By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 10 The World Since 1945 – II students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 10 The World Since 1945 – II


This chapter deals with international relations from 1959 to 1991. We will study the Non-Aligned Movement, efforts at detente, SAARC, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the role played by Mikhail Gorbachev in the new world order.

Developments (1959 – 1991)

Phase 1959 – 1962 (Shifts in the Cold War) –
In spite of attempts to create goodwill between the two power blocs (such as at Camp David Summit), tensions continued to escalate. In 1961, USSR began erecting the Berlin Wall due to which people couldn’t travel between East and West Berlin. In 1962, the first direct confrontation of the Cold War took place. This was the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Cuba is a small nation off the coast of the USA. It had the support of the USSR. Due to its’ strategic location, then Soviet Premier, Khrushchev, decided to convert it into a Soviet base by placing missiles there. This was a serious, direct threat to the USA which retaliated with a naval blockade of Cuba. There was a real possibility of a nuclear war. But, both the superpowers realized the need to prevent such a situation and USSR withdrew it’s missiles from Cuba.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 10 The World Since 1945 - II

Non Alignment

A group of Third World countries (i.e., from Asia, Africa, South America), most of whom had recently gained sovereignty from colonial rule, refused to join any Cold War alliances. This laid the foundation for the Non- Aligned Movement. It was formally established at the Belgrade Conference (1961) with 25 members. Some of the founding member leaders were Marshall Tito (Yugoslavia), Jawaharlal Nehru, (India), Gamal Nasser (Egypt), Nkrumah (Ghana), Sukarno (Indonesia), etc.

The concept of Non-alignment is based on two main principles

  • independent understanding of the world affairs
  • peace approach. Thus it does not mean political passivity or neutrality. In fact, the idea was active participation in world affairs to promote peace and development.

The purpose of the NAM was

  • not to ally with any power bloc
  • opposition to any military alliance
  • freedom to take independent policy decisions with regard to international affairs.

NAM has helped the Third World countries to gain economic and political rights. Today it has 120 members countries and 17 observer countries. It is headed by a Secretary General. The 17th NAM summit was held in Venezuela in September 2016 while 18th summit (2019) will be held in Azerbaijan.

Phase 1962 – 1972 (Foundations Of Detente)

After the Cuban Missile Crisis, both the USA and the USSR made several efforts at reducing bilateral tensions (detente). This included —

  • a hot line was set up between main leaders of the two nations.
  • signing of agreements such as N.N.P.T., L.T.B.T. to reduce nuclear weapons.
  • In 1972 the Moscow Summit between President Nixon (USA) and Brezhnev (USSR).

USA had not recognized the Chinese government since 1949. But in 1972, President Nixon visited China and thus recognized the Communist regime of Mao Zedong.

Phase 1972 – 1979 (Detente)

Some of the initiatives taken by the superpowers to bring about detente included –

  • Conference at Paris (1973) to bring the Vietnam crisis to an end.
  • Helsinki conference on security in Europe (1975) was attended by 35 nations including USA and USSR. It aimed to reduce the tensions between Eastern and Western European countries.
  • The first joint US-Soviet space flight was the Apollo Soyuz Test project (1975)
  • The USA held a conference at Camp David in 1978 to resolve the long pending Arab-Israel dispute. The ‘Framework for Peace in the Middle East’ was signed between President Carter (USA), President Sadat (Egypt) and Prime Minister Begin (Israel).

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 10 The World Since 1945 - II

Other Significant developments include in this period.

  • Arab – Israel War (1973) and increase in the price of oil all over the world.
  • Demand by non-aligned counties for New International Economic Order (NIEO)
  • Growing importance of economic issues in international relations and increasing demands put forward by Third World nations.
  • North-South world divide i.e. between rich nations of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe and North America and Southern Hemisphere nations of Asia, Africa, South America.
  • Period of economic interdependence, signing of “Free Trade” agreements and establishing of ‘trade blocs’ such as NAFTA.

Phase 1979 – 1985 (New Cold War)

Two events that occurred in 1979 changed the course of detente

  • Islamic Revolution in Iran under leader Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the rule of M.R. Shah Pahlavi. The new government withdrew from the CENTO alliance.
  • Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and installed Babrak Karmal as the President. The insurgent groups in Afghanistan (mujahideen) fought against this government (1979 – 1989).

New Cold War refers to the end of the period of detente and return of tensions between USA and USSR.

Phase 1985 – 1991 (Gorbachev Era)

There were significant changes in the Soviet policy under Mikhail Gorbachev (President of USSR). He introduced the policies of Glasnost and Perestroika.

His new foreign policy included (i) withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, (ii) stopping of the arms race with US and focus on arms control (iii) opening up a dialogue with China.

Gorbachev also tried to reform Soviet domestic politics. The control of Communist Party ended and people were given the right to criticize the government. On 25th December, 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the next day the USSR as a country ceased to exist.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 10 The World Since 1945 - II

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) came into existence and finally new countries were formed such as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, etc.

Other changes due to the disintegration of Soviet Union include

  • Reunification of Germany in 1990.
  • Splitting of Czechoslovakia into Slovakia and Czech Republic
  • Splitting of Yugoslavia into Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, etc.

The disintegration of the USSR signified the end of the Cold War and USA emerged as the only superpower (unipolarity). New organisations like WTO,EU,G-20, SAARC. BRICS started to play a role in world affairs. This is called multi polarity.