With a partial thawing of the Soviet-American Cold War early in the decade, this word received a lot of attention.
For example, as Time reported in 1972,
"[The U.S.-Soviet summit] underscored the drive toward détente based on mutual self-interest especially economic self-interest on the part of the Soviets, who want trade and technology from the West." Time, June 5, 1972
The French word détente once referred to the release of something in a mechanical sense e.g. a wheel inside a clock.
In English it came to mean the release of tensions in a political sense.