The Thaw/ Peaceful Coexistance


The thaw/peaceful coexistence

What was the reason for NK's Peaceful Coexistence?

  • The consolidation of positions: Iron curtain had now been solidly defined. Both spheres of influence had been marked and dominated. Both superpowers had defence to protect them from the others ideology, NATO and the Warsaw pact. The USA and USSR were forced to accept the division of Europe and so there secured positions lead to the superpowers being more willing to negotiate.

  • The military and economic context: Both sides were in possession of the hydrogen bomb. The US tested a lithium bomb in the American waters in 1954. The stakes for mankind were becoming increasingly high. Both sides took action to ensure they did not fall behind the other in the arms race. It involved vast amounts of money. The money needed to stay ahead in the arms race was having a serious impact on the Russian economy. NK wanted to divert funds to social reform.

  • NK got into power by taking high risks and thats exactly how he wanted to be in approach to the USA.

  • Beria: He wanted to reunify Germany and this caused great concern for the East German government. This caused strikes as people wanted more reform but no one was willing to give up communism to capitalism. This distanced himself away from the party giving NK a chance.

  • Malenkovs new course: He wanted to direct resources towards consumer goods and therefore raise living standards of the USSR. He believed the collapse of capitalism was inevitable so there was no need for war. They need to defend not attack. NK critisiced this but adopted it when he got into power.

De-stalinisation: The attempt of NK to move away from the foreign policies of Stalin. Stalin had made created economic and military pressures that were too expensive and dangerous to continue. And so...Peaceful Coexistence!

Secret speech: It started destalinisation by criticising Stalin for a Cult of Personality. He had abused and perverted communism. He also critisised Stalins use of terror and economic policies of collectivisation and forced heavy industry. NK encouraged liberation in Europe but Hungary shows this had limits. He was going to protect the Socialist bloc.


  • in 1955, Autria, which had been divided into sections was reunited. Russia with drew they're army and recognised Austria as a neutral state. NK hoped this concession would show how serious NK was to negotiating with the US.


  • NK was ready to give up Porkkala in Finland. He saw no need for a communist port in a non-communist country and it had no strategic influence. Finland became more liberated and neutral but the USSR still exercised some power there in 62 when it forced withdrawal of a candidate for the President of Finland.

Eisenhowers New Look

  • It was a hardline approach. It believed the communists were expanding power. He wanted to use the military to contain communism. He had no time to limit strikes. He thought massive retaliation (threat of nukes) would deter a soviet offensive.


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