During the rule of Josef Stalin, the satellites belonging to the Soviet Union (as well as the people of the Soviet Union) were under very strict control; they were not allowed to recieve aid from the nations in Western Europe, the people of these nations were not allowed to travel outside of the Soviet sphere of influence, and Stalin was also responsible for the starvation of ten million Ukrainians during his collectivization period. Needless to say, Stalin was not a very good leader, in terms of looking after his people, so when he died in 1953, it gave the oppourtunity for others to fix what he had done in the past.
Stalin had left no clear successor to be appointed leader of the Soviet Union, so when he diede in 1953, there was a turmoil as party members jostled for the much-coveted posistion. By 1956, a man by the name of Nikita Krushchev had gathered enough support to enable him to (officially) become the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Krushchev had a different view of how communism should work than Stalin did, so he tried to repair the damage that Stalin had done.
Krushchev's Secret Speech
When Krushchev took the title of the Leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February of 1956, he addressed the 1,500 delegates to the Twentieth Party Congress in a secret speech that denoted a new direction to be followed by the Societ Union, in terms of international affairs. In his speech, Krushchev covered three main ideas.
Stalin Was No Good
His first idea was the denunciation of Stalin; but he gave Stalin his credit. He approved of Stalin's policies of collectivization and industrialization, for they provided the economic stability of the Soviet Union as a whole, while also condemming Stalin's poor leadership, which involved terroizing members of the Communist Party and caused military disaster during the Second World War. By doing this, Krushchev was able to appeal to those party members who wanted to forget Stalin, while also not alienating those that were of por-Stalin beleifs. To appease the Stalinists further, he promised protection for them by only identifying a small group of Stalin's "posse", who had already been revealed and punished.
Lenin's Socialist Fork
As Krushchev pointed out in his second idea, he agreed to Lenin's idea that "there are many roads to socialism". Krushchev knew that this was why Tito was able to pull Yugoslavia away from total control by Moscow, whislt still remaining communist. Krushchev would allow more freedom within the Soviet bloc, which he hoped would not only bring Yugoslavia back into the Soviet's satellites, but which would also help create stronger relations with socialist groups in Western Europe.
The Third World - It's Important
Krushchev's third idea was that the Soviet Union needed to recignize the growing importance of the Thirld World; since the war had ended, many new countries were being established, as well as older ones once again gaining their independance. The number of new nations that were being established would greatly change the "international order".
After the Korean War, the United States began imposing itself upon the rest of Asia, and Krushchev stated that the newly developing Third World countries could be saved from capitalist imperialism, and begin industrialization .This philosophy had begun to take shape when the Soviet Union paid for the construction of a massive steel mill in India, who, after denying the joining of SEATO, had become geo-politically very important in the eyes of both the Soviet Union and the West.
The underlying notion behind Krushchev's secret speech was the concept of "peaceful coexistance". Krushchev knew that there were two different social systems, and advocated the victory of socialism through non-violent means; instead of a bloody revolution to overthrow an imperialistic dictator (what his predecessors supported), there could be a peaceful route of setting up communism.
This new foreign policy concerned China. The way that Krushchev was planning on leaping into the Third World was viewed as a weakening of the Sino-Soviet alliance, for the Soviet Union was now unlikely to support the Chinese Communists in their goal for international recignition, or the Chinese plan to overthrow the nationalist government of Taiwan.
Unforunately for Krushchev, his speech grew a tree that bore rotten fruit; his speech gave the expectation that he could fix all of the Soviet Union's problems, which he could not. In attempts to reform agriculture, