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The key feature of detente was a reduction in tensions between the United States and its allies on the one hand and the Communist bloc on the other. The period of detente is generally said to have begun in the late 1960s and to have lasted until the mid-1970s.
Among the most important achievements of the detente era were the opening of relations between the United States and China and the SALT arms limitations treaty that was signed in 1972. Symbolically important was the joint space mission between the United States and the USSR in 1975.
It is important to note, however, that there were still Cold War tensions during this time. Much of this period coincided with the Vietnam War which was, of course, a Cold War conflict. Therefore, the period of detente was one of reduced tensions, but not one in which tensions were entirely absent.
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