Cooperation of the superpowers during détente

There was a great deal of cooperation and goodwill between the superpowers during the period of détente.

President Nixon visits Moscow 1972

This was the first time a President of the USA had been in the Soviet Union since 1945.

Brezhnev visits Washington 1973

This visit emphasised the commitment of both sides to work together.

President Nixon returns to Moscow 1974

An unproductive visit, but it showed continued commitment.

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) 1975

A joint space flight by Soviet cosmonauts and American astronauts.

Increase in trade

In the 1970s, the Soviet economy was in trouble and the USSR had to look to foreign trade partners and investment. Embarrassingly, the USSR had to accept grain shipments from the USA.

Why did détente end?

Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan 1979

This broke existing agreements on communist expansion.

Ronald Reagan elected President of the USA

President Ronald Reagan
Reagan opposed the USSR

President Ronald Reagan did not trust Brezhnev. He wanted to make the USA the strongest country in the world.

In 1983, Reagan made a speech where he called the USSR an “evil empire”. The USA boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Continued nuclear proliferation

In 1979, NATO placed long-range missiles in Europe, threatening the USSR.

The video below looks at the relationship between the USA and the USSR.