Successes and Failures of Khrushchev

Domestic and foreign successes and failures of Khrushchev

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Domestic Successes

Technology and Space

Economic

Political

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Technology and Space

  • By 1965: USSR had over 4 700 scientific establishments and employed more scientists than any other country
  • Oct 1957: First artificial satellite, Sputnik, launched
  • Exploratory missions to the moon, Venus and Mars
  • April 1961: First man in space
  • 1965: First space walk
  • Used as Cold War propaganda, ahead of the USA
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Economic

  • 1959: Sixth Five-Year Plan replaced by Seventh Five-Year Plan - focus on chemicals, fertilizers, man-made fibres, plastics, oil, gas, consumer goods
  • 105 sovnarkhozy set up - independent bodies to regulate industry
  • Decentralization of industry
  • 1962: national sovnarkhozy set up, local party had more power
  • More focus on consumer goods, e.g. in 1955 ownership of washing machines was 1 in 1000, compared to 77 in 1000 in 1966
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Political

  • 'Reform Communism' introduced: more freedom, relaxation of censorship on culture, some travel abroad, some Western tourism
  • Thousands of political prisoners released
  • Decentralization of the state, more power for local party administrators
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Domestic Failures

Agriculture

Economy

Political

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Agriculture

  • 1954: Virgin Lands Scheme introduced, aimed to solve food shortages by cultivation previously unfarmed land
  • Unrealistic aims, production could not rival USA, land liable to drought, wind erosion, shortages of fertilizers and housing
  • Badly planned, "haste took precedence over contemplation" (McCauley)
  • 1960's: grain production not meeting targets
  • 1963: poor harvest, had to import grain
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Economic

  • Ideas seen as too simplistic, didn't understand complexity of situation
  • Aimed to increase gross production by 70% from 1958-65, but real increase was only 15%
  • Initial success, but gradual decreases in growth (dropped from 10.6-7.3% from beginning of rule to last 3 years
  • USSR still lagged behind the West and USA
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Political

  • De-Stalinization policy led to riots in some gulags, increase in violenc
  • Discontent within party over decentralization, ultimately led to coup
  • Censorship; 1958 Pasternak (a Jewish poet) refused permission to travel abroad to collect the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Anti-religious campaign increased tension: number of churches fell from 20 000 to less than 8 000, Russian Jews unable to settle in Israel
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Foreign Policy Successes

Warsaw Pact

Peaceful Co-existance and the Thaw of the Cold War

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Warsaw Pact

  • Created in May 1955
  • Consisted of USSR, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, GDR, Poland and Romania - mutual assistance/defence
  • Countered formation of NATO
  • Headquarters in Moscow, USSR led military command, joint military manoevres planned annually
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Peaceful Co-existence and the Thaw

  • 1955: Geneva Summit and Austrian State Treaty
  • February 1956: Peaceful co-existence announced
  • 1959: Visited Eisenhower in the USA, planned for Paris SUmmit
  • 1963: Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed - first arms limitation agreement in the Cold War
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Foreign Policy Failures

Cuban Missile Crisis

Relations with China

East Germany

Hungarian Uprising

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Cuban Missile Crisis

  • 1962: Soviets began building missile bases for intermediate-range rockets
  • Both USSR and USA 'eyeball to eyeball', close to nuclear war
  • Agreement with USA - remove missiles if USA didn't invade and removed missiles from Turkey
  • Khrushchev criticized for backing down, seen as weak internally
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Relations with China

  • From 1959 the relationship deteriorated, the Sino-Soviet Split
  • Ideological differences between Mao and Khrushchev: Mao disliked his de-Stalinization policy and saw him as a revisionist for not pursuing a world revolution, disliked handling of Cuban Missile Crisis
  • 1957:  USSR refused to support Chinese nuclear programme unless Soviets took control of Beijing’s defence policy, Mao declined
  • 1958: USSR did not support China over Taiwan dispute
  • 1962: USSR declared itself neutral when war broke out between China and India
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East Germany

  • 1953: East German uprising, strikes and demonstrations in East Berlin, secret police lost control
  • 1958: Ultimatum to West to remove troops and to recognize East Germany within 6 months – caused international crisis
  •  Refugees seeking asylum in West rose from 199,000 in 1960 to 207,000 in first six months of 1961 alone
  • 13th August 1961: Berlin Wall built, propaganda failure as people had to be forcefully kept in East Berlin, hadn’t attained goal of signing separate peace treaties with the two Germanys, inconsistent approach
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Hungarian Uprising

  •  Rakosi (Stalinist dictator) replaced by Imre Nagy in 1953 – promised to improve living conditions, in power for two years before being forced to give way to Rakosi
  • 1956: students led protests in Budapest against regime
  •  Move to withdraw Hungary from Warsaw Pact – Russian tanks ordered to crush revolt
  • Over 20,000 Hungarians killed, 200,000 sought asylum in West
  • Damaged reputation of Khrushchev: increased discontent in Communist states, Soviet embassies besieged around the world, 1000’s of Communists resigned in protest
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