In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, a historic agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States and its European allies. The accords covered a range of issues, including military deployments, territorial disputes, economic concerns such as trade and human rights.
By supporting the Helsinki Accords, Ford helped champion human rights and improve the living standards for people throughout Eastern Europe. In his speech before the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in 1975, Ford said, “We will spare no effort to ease tensions and to solve problems between us. But it is important that you recognize the deep devotion of the American people and their Government to human rights and fundamental freedoms and thus to the pledges that this Conference has made regarding the freer movement of people, ideas, information.”
What is the significance of the Helsinki Accords?
What were some of the countries impacted by the Helsinki Accords?
Why were the Eastern European countries the Soviet Union sought to continue to control geographically significant?
- Thirty-five countries signed the Helsinki Accords in 1975.
- The United States of America, Canada, and every country in Europe except Albania signed the Helsinki Accords in 1975. Albania became a signatory 16 years laters in September 1991.
- The seventh principle of the Helsinki Accords emphasized respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry Cold War Noun
(1947-1991) conflict between the Soviet Union (and its allies) and the United States (and its allies). The two sides never confronted each other directly.
type of economy where all property, including land, factories and companies, is held by the government.
art and science of maintaining peaceful relationships between nations, groups, or individuals.
Encyclopedic Entry: diplomacy dissident Noun
someone who disagrees with public opinion or authority.
Eastern Bloc Noun
(1945-1989) states and nations in central and eastern Europe under the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union.
human rights Noun
basic freedoms belonging to every individual, including the rights to social and political expression, spirituality, and opportunity.
Soviet Union Noun
(1922-1991) large northern Eurasian nation that had a communist government. Also called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the USSR.