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Khrushchev Domestic and Foreign Policies
For those taking the IB
12th Grade

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Khrushchev Domestic Policies
Power Struggle, Agriculture, Space, Race, Industry, De-Stalinisation
Khrushchev Foreign Policies
Warsaw Pact, Suppression of the Hungarian Uprising, Poland, Berlin Wall Crisis, U2 airplane conflict, Peaceful Coexistence, Cuban missile crisis
Aims of Khrushchev in Domestic Policy
1) Raise living standards for Soviet citizens

i) Raise grain production ii) Switch focus from heavy industry to consumer industry

2) Decentralize government power and economy. Khrushchev sought to limit government control by making the state “wither away”.
Aims of Khrushchev in Foreign Policy
1) Peaceful coexistence with the west
2) Prevent nuclear war
Khrushchev's Domestic Policy-Power Struggle
After the death of Stalin, the possible successors were Khrushchev, Beria and Malenkov
1953- Soldiers surrounded apartment of Beria (head of MVD which replaced the NKVD)- He was tried and shot. Generals disliked him because of the part he played in the Purges during 1930s
Malenkov (the Premier) initiated the ‘thaw’ in the Cold War (to improve the quality of life and relax the atmosphere of terror). Khrushchev travelled widely inside the USSR to gain support and (as First Secretary of the Communist Party) was able to place his own nominees in positions of power.
Malenkov resigned in 1955, publicly taking blame for shortfall in grain production.
Khrushchev emerged as the most powerful leader because he had support from
a- The army (He had been a general in the army, this gave him a lot of practical power)
b- The Ukrainian communist party (He was originally from Ukraine)
c- A majority of the Politburo (used his power as first secretary to appoint officials)
Khrushchev's Domestic Policy-Agriculture
1954- Virgin Lands Scheme (Failure):
• Unused areas of Soviet Union were used for crop production. 250,000 volunteers went out to work and 120,000 tractors were provided. 6 million extra acres were ploughed in the first year.
• Grain production rose between 1953 and 1962, but fell in 1963. Shortage of fertilizers and crops planted in unsuitable soil (e.g. maize replaced cotton in Kazakhstan). Inadequate storage facilities
• 1963 Large quantities of grain imported from North America and Australia in order to avoid famine.
• By 1956 the production had tripled compared to 1953, but then, the schemes began to fail because:
a. Khrushchev discouraged the use of crop cycle and fallow land for quick results, and had failed to provide the farms with fertilizers. The fertility of the land gradually disappeared and in the 1960 half of the farm land was ruined
b. Many volunteers lost their enthusiasm and went home
c. The climate in Kazakhstan and Siberia is not made for farming.
Khrushchev's Domestic Policy-Space Race
• Part of the new policy of peaceful coexistence by which the Soviets were to surpass the US by economy and technology
• 1957- Sputnik, first man made satellite in space
• 1961- Yuri Gagarin, first man in space
Khrushchev's Domestic Policy-Industry
1955- Khrushchev introduced the Sixth Five Year Plan. This one was replaced by the Seven Year Plan in 1959. There was an attempt to de-centralize and more emphasis was placed on consumer goods.
Main Failures of the Seven Year Plan were: total available housing, grain and meat.
Khrushchev's Domestic Policy-De-Stalinisation
De-Stalinisation was necessary for Khrushchev to introduce his reforms
• Khrushchev´s ‘Secret Speech’ at a close session of the Congress
• Charged made:
1. Stalin was responsible for the murder of innocent party members and government officials (the Purges)
2. Khrushchev attacked Stalin’s reputation as a war leader. Stalin ignored warnings about Operation Barbarosa (1941) and mishandled the Soviet troops in the first year.
3. Khrushchev criticized Stalin’s self-glorification (Cult of Personality)
• Effects of De-Stalinisation:
1. Large numbers of political prisoners released and some relaxation of censorship
2. Not a genuine liberalisation of Soviet Society: Still a totalitarian state (e.g. Dr. Zhivago banned in Soviet Union and Pasternak forced to decline Nobel Prize for Literature on 1958)
Khrushchev's Foreign Policy-Warsaw Pact
May 1955- Warsaw Pact was formed. Members were:
● USSR ● East Germany ● Rumania ● Czechoslovakia ● Bulgaria ● Hungary ● Poland ● Albania
All forced were put on the control of a Soviet General. Soviet troops had the legal right to be stationed in the member states.
While this united the Eastern countries with the USSR, it brought division and tension between these and NATO, which represented those countries under American influence.
Khrushchev's Foreign Policy-Suppression of the Hungarian Uprising
• In 1945, USSR installed puppet government in Hungary.
• Designed to remove opposition and enforce loyalty.
• Soviet propaganda everywhere and protest groups emerged wanting democracy
