The year 1975 saw drastic changes in the Cold War. The fall of Saigon in April ended the Vietnam War; with that violent conflict over and the superpowers pursuing détente, the prospects for world peace appeared more favorable than at any point since the beginning of the Cold War. The August signing of the landmark Helsinki Accords, which settled international disputes that reached back to World War II and pledged the United States and Soviet Union to respect human rights, also seemed to augur peace. Scientists, who had long played a role in antinuclear activism, found themselves poised to influence the movement for global peace during this new phase of geopolitics.