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Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991

9. Détente

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about relations between the United States and Soviet Union changed from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, focusing in particular on: (i) the attempts by Kennedy to ease tensions with the Soviet Union, especially after the Cuban Missile Crisis; (ii) Johnson’s attempts to ease relations between the US and Soviet Union, including the 1967 Glassboro Summit Conference, 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; (iii) the impact of the Prague Spring and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968; (iv) Nixon’s attempts to ease relations with the Soviet Union, including his visit to China in February 1972 and his visit to Moscow in May 1972; (vi) the range of summits and agreements in this period, including the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) and the 1975 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE); and (vii) some of the limitations to these improvements in relations.


In this course, Dr Thomas Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester) provides an introduction to the Cold War, 1947-91, the period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc) and the United States and its allies (the Western Block). In the first module, we provide an introduction to the topic as a whole, considering how we should actually define the Cold War, and its diplomatic, economic and ideological dimensions. In the second and third modules, we think about the origins of the Cold War, before turning in the fourth module to consider the importance of the Korean War (1950-53) on the conflict. In the fifth module, we think about the domestic impact of the Cold War, before turning in the sixth module to consider how the Cold War began to incorporate tensions in Africa, Asia and South America to become an increasingly global conflict. In the seventh module, we consider the importance of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) to the development of the Cold War, before turning in the eighth module to the most important conflict of them all – Vietnam (1955-75). In the ninth module, we consider the development of the war between 1968-75, a period of easing tensions between the US and Soviet Union known as Detente, before turning in the tenth module to the ratcheting up of tensions during the presidency of Jimmy Carter (1977-81). Finally, in the eleventh module, we think about how the Cold War came to an end.


Dr Tom Tunstall Allcock is a lecturer in American history at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War, with particular interests in U.S.-Latin American relations, presidential history and diplomacy, and the cultural history of the Cold War.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Tunstall Allcock, T. (2020, February 05). Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991 - Détente [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Tunstall Allcock, T. "Cold War – Overview, 1945-1991 – Détente." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Feb 2020,