print page

From ABC-CLIO's History Hub website

This list of resources provides an overview of the period of de-escalation between the United States and the Soviet Union known as détente. Use these articles and documents to support students' understanding of the policies and proxy wars that defined the later decades of the Cold War era. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • The struggle for political power can motivate nationalist response among the citizenry
  • Contrasting influences of communism and democracy can lead to difficult and fragmented transitions in political states
  • Geographic containment does not mean ideological containment
  • Ideological wars do not have physical endings
  • The legacies of political leadership and social policy cannot be erased
  • Weapons of mass destruction increase the impact and importance of political policy
  • Nationalism can motivate both national unity and domestic terrorism
  • The global focus on human rights influenced political regimes and economic structures

Key Questions

  • How did the policy of détente seek to reduce Cold War tensions? Why were the two superpowers willing to engage in this policy? What challenges did promoters of détente face?
  • How were anticolonial conflicts around the world affected by the interests of the two superpowers? Why did they become involved in such conflicts?
  • Why do you think nationalist, radical, and domestic terrorist groups were able to lead influential movements during the period of détente?
  • How did Cold War rivalries affect events in the Middle East?


  1. Overview: Détente
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Détente: A Relaxation of Tensions
  6. Lesson: 2-Treaties and Nuclear Nonproliferation
  7. Lesson: 3-Angolan and Ethiopian Civil Wars
  8. Lesson: 4-Rise of Terrorism
  9. Lesson: 5-Cold War in the Middle East
  10. Lesson: Closing
  11. Glossary Terms: mutual deterrence
  12. Photos & Illustrations: Cold War: Nike missile battery
  13. Photos & Illustrations: Nixon, Richard: and Leonid Brezhnev at Moscow summit (1972)
  14. Reference Articles: Angolan Civil Wars
  15. Reference Articles: Communism
  16. Reference Articles: Détente
  17. Reference Articles: Yom Kippur War
  18. Political, Government & Court Documents: Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (1972)
  19. Political, Government & Court Documents: Outer Space Treaty (1967)
  20. Speeches: Khrushchev, Nikita: speech on decolonization (1960)


Select Citation Style: 
MLA Citation
"Détente." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.
Chicago Citation
"Détente." In History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020. Accessed February 28, 2020.
APA Citation
Détente. (2020). In History Hub. Retrieved from
Entry ID: 2156866