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Détente

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Détente (French, “relaxation”), name given to the policy of easing tensions between the United States and the USSR that occurred in the late 1960s and 1970s. It was particularly associated with President Richard Nixon (and his adviser Henry Kissinger) during whose presidency the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) I was signed (1972). It was continued by President Ford, who signed the Helsinki Accords (1975). In the last years of the 1970s, however, tensions between the United States and the USSR rose again, and SALT II and détente were temporarily abandoned with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The reforms made by Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s improved the relationship between the superpowers, so that the name became obsolete. In 1990 the Cold War was officially ended.

See also: Cold War.

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