Cuban Missile Crisis
- The Cuban Missile Crisis shocked the superpowers into reaching some agreements to limit the use of nuclear arms.
- The nuclear test ban treaty (1963) & the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) provided the first moves in this direction & continued under detente.
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SALT 1 (1972)
- Nixon's visit to China in February 1972, pushed the USSR to sign SALT I.
- By limiting ABM systems 2 sites the deterrence provided by the knowledge that the other sides could strike back was maintained.
- The USA & USSR agreed to a limit of 2 ABM systems each, one for their capital city & one to protect their nuclear missiles.
- Limits were placed on the number of ICBMS & SLBMS of 1,618 & 740 respectively for the USSR & 1,053 & 740 for the USA.
- The limitations of this was that it omitted new technological developments such as the MIRVs (multiple independent re-entry vehicles), which carried multiple warheads on a single missile. Each side could replace old, obsolete missiles with new ones within these limits.
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SALT 1 (1972) (2)
- The USA & USSR pledged 'to do their utmost to avoid military confrontations' & to 'exercise restraint' in international relations. Trade was to be encouraged between the two superpowers. This agreement marked a shift from the atmosphere of confrontation even if the principles were litle more than a statement of intent.
- US-Soviet trade increased as a result of the agreements, but it tended to be limited to grain supplies for the USSR.
- Nixon visited Moscow in 1972 & 1974; Brezhnev visited Washington in 1973. These visits were symbolic of the new accord between the superpowers.
- The treaty on offensive weapons, was, in particular, thin on substance. Each superpower retained enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other several times over.
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SALT 11 (1974-79)
- Planned between Brezhnev & Ford at the Valdivostock Summit, 1974. It set equal limits for missile launchers & strategic bombers but, importantly, left out cruise missiles where the USA had significant lead.
- SALT II was opposed under President Ford because it was too much for right-wing American Senators, who saw all arms control as a mechanism for allowing the USSR to catch up with superiror American weaponry.
- The treaty was highly technical & detailed & was not understood by 'the average senator'. Public opinion was against arms control agreements as the USSR began to prove themselves as untrustworthy.
- Increasing conflict in the third world, especially in Iran, Angola & Afghanistan, led to the Senate's rejection of SALT II in 1980
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Helsinki Accords (1973-75)
- 33 states from both NATO & the Warsaw Pact attended the conference which began in 1973 & produced an agreement in 1973.
- Warsaw Pact countires wished to secure US recongition of the European borders established after WW2. The USA saw this as an opportunity to gain concessions from the Soviet government in return.
- Declared the borders of European countries to be 'inviotable'. This meant that they could not be altered by force. By signing this agreement, all countries accepted the existence of Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe, including East Germany.
- Covered trade & technology exchanges to promote links across the iron curtain.
- An agreement to respect human rights, such as freedom of speech & freedom of moevement across Europe.
- It was criticised by American right wing because it merely awknowledged the reality of the situation that had existed since the late 1940s.
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