détente


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détente,

relaxation of tensions between nations, applied particularly to a period of improved relations between the United States and Soviet Union in the 1960s and 70s that resulted as the hostilities of the cold warcold war,
term used to describe the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist bloc from the end of World War II until 1989. Of worldwide proportions, the conflict was tacit in the ideological differences between communism and
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 diminished. Détente reached its height in such agreements as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1968), Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I, 1972; see disarmament, nucleardisarmament, nuclear,
the reduction and limitation of the various nuclear weapons in the military forces of the world's nations. The atomic bombs dropped (1945) on Japan by the United States in World War II demonstrated the overwhelming destructive potential of nuclear weapons
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), and the Helsinki Accords (1975; see Organization for Security and Cooperation in EuropeOrganization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE), international organization established as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in 1973, during the cold war, to promote East-West cooperation. Headquarters are in Prague, Czech Republic.
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). After the Soviet invasion of AfghanistanAfghanistan
, officially Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, republic (2005 est. pop. 29,929,000), 249,999 sq mi (647,497 sq km), S central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Iran on the west, by Pakistan on the east and south, and by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan on the
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 (1979; see also Afghanistan WarAfghanistan War,
1978–92, conflict between anti-Communist Muslim Afghan guerrillas (mujahidin) and Afghan government and Soviet forces. The conflict had its origins in the 1978 coup that overthrew Afghan president Sardar Muhammad Daud Khan, who had come to power by ousting
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), relations between the two superpowers worsened. The crisis in Poland that resulted from the crackdown on SolidaritySolidarity,
Polish independent trade union federation formed in Sept., 1980. Led by Lech Wałęsa, it grew rapidly in size and political power and soon posed a threat to Poland's Communist government by its sponsorship of labor strikes and other forms of public protest.
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, an escalation of the arms race, and U.S. President Ronald ReaganReagan, Ronald Wilson
, 1911–2004, 40th president of the United States (1981–89), b. Tampico, Ill. In 1932, after graduation from Eureka College, he became a radio announcer and sportscaster.
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's strong anti-Soviet stance brought an end to détente in the early 1980s.