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Cover The Globalization of World Politics

4. International history of the twentieth century  

Len Scott

This chapter focuses on some of the principal developments in world politics from 1900 to 1999: the development of total war, the advent of nuclear weapons, the onset of cold war, and the end of European imperialism. It shows how the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union became the key dynamic in world affairs, replacing the dominance of—and conflict among—European states in the first half of the twentieth century. It also examines the ways that the cold war promoted or prevented global conflict, how decolonization became entangled with East–West conflicts, and how dangerous the nuclear confrontation between East and West was. Finally, the chapter considers the role of nuclear weapons in specific phases of the cold war, notably in détente, and then with the deterioration of Soviet–American relations in the 1980s.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Since 1945

9. The Eastern and Western Blocs in the 1960s  

This chapter provides an overview of the Eastern and Western blocs in the 1960s. It first considers US–Soviet relations from the Cuban Missile Crisis to détente spanning the period 1963–71, focusing on the talks between Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy regarding the Test Ban Treaty, before discussing the superpowers’ relations with China. It then explores unity and division in Eastern Europe and in the Western bloc, taking into account the European Economic Community (EEC), NATO, and the Western economies in the 1960s. It also analyses the rise of European détente, covering topics such as progress on pan-European contacts and the emergence of Ostpolitik.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Since 1945

13. ‘Stagflation’ and the Trials of Détente, 1973–6  

This chapter examines the onset of the so-called stagflation and the problems that beset détente during the period 1973–6. In the aftermath of Israel’s victories in the Six Day War, a situation of ‘no peace, no war’ prevailed in the Middle East. Attempts in 1970 and 1971 by the United Nations and the United States to make progress on a peace settlement proved futile. The chapter first considers the Middle East War of October 1973, which sparked a confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union, before discussing the impact of stagflation, especially on the Bretton Woods system. It then explores political problems in Europe and how European détente reached a high point in the Helsinki conference of 1975. It concludes with an analysis of détente and crises in less developed countries such as Chile, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Angola.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Since 1945

14. Détente in Decline, 1977–9  

This chapter examines the decline of détente during the period 1977–9. Détente suffered in part from being identified with Richard Nixon. After 1973, conservatives increasingly questioned détente, felt that the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) benefited the Soviet Union most, and were disturbed by an apparent pattern of communist adventurism abroad, in the 1973 Middle East War, Angola, and South-East Asia. The chapter first considers détente and policy-making during the time of Jimmy Carter before discussing the conflict in the Middle East, in particular the Lebanon Civil War, and the Camp David summit of 1978 that resulted in an Egyptian–Israel peace treaty. It then analyses the Ogaden conflict of 1977–8, the ‘normalization’ of Sino-American relations, and the Sino-Vietnamese War. It concludes with an assessment of the SALT II treaty.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

3. International history of the twentieth century  

Len Scott

This chapter focuses on some of the principal developments in world politics from 1900 to 1999: the development of total war, the advent of nuclear weapons, the onset of cold war, and the end of European imperialism. It shows how the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union became the key dynamic in world affairs, replacing the dominance of—and conflict among—European states in the first half of the twentieth century. It also examines the ways that the cold war promoted or prevented global conflict, how decolonization became entangled with East–West conflicts, and how dangerous the nuclear confrontation between East and West was. Finally, the chapter considers the role of nuclear weapons in specific phases of the cold war, notably in détente, and then with the deterioration of Soviet–American relations in the 1980s.