Why did the Cold War end?
1967 – Outer Space Treaty bans nuclear weapons in space.
1968 – Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed in agreement that nuclear weapons should not be spread. Countries with them should not give them out and should discuss disarmament. Countries without nuclear weapons should not develop them.
1972 – SALT 1 signed to limit production of nuclear weapons. Small range should no longer be produced, ICBWs could only be produced to replace and there were to be no new nuclear missile launchers. Submarines that could launch weapons could only be made as replacements.
1975 – US and USSR joint space mission
Lots of countries joined at the Helsinki Conference where it was agreed that human rights should be respected and no country should interfere with the internal affairs of another’s. If necessary, any disputes should be resolved through the UN. There was also recognition of the official borders of East and West Germany. There was to be more trade between the US and USSR – American wheat for Soviet oil – and there would be scientific/educational co-operation. However, the USSR did not keep their promises about human rights.
Second Cold War
1978 – President is Amin overthrown in Afghanistan. Taraki took over but was forced to keep Amin as Prime Minister. Taraki wanted to “build Socialism in Afghanistan”. He became allied with the USSR and worked with them to modernise the country with reforms. This was met with opposition from Muslim leaders and a civil war broke out. Communists in Afghanistan asked Brezhnev for help but he refused as it would become the USSR’s own Vietnam.
1979 – Taraki was assassinated and Amin took his position as President. On Christmas day, Soviet troops take over airports and land in Afghanistan. This happened because there was a Muslim revolution in Iran, and the USSR worried it would also happen in Afghanistan, where the rebels were gaining popularity. Afghanistan bordered the USSR so this could have a knock on effect within the USSR for Muslims in the same region. There were also oil reserves in the region which the Soviets were interested in.
The Soviets had undermined the power of the Afghan army and suffered 15,000 deaths, over 30,000 injuries and a $20bn loss by the end of the war in 1986. Over a million Afghans were killed and 5 million displaced. The Mujahidin had used guerrilla tactics very efficiently and they were equipped secretly by the US, who allied with China against the invasion. The US worried about Soviet influence in a region with oil reserves that was of such importance to America’s prosperity and so they spent $2bn in money, arms and equipment to supply the Mujahidin through Pakistan.
The war was unwinnable for the Soviets as communism was seen as anti-religious…