The Renewal of Tensions in the Cold War

United States

Soviet Union

From Brinkmanship to Detente and Brinkmanship Breaks Down:

Brinkmanship cause repeated crises, which caused a constant? - Threat
John F. Kennedy-He acted as a cold warrior during the cold war, using anti-cold war ideas to campaign for president.(McAdams)
President John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson-He took over the presidency after Kennedy was assassinated. Johnson was able to increase the US involvement in the war in Vietnam.(Beck;556)
Lyndon Johnson-He took over the presidency after Kennedy was assassinated. Johnson was able to increase the US involvement in the war in Vietnam.(Beck;556)
Cuban Missile Crisis was a big scare for nuclear war at the time. The U-2 incident had stopped the US and Soviet Union from meeting and discussing the build us of weapons on both sides. When the Soviet ships avoided US ships at sea it showed the world how close they had come to disaster. This all took place during his presidency.(Beck;556)

From Brinkmanship to Detente and the United States Turns to Detente:
Sputnik, the first satellite launched by Russia

The Détente was a policy adopted by the US during the Cold War in an effort to ease tensions with the Soviet Union. And for the US it was significant because it represented a shift in politics for the whole country and also a personal change for the president of the time, Richard M. Nixon. Nixon was the 37th US president and served during the end of the Vietnam War, and obviously the Cold War. He was also the one who moved the country towards the Détente largely because of his anti-communist views. Détente was a philosophy that grew out of an idea called “realpoitik” which is a German word meaning “realistic politics”. Realistic politics was the philosophy of dealing with other nations in a practical and flexible manor(Beck;554-557).

The first master of "realpoltik"-Otto Van Bismark

Nixon Visits Communist Powers:
In 1972 U.S. president Richard Nixon visits Russia to sign the SALT treaty. SALT also included a series of meetings called the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between Nixon and Brezhnev. These meetings eventually led to the signing of the SALT I treaty, which was a 5 year agreement limiting the number of intercontinental ballistic and submarine-launched missiles. This created somewhat of a peace between the countries. Congress never ratified SALT II (see 'The Collapse of Detente and Policy Changes').
Nixon and Brezhnev dicuss peace allegations
(Beck; 557)

The signing of SALT I Treaty
The signing of SALT I Treaty

The Collapse of Detente and Policy Changes:
President Nixon and Gerald Ford improved relations with China and the Soviet Union. But later Jimmy Carter was concerned over the Soviet policies of the protesters, which caused the hesitation of the signing of SALT II. Then finally Brezhnev and Carter signed the SALT II agreement, but U.S. Congress refused to ratify SALT II because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. (Beck; 557)
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Reagan Takes an Anti-Communist Stance:
In 1981 an anti-communist president takes office.
This man's name was Ronald Reagan. Some say that Reagan was the greatest president the U.S. has ever had. This is because he supposedly ended the international peace threat, more commonly known as the Cold War. When Reagan was electedpresident he invested in the missile defense program Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) (Heritage pg.1).
Mikhail Gorbachev
Launching of an SAM.
This allowed the U.S. to start the development of surface to air defense missiles (SAM) incase the Soviet Union decided to strike. The missiles worked by intercepting the oncoming warheads which would cause them to safely detonate in the air. This only enforced the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union until 1985 when new Soviet leadership was brought in. The new leader of the Soviets (Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev) was more willing to work with the U.S. which eventually led to the end of the bloodless Cold War by signing Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) which in the end caused the Soviet Union to break up into individual republics.The signing of the treaty and the dissolving of the U.S.S.R. occured in the year 1991 ending the alleged 45 year "war". (Cannon pg.1)

MLA Citation

“Ballistic Missile” Wikimedia online. March 17, 2009. May 11, 2009.

Beck, Roger B, et al. Modern World History- Patterns of Interaction.

N.p.: Houghton Mufflin Company, 2005. May 8, 2009

"Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis to Detente.". Shmoop. 11 May 2009 <


Dr. Joyce Starr. “Star Wars Ballistic Missile Defense”. BlogTalkRadio online. March 26,

2009. Ballistic-Missile-Defense-w-Host-Dr-Joyce-Starr

“Gorbachev, Mikhail Sergeyevich” encyclopedia online. May 6, 2009.

Garthoff, Raymond L. "Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan." Foreign Affairs. 6 May 2009

< d%C3%A9tente-and-confrontation-american-soviet-relations-from-nixon-t>.

Lou Cannon. “Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Talks Collapse as Deadlock on SDI Wipes Out Other Gains”. Washington Post online. October 13, 1986. May 7,


McAdams, John. "John Kennedy and the Cold War." The Kennedy Assassination. 2008. 11 May 2009 <>.

Oyos, Matthew M. "Jimmy Carter and SALT II: The Path to Frustration." American Diplomacy. 7 May 2009.


“Ronald Reagan”. Answers Online. May 5, 2009.

Schoenherr, Steven. "Nixon and Detente." USD: History. 10 Apr. 2006. 11 May 2009 <>.

Sibley, Katherine A.S. The Cold War. Westport, Connecticut London: Greenwood , 1961. Book

"Signing the SALT I Treaty." Wikimedia Commons. 1 Feb. 2009. 11 May 2009 <>.

“Where is Star Wars Missile Defense Today?”. Heritage online May 6, 2009

“World Affairs, 1969-1983”. US history online. May 5, 2009.

“10 Hottest Moments of the Cold War”. History online. May 4, 2009.

“40. Ronald Reagan 1981-1989”. Whitehouse online. May 5, 2009.