Was a joint space mission where the American Apollo and Russian Soyuz docked in space.

It ended the space race of the 1960s and showed the supepoers working together.

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T3 - Detente - Helsinki 1975

The Helsinki Conference of 1975 had representatives of over 35  countries, including the USA and USSR. 

The agreement had 3 main things:

  • Security: All country boundaries were accecpted (so EG and WG accepted ach other's existance for the 1st time), disputes had to be settled peacefully, no country would interfere with the internal affairs of another country
  • Co-operation: Econmic co-operation through trade (USA buy oil from R, R buy wheat from USA), scientific cooperation by sharing reasearch and information
  • Human Rights: freedom of speech, movement, religion and information. Improve human rights throughout the world

Effects:The agreements stabalised the situation by agreeing greater co-operation. Both countries gt what they wanted but in reality not every country followed its promises

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T3 - SIOA Origins

There was a communist revolution in Afghanistan.

The new government was determined to 'build socialism in Afghanistan' and the new president, Taraki, became an ally of the USSR.

The new government was unstable and by the Spring of 1979 civil war broke out between the government and Islamic fighters. 

Taraki was forced to accept Amin, the head of the Army, as president.

In October 1979, Taraki was assasinated.

Brezhnev saw the communist revolution in Afghanistan as a chance to extend his power in the oil-rich middle east. 

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T3 - SIOA Why and Events

The invasion happened in December 1979:

Brezhnev invaded because:

  • Although Amin was a communist, the USSR didnt trust him, and he wasnt popular with a large number of Muslims. Brezhnev feared that Muslim groups were planing to take over the country
  • USSR was concerned if Afghanistan became an Islamic state then other Soviet Republics would do so too. Islamic states were not communsit so wouldnt have alliances with the USSR
  • Karmal argued that he had enough suport but needed military aid to take back the country
  • Believed America wou tolerate the invasion like they did Czechoslovakia
  • He saw the communist revolution as an opportunity to extend his power in the oil-rich middle east

Soviet Troops killed Amin and his supporters and declared Karmal President. 

The war lasted 10 years, killed 1.5 million people including 15,000 Russian soliders.

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T3 - SIOA Carter's Reaction

President Jimmy Carter was appaled at the Soviet Invasion and made a statement known as the Carter Doctrine - which stated the USA wouldnt allow the USSR to gain control in the oil-rich middle east.

Carter also took steps to remove Soviet Troops from Afghanistan:

1) Formed an alliance with China and Israel to support the Afghan rebels who opposed the invasion and communist government. The CIA provided guns and weapons to the Mujaideen - an islamic organisation fighting to free Afghanistan from Soviet Contro;

2) Stopped Trade with the Soviet Union

3) Ended Diplomatic Relations with the Soviet Union

This effectively ended Detente.

Carter also took two further steps to show Detente was over: SALT II and The Boycotts

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T3 - SIOA - Other Reactions

Other reactions of Carter to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan Include:

SALT II: Carter refused to ratify SALT 11 which would have reduced stockpiles of nuclear missiles to 2250 warheads for each power.

Olympic Boycotts of 1980 and 1984:

Cater led a Boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980, holding the Olympic Boycott Games in Philedelphea as an alternative. Around 60 Countries followed in protest.

In retaliation to this, the USSR and 14 communsit countries boycotted the 1984 LA Olympics, instead holding the Friendship Games as an alternative.

By 1980, Detente was dead and the relations were at the lowest point since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

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T3 - The Second Cold War - Reagan and his Evil Emp

The phrase 'second cold war' is used to describe a period between 1979-85 which marked a new low in the superpower relations. Reagan had no intention of putting Detente back together and wanted to with the cold war.

Many people thought Reagn was unsuitable for presidency; he was famous for starring in low-budget 1950's movies and French and British media were particularly worried about him when he said he could imagine 'a limited nuclear war in Europe'.

Reagan made his views on the Soviet Union clear when he made his Evil Empire speech in March 1983 at a meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals. He called the Soviet Union an Evil Empire and argued that the Cold War was a battle between Good and Evil.

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T3 - SDI

Reagan's plans for the Cold War included a 'Nuclear Unbrella' which would stop Soviet Missiles from reaching the USA.

He would launch satellites that would intercept soviet missiles and destroy them.

He believed that SDI would make the Soviet Missiles useless and therefore force the Soviet Union to disarm.

It broke the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

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T3 - SDI - Soviet Response

  • The Soviet Union knew they couldnt compete with Star Wars:
  • The Soviet economy was not producing enough weakth to fund consumer goods, conventional military spending an the development of new, space based weapons. 
  • The USSR was behind the US in terms of computer technology. In the 1908's the American computer market boomed, but the Soviet Union had been suspicious, concerned they might be used to undermine the power of the communist party.

Therefore the Soviet Union could no longer compete in the Arms Race.

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T3 - The End of the Cold War - Gorbachev

Gorbachev came to power in 1985, and was the last leader of the SU. His intention was not to undermine Communism, but he hoped to be Communism's saviour.

Gorbachev and the West:

  • He had very little forgein policy experience and viewed the relationship in very simplistic terms. He said Reagan 'looked like a caveman and is mentally retarded' after their first meeting in '85
  • In April 1968, a nuclear reactor exploded in Chernobyl in Ukraine, and Gorbachev organise a cover story. Western governments put pressure on him to tell the truth

New thinking: Gorbachev recognised communism in Russia faced many problems - the economy wasnt as efficient as the US and many people had lost faith in the Communist party.

