The end of the Cold War


The Outer Space Treaty


They agreed not to place any nuclear weapons in space.

SDI broke this policy. 

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Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty


Neither superpower would supply nuclear weapons to other states or help other states to develop nuclear weapons.

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Imposed limits on nuclear capability. They agreed:

  • Not to produce any more strategic ballistic missiles
  • Submarines carrying nuclear weapons would only be introduced when ICBMs were obsolete
  • ABM Treaty - limited to two Anit-Ballistic Missile systems each
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Apollo-Soyuz mission


A joint space mission between and American Apollo and a Russian Soyuz.

A sign of superpower co-operation in space

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A permanent version of SALT 1


  • Vladivostok Agreement: reduce their stocks of nuclear warheads to 2250
  • Construction of land based ICM launchers banned
  • Would last until 1985

Signed by Carter and Brezhnev in 1979

US Senate refused to agree to it

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Helsinki Agreements


Agreed on:

  • Security: Recognition of Europe's frontiers. Soviet Union accepted the existence of West Germany.
  • Co-operation: There was a call for closer economic, scientific and cultural links - these would leaad to even closer political agreement
  • Human Rights: Each signatory agreed to respect human rights and basic freedoms, such as thought. speech, religion and feedom from unfair arrest
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Detente Achievements

Reduced the likelyhood of a nuclear war.

Reduced military costs

Improved human rights in communist countries

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Detente limits

There was still fear of a nuclear war.

The countries could no longer defend themselves

The arms race hasnt come to an end, it has just been limited.

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Kabul revolution


Mohammed Taraki - new communist president of Afghanistan.

Problems with the government:

  • Suffered from personnal rivalries
  • Muslim leaders angered by socialist reforms
  • Spring 1979 there was a Civil War
  • Taraki was assassinated in October 1979 and replaced with Amin
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Soviet invasion

Christmas day 1979

Soviet tanks and motorised infantry crossed the border.

A new leader was installed - Karmal.

The invasion lasted for 10 years

Aimed to stop Afghanistan becoming an Islamic state.

Amin was killed by Soviet troops.


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The Carter Doctrine

The USA wont let the USSR gain control of the Middle East.

Formed an alliance with China and Israel to support the rebels - the CIA provided them with weapons

They imposed economic sanctions.

They ended diplomatic relations.

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Olympic boycott

1980 Moscow Games - around 60 country  refused to attend the games. The American government set up an alternitive Olympics, called the Olympic Boycott Games.

1984 Los Angeles Games - 14 communist country refused to attend. USSR organised the Friendship Games as an alternative. 

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The 'Second Cold War'

A phase used to describe the period between 1979 and 1985, which marked a new low in superpower relations.

The public was extremely concerned about the possibility of a nuclear war and was reflected in popular culture.

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President Reagan

Became president in 1981 - didn't want to put detente back together. 

He had previously stared in low budget movies.

He was portrayed as a modern day cowboy - public didn't think he was qualified to be president.

He believed that detente was a disater for USA. Thought it had made USA weak while USSR gre strong.

He rejected the idea of peaceful co-existence with the USSR, believing that it was America's destiny to fight for individual freedom in the Cold War.

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Evil Empire

March 1983

Regan argued that the Cold War was a fight between good and evil.

Regan's point was that the Cold War was a moral war and that America had a moral duty to invest in new nuclear waepons in order to defend liberty from the 'evil' Soviet Union.

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Reagan's vission

Many of Reagan's advisors misunderstood him. They thought that when he talked about victory in the Cold War, he was only trying to win support from the American people. 

Regan had a bold vission. He was determined to win the Cold War.

He believed that the USSR could be forced to disarm by his new initiative: SDI.

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SDI (Star Wars)

Reagan proposed a 'nuclear umbrella' which would stop Soviet nuclear bombs from reaching American soil. 

His plan was to launch an army of satellites equipped with powerful lasers, which would intercept Soviet missiles in space and destroy them. 

SDI would render the USSR's nuclear missiles useless.

SDI broke detente - Outer Space Treaty 1967

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Gorbachev and communism

Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union.

He oversaw the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism in Russia.

He didn't intend to indermine communism, but to save it.

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Chernobyl Crisis

April 1986

The nuclear reactor in the Chernoybl nuclear power plant (Ukraine) went critical and exploded. 

