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Graham Centre Graduate Student Forum — "The Jekyll and Hyde Nature of Détente": Arms Control and the Atlantic Alliance, 1972-1984

This paper explores détente in the realm of defence and security, what Soviet officials often referred to as "military détente." It explores how the Western allies treated détente as one subset of the Alliance's functions, focusing in particular on the need to balance the pursuit of détente with NATO's continued ability to defend the West. In doing so, I trace allied reliance on two-pronged decisions which paired defence and détente, most notably NATO's 1979 decision to modernize its theatre nuclear force capabilities: the Dual-Track Decision. This paper demonstrates the centrality of arms control and European security to NATO's approaches to and thinking about détente. Ultimately, these areas dovetailed most with the geographic scope and original purpose of the Alliance, thereby making them the heart of allied consensus regarding détente.

Speaker: Susan Colbourn, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Toronto

Time: Monday, March 6, 3-5 pm.

Location: Trinity College Boardroom