• In July 1956 Communist dictatorship, Rakosi, resigned due to popular opposition.
• October 1956- Opposition groups unite and support ex-Prime Minister Imre Nagy, who was appointed as Premier.
Red Army
• 4th November 1956- Soviet troops re-entered Hungary. 6,000 tanks were sent to Hungary
• Approximately 30,000 Hungarians(including Imre Nagy) and 7,000 Soviet troops were killed.
• Communist leader restored.
• Demonstrated Soviet repressive policy towards Eastern countries who wanted to switch policies and ideologies.
Khrushchev's Foreign Policy-Berlin Wall Crisis
After the death of Stalin, there wasn’t a chosen successor. In East Germany, Ulbricht was brought to power. He had no toleration, was a tyrant. East Germans emigrated to West Germany.
Nov 1958- Khrushchev threatened to hand out full control of its affairs to the German Democratic Republic. Then DDR would have the right to claim the whole of Berlin. Western Powers protested, and Khrushchev removed his claim.
• March 1959- Khrushchev visits Camp David Summit to meet Eisenhower
• June 1961-Vienna Summit. Khrushchev met John Kennedy. Decided that the young president was weak.
Aug 1961- 200,000 refugees had crossed from East Berlin in 1960. 1000 per day crossed the border from the GDR in the summer of 1961. Ulbricht, the First Secretary of the Communist Party in the DDr built the Berlin Wall.
Total number of refugees from 1949 to 1961 was 2,515,000.
• In some ways it was a propaganda failure for Khrushchev as it demonstrated a negative Soviet policy (had to build a wall to imprison people).
• There was very little the West could do to stop it - and the wall did serve its purpose. It made Kennedy determined to not back down in future disagreements.
Khrushchev's Foreign Policy- U2 Airplane incident
• On May 1st 1960, the USSR successfully shot down a U2 spy plane.
• The pilot, Gary Powers, was captured.
• According to the USSR, he admitted being on a spying mission.
• The US government was severely embarrassed.
• Khruschev demanded an apology, that all spying flights stopped and punishment.
• Eisenhower agreed to stop flights, but refused to apologise.
• Huge propaganda victory for the USSR - American lies that the whole world could see.
• Sign of how one incident could easily develop to a serious conflict.
• Gary Powers was sentenced to 10 years, but was exchanged for a Soviet agent in 1962.
Khrushchev's Foreign Policy- Peaceful Coexistence
1956- Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party in the USSR. Khrushchev announces his policy of peaceful coexistence:
• Rejected the Marxist idea that capitalism was doomed. He said the main struggle would be economic, not military. Said due to the fact that both the US and the USSR had H-bombs, and the destructive power of these bombs.
• He believed the Soviet Union would overtake the USA economically in 20 years, technologically and scientifically
Khrushchev's Foreign Policy-Cuban Missile Crisis
Jan 1959- Castro takes control of Cuba after Batista flees the country
Relationships with the USA worsened after the nationalisation from enterprises and the Agrarian Reform Law in 1955, in which plantations owned by American companies were nationalised.
By 1960 Castro had accused the USA of aggression towards Cuba and established diplomatic relations with the USSR.
April 1961-the Bay of Pigs Invasion. 1,400 cuban exiles trained, financed, and equipped by the CIA. Complete failure
Oct 1962- Medium range missiles photographed by an US U2 Plane
Oct 28th- Khrushchev confirmed the plan of the missiles being withdrawn If America promised not to invade Cuba.
Dismissal of Khrushchev
Politburo declared that De-Stalinisation had gone too far and attempted to remove Khrushchev in 1957 while on foreign visit. However this vote was overruled by the Central Committee
October 1964- Khrushchev was on holiday at the Black Sea
Politburo met in Moscow and decided on his removal: announced that he had retired due to age and poor health. He was replaced by Brezhnev and Kosygin.
Real Reasons:
• Failure of the Virgin Lands Scheme
• Bureaucracy reacted to de-centralisation
• Developed cult of personality
• Proposed conventional military cutbacks (reducing armed forces by 1/3) and so lost army support
• Failure to deliver peace treaty (Germany)
• Conflict with Mao Zedong and China (1960)
• Loss of prestige during Cuban Missile Crisis
Khrushchev's Foreign Policy-Cuban Missile Crisis- Consequences
• 1963-In secret agreement, Jupiter missiles from Turkey would also be dismantled in the future.
• June 1963- Hot Line established between White House and Moscow to avoid the lack of communication present during the crisis, to avoid misunderstanding
• UK, USA, USSR signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited to test nuclear bombs in the atmosphere.
• 1968- Britain, the USA and the USSR signed the Non-proliferation Treaty, in which countries pledged not to transfer nuclear weapons to other countries.
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