Not everything you should know! You will need to use this knowledge as a basic idea and expand from there. Use it, read it, learn it. You know the whole trying to destroy your way of life was a joke – right?



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Everything you wanted to know about the Cold War (Key Topic 3), but were too afraid to ask...

This document is designed to give you an overview of the Cold War. It will contain information which you need to know in your exam. It is NOT everything you should know! You will need to use this knowledge as a basic idea and expand from there. Use it, read it, learn it.



1. You know the whole trying to destroy your way of life was a joke – right?

After nearly managing to destroy the world with the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 1960s and 70s saw an improvement in superpower relations. This period is known as Détente – which means a relaxing or easing of the tension between the USA and the USSR. The first signs we have already looked at with what happened after the Cuban Missiles Crisis: Hotline set up – 1962, Test Ban Treaty – 1963 (Don’t Test Nukes!), Non Proliferation Treaty – 1968 (Don’t share Nukes!)


1 - Trust. Détente style.

Another sign of the improvement in relations between the two countries was how potential problems did not make them go back to a hostile relationship.



  • After replacing Khrushchev, the new leader of the USSR Leonid Brezhnev introduced the Brezhnev Doctrine promising to protect communist countries from capitalists. It did not get a reaction from America

  • The Vietnam War – Started in 1965 by America as they attempted to stop Vietnam from becoming communist. The war was going badly for the Americans and whilst there Soviets were helping their opponents, it did not lead to a problem between the USA and USSR

  • The Middle East – The USA gave a lot of military and financial support to Israel, whilst the Arab countries in the region looked to the USSR for the same support. Whilst the Israeli and Arabs had their own issues and wars with each other, the superpowers chose not to get involved

  • Czechoslovakia – As we have already seen, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia drew no response from the US.

In 1969, the election of a new American President – Richard Nixon furthered the cause of détente as he believed it was important to improve trade and cultural links between capitalism and communism, which led to his visits to China and the USSR in 1972.




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