Twentieth Century International Relations 1879 - 1980


Cienfuegos Crisis

Aug 26 1970

The Cienfuegos Crisis begins when an American U2 spy plane spots a submarine base in Cuba. The US wants the removal of Soviet missile submarines from Cuba, but fears that any public confrontation will escalate into a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger thus chooses to handle the issue with quiet diplomacy.



President Richard Nixon travels to the USSR for a summit with Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev in the Kremlin. They agree to seek a policy of détente, neither seeking an advantage at the expense of the other.

Cold War stable


1975 marks the high point of détente between the United States and Soviet Union. The Vietnam War is over, China is America's friend, relations between East and West Germany are improving, and the US and USSR have made a number of agreements to slow the nuclear arms race. The Cold War seems to have stabilized, with reduced tensions on both sides.


World War I

July 28, 1914 - November 11, 1918

World War II

1939 - 1945

Cuban Missile Crisis

14 October 1962 - 28 October 1962

The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis, the Caribbean Crisis, or the Missile Scare, was a 13-day confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over Soviet ballistic missiles deployed in Cuba.


Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT)

5 august 1963

The United States, Soviet Union, and Great Britain sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which bans atmospheric nuclear tests in hopes of slowing the arms race and protecting against nuclear fallout.

Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty

May 26 1972

The US and USSR sign the Antiballistic Missile Treaty to limit anti-ballistic missile systems, which could potentially defend against missiles carrying nuclear weapons. This treaty formalizes Mutual Assured Destruction.

Salt I signed

May 29 1972

The signing of the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) by the United States and USSR in Moscow heralds the beginning of détente. The treaty freezes the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) held by each country for five years. The treaty also shows an acceptance of equal strategic arsenals—both the US and USSR realize that they each will continue to have a large number of weapons no matter how vigorously they compete in an arms race.