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The period from the Second World War to the mid 1970s was one of great hostility and tension between the US and Russia Both had emerged from World War II as superpowers It was during this timeframe that the frightening prospect of nuclear war became closer and closer Nuclear war would mean the end to mankind so the need for a dtente became necessary Dtente is a French word that was used during the Cold War meaning the easing or relaxing of tensions between nations The reasons for a dtente were not only nuclear related Russia was in severe economic crisis and was facing isolation from the non-communist world and public opinion in America believed that the Cold War was unjustifiable both economically and morally This essay will endeavour to show many of the reasons why a dtente had to be achieved After the Second World War the world had entered into a dangerous period where complete destruction could occur at any time Nuclear weapons had been developed as a threat to enemies The tension that was created between the US and Russia led to the massive arms race The possibility of full scale nuclear was one of the main reasons that forced the US and Russia to agree to a dtente From 1945 till 1957 the US had significantly more advanced nuclear weapons than Russia However Russia had massive ground forces to even up the balance of power The period from 1957 till 1962 saw the missile gap decrease and the balance of nuclear weapons became closer In October 1957 Russia launched Sputnik 1 into space This added a frightening dimension to war as the US now not only had to worry about conventional attacks from land sea and air but now from space The type of rocket that had launched Sputnik 1 could also launch nuclear warheads This was demonstrated previously in 1957 with the successful testing of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles ICBMs
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