Gorbachev's plan for reviving communism involved a radical plan of reform:

  • Perestroika - restructing economic reforms designed to ma=ake the economy more efficient
  • Glasnost - Openness. Censorship of the press relaxed

These two main changes fixed the two main problems in the Soviet Union.

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T3 - End of the Cold War - Positions in 1986

When Gorbachev came to power it was obvious the USA was in a stronger position that the USSR:


  • Strengths: booming economy, computer and space tech, reputation as 'leaders of the free world', NATO allies
  • Weaknesses: Fewer nuclear missiles than the USSR


  • Strengths: Warsaw Pact allies, greater number of nuclear missiles than the USA
  • Weaknesses: War in Afghanistan was expensive, failing economy, old-fashioned tech, reputation ruined by Chernobyl 
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T3 - The End - Geneva and Reykjavi

First meeting: Geneva Summit in 1985:

  • Reagan's Aims: persuade Gobachev he desired peace
  • Gorbachev's Aims: Get Reagan to drop SDI plans, establish a working relationship

Gorbachev sacked his old foreign minister, Gromyko, to signall an end to aggressive foreign policy.

Geneva was significant as it allowed the leaders to talk face-to-face and develop a personal relationship. However, no formal agreement was made.

Reykjavik Summit - 1986:

Reagan proposed scrapping all balistic nuclear missiles, but Gorbachev was unwilling to agree to these proposals because Reagan refused to drop the SDI project. 

Washington 1987 - Gorbachev withdrew the SDI conditions and signe the INF treaty

Moscow 1988 - Gorbachev pushed for joint troop reductions but Reagan said no

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T3 - The End - Reagan Reverts

Reagan chose to try and resume Detente because:

  • he could see public opinion was against another arms race
  • he wanted to save the money that another arms race would cost 
  • didnt want to seem like a bully
  • could see public approval of Gorbachev and his reforms. The US public liked him as did Margaret Thatcher
  • Got on well with Gorbachev and believed he wanted an end to the Cold War
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T3 - The End - The INF Treaty & Why G Sign it

The INF treaty was signed in Washington in 1987. It eliminated all nuclear missiles within a range of 500-5500km. 

It was significant as it was the first treaty to reduce the number of nuclear stockpiles, so went a step further than SALT I. 

Why did Gorbachev sign it?:

  • nuclear weapons were very expensive yet added nothing to Soviet security
  • Economy would never recover if it continued spending on nuclear weapons
  • Reagans persuaded Gorbachev that he had no intention of invading the SU
  • Political and Economic measures would be more effective in garunteeing security than military strength
  • Gorbachev believed disarment would bring him popularity in the West whcih would allow him to make trade deals
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Summit Conferences After Reagan

The Moscow Summit of 1988 fixed no target by opened the way to agreements that took place after Reagan left the presidency:

Malta 1989: Bush and Gorbachev began work on the CFE and START agreements

CFE Agreements 1990: Set limits to the non-nuclear forces that the Warsaw Pact and NATO could have in Europe

START 1 1991: Set limits to the number of nuclear weapons. Both agreed to reduce their holdingd of nuclear weapons by a thrird by destroying them

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T3 - Breakup of the Eastern Bloc & Warsaw

In December 1988 Gorby announced that ideology should play a smaller role in foreign affairs i.e. it wouldnt favour trade with communist cuntries over capitalist ones

Gorbachev never intended to weaken control over eastern european countries, he wanted to strengthen it.

But once reform started he could no longer contain it.

He had removed soviet troops from eastern european countries to save money but they had previously been relied upon to prop-up pro-soviet regime.

End of the Warsaw Pact:

As the eastern bloc disintergrated it bacame clear the Warsaw Pact couldnt survive. It was an alliance of communist states against capitalist ones that no longer served a purpose when Poland, Hungary and East Germany rejected Communism. It was formally dissolved in July 1991. 

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T3 - Fall of the Berlin Wall

Novemer 9th 1989

It came to symbolise the end of the cold war (which wasnt completely accurate as germany were slow to embrace glasnost and perestroika, but the government couldnt contain it's citezens desire for freedom once neighbouring states had abandoned communsim)

Why democratic elections were announced in Hungary, there was a mass movement of East Germans through Hungary to West Germany.

On November 9th East German Gov announced they would be allowed to cros the border.

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T3 - The Coup

Gorbachev was the 'darling of the west' but treated with suspicion in Russia. Members of the Communist party believed reform had weakened communism rather than strenghten it. 

On 19th August 1991 8 communist party officals organised a coup to remove Gorbachev from power.

  • initially successful, it prevented Gorbachev returning to Moscow
  • The new government announced a state of emerency that overturned the reforms
  • its goal was to restore the powers of the soviet union
  • it lasted 3 days. Boris Yeltsin the future president called the Coup illegal and called on the people of Moscow to resist it
  • Gorby returned to Moscow on the 21st and resumed position as leader, but it had damaged his authority and made Yeltsin seem a hero

Gorbachev officially announced the dissolution of the Soviet Union and his resignation as presient on the 25th December 1991.

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