Sunday, 13 April 2014

To what extent were the 1960s and 1970s a period of “détente” between the superpowers?

Document 1:

Text adapted from the NASA mission narrative for the Apollo-Soyuz flight, a joint initiative by the USA and USSR.

…Voice contact was made soon after. “Hello Soyuz!” Stafford said in Russian. Kubasov replied in English: “Hello everybody, hi to you Tom and Deke, hello there, Vance!”

All communications among the five crew members during the mission were made in the language of the listener, with the Americans speaking Russian to the Soviet crew and the Soviet crew speaking English to the Americans.

Contact of the two spacecraft, at 12:09 pm on July 17th 1975, was transmitted live on TV to the earth, and Stafford commented: “We have succeeded, everything is excellent.” “Soyuz and Apollo are shaking hands now” the cosmonauts answered.

Hard docking was completed over the Atlantic Ocean at 12:12 pm, 6 minutes earlier than the prelaunch flight plan, watched by millions of TV viewers worldwide. “Perfect, beautiful, well done, Tom, it was a good show, we're looking forward to shaking hands with you on board Soyuz” Leonov said. (…)

Both Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and US President Gerald Ford congratulated the crews and expressed their confidence in the success of the mission.

Stafford then presented Leonov with “flags for your government and the people of the Soviet Union” with the wish that “our joint work in space serves for the benefit of all countries and peoples on the earth”. Leonov then presented the U.S. crew with Soviet flags. (…)

The hatches were closed after Brand told Leonov and Kubasov: “I'm sure that we've opened up a new era in history.”

Document 2:

1968 drawing by Opland, a Dutch cartoonist 

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