Helsinki Agreement Cold War

Helsinki Agreement, also known as the Helsinki Final Act (August 1, 1975), an important diplomatic agreement signed in Helsinki,Finland at the end of the first conference on security and cooperation in Europe (CSCE, now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). The Helsinki Accords were primarily an attempt to ease tensions between the Soviet and Western blocs, ensuring their common acceptance of the status quo in Europe after the Second World War. The agreements were signed by all European countries (except Albania, which was signed in September 1991), as well as by the United States and Canada. The agreement recognized the inviolability of borders in Europe after the Second World War and obliged the 35 signatory states to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to cooperate in economic, scientific, humanitarian and other fields. The Helsinki agreements are non-binding and have no contractual status. 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 His assurances had little effect. The volume of negative mail continued to increase. [9] American public opinion was still not convinced that the US policy of inclusion of the Baltic States would not be altered by the final act of Helsinki. Despite protests from across the region, Ford decided to sign the agreement.

[11] When domestic policy criticisms were made, Ford ensured support for the Helsinki Accords, which had consequences of a general weakening of its external stature. His mistake in the debate with Carter, when he denied the Kremlin`s control over Poland, proved catastrophic. [12] The final act of Helsinki was an agreement signed by 35 nations, which closed the conference on security and cooperation in Europe, held 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. After a meeting of foreign ministers in Helsinki in July 1973, the committees met in Geneva to draft an agreement that lasted from September 1973 to July 1975. The main interest of the Soviet Union was to implicitly recognize its post-war hegemony in Eastern Europe through guarantees of inviolability of borders and non-interference in the internal affairs of States. In return, the United States and its Western European allies pushed the Soviet Union to engage on issues such as respect for human rights, expanded contacts between Eastern and Western Europe, freedom of movement and the free cross-border flow of information. The final act, signed at a summit in Helsinki, reflected both points of view. The agreement marked the formal end of the Second World War, as it recognized all European national borders (including the division of Germany into two countries) arising from the consequences of that war. Each side considered itself “responsible,” but the more countries with nuclear capabilities, the less the superpowers could control events.

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