Gorbachev tried to cover it up by issuing a cover story that denied there had been a release of dangerous radiation.

The west were unconvinced and put pressure on Gorbachev to reveal the truth. 

Chernobyl became an international symbol of the crisis in Soviet communism

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Gorbachev's new thinking

Why? - the soviet economy was suffering

          - people had lost faith in the Communist party 

What? - perestroika: economic reforms designed to make the                       Soviet economy more efficient

            - glasnot: censorship of the press was relaxed

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Geneva meeting

November 1985 - Reagan and Gorbachev

Reagan's aim was to persuade Gorbahev that he sincearly desired peace between the two superpowers.

Gorbachev was hoping to persuade Reagan to drop his plans for SDI. He also wanted to astablish a working relationship with USA.

The meeting was significant as the two leaders were able to talk face-to-face and develop a personnal relationship.

However, no formal agreement on arms control was reached.

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Reykjavik meeting

October 1986

Reagan proposed scrapping all ballistic nuclear missiles.

Gorbachev was unwilling to agree to these proposals because Reagan refued to drop SDI.

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INF treaty

December 1987

Following the Reykjavik meeting, American and Soviet diplomats continued to try to draft an arms-reduction treaty. The result was the INF treaty.

It was signed in Washington.

Eliminated all nuclear missiles with a range of 500-5500 kilometers.

It was significant as it was the first treaty to reduce the number of nuclear missiles. 

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Why did Gorbachev sign the INF treaty?

  • Nucler weapons were highly expensive but added nothing to Soviet security.
  • Reagan persuaded him that the USA had no intention on invading the USSR
  • The Soviet economy couldn't recover as they were spending too much on nuclear weapons
  • He believed disarmament would bring him popularity in the West
  • He believed political and economic measures would be more effective in guaranteeing security than military strength
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Malta Summit


Bush and Gorbachev

The meeting began work on the agreements that there were to be CFE and START 1

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The CFE Agreement

Set limits to the non-nuclear forces that the Warsaw Pact and NATO could have.

Negotiations were difficult because the USSR was begining to break up.

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Set limits to the numbers of nuclear weapons.

Both sides agreed to reduce numbers by a third by destoring them.

Also agreed that both sides would continue to reduce.

Did not agree on all kinds of nuclear weapons, but covered most of them.

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Gorbachev's attitude to Eastern Europe

  • In December 1988, he announced that ideology should play a smaller role in Soviet foreign affairs. 
  • Gorbachev was keen for Eastern European states to enjoy perestroika and glasnot
  • Gorbachev withdrew Soviet troops from Eastern Europe in order to save money
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The break up of the Eastern Bloc

Gorbachev never intended to weaken communist control of eastern Europe. 

Once reform had started in the Eastern Bloc, he was unable to contain it.

The Eastern Bloc had previously relied on the Soviet army to prop up their pro-Moscow regimes.

The Eastern European governments were weakened.

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The fall of the Berlin Wall

Symolised the end of the Cold War.

As soon as democratic elections were announced in Hungary there was a mass movement of East Germans through Hungary to West Berlin. There was greater freedom of travel.

November 9th - East German government announced that East Germans would be allowed to cross the border.

Thousands of East Berliners flocked to the checkpoints in the wall. The border guards let them pass - the wall had fallen.

People started to chip away and dismantle parts of the wall.

Many were reunited with friends and family.

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The end of the Warsaw Pact

As the Eastern Bloc disintergrated, it became obvious that the Warsaw Pact could not survive.

As first Poland, the Hungary and finally East Germany all rejected communism, the Pact no longer served any purpose.

Military co-operation ceased in early 1990 and the Warsaw Pact was formally dissolved in July 1991.

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Soviet reaction to the fall of the Berlin Wall

August 19th 1991 - Gang of Eight organised a coup which removed Gorbachev from power.

Gorbachev was prevented from returning to Moscow.

New government declared a state of emergency and overturned Gorbachev's reforms.

The coup lasted for three days. Yeltsin played a crucial role in defeating the coup. He described the coup as illegal.

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The end of the Cold War

The fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991 finally ended the Cold War. 

It also ended superpower conflict because once the USSR was dissolved, America became the worlds only superpower.

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