Many of the Cold War presidents used the Policy of Containment to resolve serious, diplomatic incidents involving the Communist countries.
Definition of the Prague Spring, Czechoslovakia (1968)
Summary and Definition: The Prague Spring. In 1968 Czechoslovakia broke free from Soviet rule in a short, four month period in history is now referred to as the Prague Spring. The policy of Glasnost encouraged the peaceful uprising but there were no riots or demonstrations. Antonin Novotny, the Czechoslovak president was ousted by Alexander Dubcek who allowed freedom of speech and removed state controls over industry. The Prague Spring ended with a Soviet invasion and the removal of Alexander Dubcek as party leader and an end to reform within Czechoslovakia but heralded a decline in the Cold War.
The End of the Vietnam War: 1973 Paris Peace Accords
The 1973 Paris Peace Accords, including a ceasefire agreement, is signed in Paris on January 27, 1973 heralding the End of the Vietnam War.
Definition of SALT Agreements - Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (1972 - 1979)
Summary and Definition: The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union as part of the policy of Detente, that were aimed at curtailing the manufacture of strategic missiles that were capable of carrying nuclear weapons that resulted in the SALT Treaty. SALT I was the first of the Strategic Arms Limitation talks between the USSR and the U.S. Leonid Brezhnev met with U.S. President Richard Nixon in May 1972 in which they agreed to produce a treaty that would contain the arms race. Two treaties were eventually produced and signed on May 26, 1972. The treaties were the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty (ABM), and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. Negotiations began for SALT II in 1972 and continued for seven years until on June 18, 1979 Brezhnev and President Jimmy Carter signed the SALT II treaty. The SALT II treaty placed limits the various types of missiles and the number of strategic launchers. Subsequent negotiations were named the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START).
Definition of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (1979 - 1989)
Summary and Definition: The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (December 25, 1979 – February 15, 1989), which led to the Soviet–Afghan War, lasted for nearly 10 years. The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan began when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to prop up the communist government which was being attacked by Muslim Mujaheddin fighters. This caused another rift with America during the Cold War. The United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest at Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviet–Afghan War ended when Mikhail Gorbachev took Russia out of the Afghanistan in 1989.
Definition of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) - Star Wars (1983)
Summary and Definition: The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as Star Wars, was introduced on March 23, 1983 as the US response to possible nuclear attacks to enable the us to prevent missile attacks from the USSR and other countries during the Cold War.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)
Summary and Definition: November 9, 1989 is recognized as the date of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, although the official demolition of wall began on June 13, 1990. Much of the wall was torn down by people as they celebrated the end to a divided Germany. Between November 9, 1989 - June 13, 1989 border controls still existed, although were less strict that previously. All border controls ended on July 1st 1990 and Germany was was officially reunified into a single country from October 3rd 1990.
Collapse of the Soviet Union and the End of the Cold War
Summary and Definition: The decline of the Soviet Union began in the 1980's and ended with the Collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the USSR in 1985 knowing that the USSR was in serious trouble economically and politically. Revolutions had been mounted by eastern European countries against the USSR and its strict regime. He began to reform the Soviet system by the democratization of the Communist Party and allowing Glasnost (freedom of speech) and perestroika (competition in business). Mikhail Gorbachev realized that the USSR could not afford the arms race, and opened the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) with America and signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987. In 1989 he withdrew Russian troops from Afghanistan, knowing the USSR would never be able to win the Soviet–Afghan War. In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev fell from power and the Soviet Union was dissolved leading to the Collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.