Detente from 1963 until the mid-70s

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th gradeB+, March 2006

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After 1968 the US had huge problems. The Vietnam War drained the economy and society as a whole lost faith in the people who ran the country. The USSR recognized the need for Détente as they had many problems of their own. The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and Soviet-Chinese tensions continued to increase, causing more threats to the USSR. Détente would also give Russia access to much needed western technology. West and East Europe also recognized the need for stability, and economic development by creating ties between the nations.

American society and its economy was in decline. The Vietnam War proved very costly to America, as it was the first time the government sought to re-evaluate commitments and policies. No longer was there a need to get rid of communism but a need to have peaceful coexistence. There are various incidents which ruptured the American society's infrastructure. For example, the Tet offensive during January of 1968 created huge outcry among America's citizens.

It was the first concrete example that showed the American public that the government was wrong, and completely underestimated its enemy. Furthermore the My Lai massacre, just two months after Tet, created even larger anxiety as the public began to question who the real enemies were. In addition to international problems America as the great society it once envisioned was in great despair. Many anti racism riots took place in many cities across the country, such as the Watts riots in LA. For the first time the African American population had had enough of being treated as second class citizens and thus decided to do something about it. Like the rest of the public they wanted freedom (United States being the upholder of freedom). Many protests against the War took place (E.g. over 500, 000 people protested...