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'[The Helsinki Accords] gradually became a manifesto of the dissident and liberal movement ... What this meant was that the people who lived under these systems - at least the more courageous - could claim official permission to say what they thought.'
_ John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (2005)
Today in 1975, 35 leaders from Europe and North America met in Helsinki to sign the Helsinki Accords. Among the articles was a guarantee to protect human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief. This would play a significant role in the collapse of Communism, giving dissidents a valuable human-rights tool to use in the eastern Europe of the late 1980s.
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