To what extent did D

Essay by rachel-england January 2006

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After Hungary, Berlin and the Cuban missile crisis the superpowers wanted to reduce international tensions to prevent nuclear war and to cut down military expenditures. But Détente was never amity, only the easing of tensions. The Sino-Soviet split, due to ideological and territorial matters, caused China and the Soviet Union to develop better relationships with America, rather than between each other. Meetings between America and the two communist superpowers China and the Soviet Union occurred, treaties were signed and trade relations improved. In Europe Ostpolitik marked the most significant efforts of Détente. But the struggle for supremacy was not interrupted and threat of Mutual Assured Destruction continued.

China and the Soviet Union accused each other of moving away from pure communism and in 1964 the Chinese Communist Party denounced Khrushchev's "phoney communism". Tensions between the two superpowers had emerged during the Korean War when the Soviets made the Chinese pay cash for armament when China had lost around half a million men.

In the 1960's Sino-Soviet disputes continued along the border between China and the Soviet Union. Between 1965 and 1969 the Soviets and the Chinese competed for influence through aid in Vietnam. The United States observed the events between the two communist countries, and "played the China card". They started a triangular policy. While starting SALT talks with the Soviet Union, secret meetings were held in Warsaw with the Chinese. In 1970 Nixon said: "If there is anything I want to do before I die, it is to go to China" and during Henry Kissinger's secret trip to Beijing in 1971 he offered Beijing to inform it of all Washington's meetings with Moscow.

An improvement of relations between the USA and China put pressure on the Soviet Union because they feared that China and the USA could form an...