The Importance Of The Helsinki Agreements For Superpower Relations

The final act of Helsinki was an agreement signed by 35 nations that closed the conference on security and cooperation in Europe in Helsinki (Finland). The multifaceted law addressed a number of important global issues and had a significant impact on the Cold War and US-Soviet relations. Each side considered itself “responsible,” but the more countries with nuclear capabilities, the less the superpowers could control events. There was also the fear of nuclear accidents. During the period of détente, a number of political agreements were reached. However, the civil rights portion of the agreement served as the basis for the work of Helsinki Watch, a Western secret service non-governmental organization created to support dissidents in Eastern Europe, supported by Western business media and Western governments under the umbrella of monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords (which developed into several regional committees and eventually formed the Helsinki International Federation and Human Rights Watch). While these provisions applied to all signatories, the emphasis was placed on their application to the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact, including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland and Romania. Soviet propaganda presented the final act as a great triumph for Soviet diplomacy and for Brezhnev himself. [13]:65 According to Cold War scholar John Lewis Gaddis, in his book The Cold War: A New History (2005), Leonid Brezhnev had looked forward, Anatoly Dobrynin recalls, about the “public he was about to win… When The Soviet public learned of the definitive colonization of the post-war borders, for which it had sacrificed so much”… “[Instead, the Helsinki Accords] have gradually become a manifesto of the dissident and liberal movement” … This meant that people who lived under these systems – at least the bravest – could claim official permission to say what they thought. [15] The Former People`s Republic of Albania refused to participate in the agreements, its leader Enver Hoxha argued: “All Soviet satellites, with the possible exception of the Bulgarians, want to break the chains of the Warsaw Treaty, but they cannot.

Second, their only hope is that the Helsinki document allows them, that is to say to strengthen their friendship with the United States of America and the West, to seek investments from them in the form of unrestricted loans and imports of their technology, to enable the Church to occupy its previous place, to deepen moral degeneration, to strengthen anti-Sovietism, and the Treaty of Warsaw will remain an empty shell. [16] The human rights safeguards contained in several provisions of Basket III proved to be a permanent reason for East-West disputes after the signing of the agreements in 1975. Soviet repression of internal dissension in the late 1970s and early 1980s led Western nations to accuse the Soviets of entering the human rights parts of the agreements in bad faith, while the Soviets insisted that they were purely internal affairs.

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