The khrushchev era

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Information about The khrushchev era

Published on March 12, 2014

Author: jeffweichel


The Khrushchev Era

De-Stalinization • at the Twentieth Communist Party Congress in 1956, Khrushchev announced a new direction for the USSR: • he denounced Stalin's iron-fisted, repressive methods • he reiterated Lenin's contention that there are “many roads to socialism” – unlike Stalin, Khrushchev would permit some political diversity in the USSR • he announced his intention to support developing countries as a way to peacefully promote the growth of socialism • 3rd world competition!

The Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact - 1955 • a military alliance between the USSR and Satellite States • a response to NATO • also, an attempt by the new Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, to bring the satellite states to the table – a more moderate approach • this is part of de- Stalinization

Attempts at Breaking Soviet Domination

Attempts at Breaking Soviet Domination • In the relaxed atmosphere of post-Stalinism, several satellite states attempted to either gain their independence from the USSR or at least operate in a more independent manner. • There are small examples in nearly every satellite state, but the most significant are in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia • In nearly every case, these attempts were met with uncompromising force

1. Poland 1956 • Wladyslaw Gomulka – a moderate communist • Gomulka did not stray too far from the Soviet model, but tried to bring in some reforms to allow Poles to live more independently • De-collectivization of agriculture • Lifted restrictions on the Catholic Church

The Hungarian Revolution, 1956 • Stalinist Rakosi replaced by Imre Nagy • Nagy was initially like another Gomulka… • …But Nagy increased demands and became anti-Soviet • Announced he would be pulling Hungary out of the Warsaw Pact • Soviets send tanks – Khrushchev may be a moderate, but his party would never allow this

• Many Hungarians, mostly young people, prepare to fight them • Hungarian Uprising • 30,000 killed & 200,000 fled • Nagy executed • Where were the Americans?? Why didn’t they help little Hungary??

Czechoslovakia 1968 The Prague Spring

• Alexander Dubcek came into power in 1968 and began to establish his program of “socialism with a human face” • Freedom of press, assembly, worship, right to strike • About to bring in free elections when Soviets put the brakes on

• Leonid Brezhnev (Leader 64 to 82) established the Brezhnev Doctrine: it is the right and duty of fraternal socialist countries to intervene in each other’s affairs when socialism is threatened • This is a way to justify to use of tanks and troops to crush the Prague Spring • Dubcek was arrested • Czechoslovakia lost its attempt at humanizing communism, and experienced a harsh Soviet reality for the next 20 years

“Peaceful Co-Existence” • this term comes from Khrushchev’s 1956 speech in which he announced that the USSR was ready to peacefully compete with the USA on a global basis • the word “peacefully” sounded nice, but really this speech signals the beginning of aggressive competition for clients – especially in the Middle East

The New Berlin Crisis – 1959-60 • In 1959 Khrushchev proposed to the USA to make Berlin a free city • he suggested both Soviet and American troops withdraw • Americans suspected this was a ruse to initiate a Soviet takeover of the entire city • They were probably right

Summit Conference 1960 • talks broke down when Khrushchev walked out • he was mad that the USA would not apologize for the U2 incident • the Americans had been flying their U2 spy-planes over the USSR • pilot Gary Powers was hit by a ground-to-air missile (new technology), his plane crashed and he was captured by the Soviets

The Berlin Wall • in 1961 Khrushchev again pressured the Americans to abandon Berlin • The Soviets were embarrassed about the large number of East Germans leaving to West Germany through Berlin and its corridors to West Germany • Most of these were skilled workers – the brain drain • Kennedy increased American strength in Berlin • Khrushchev answered back by building the Berlin Wall to prevent this movement • It began, simply, as a fence • But became a concrete structure with armed “shoot to kill” guards • the wall became the central symbol of the Cold War

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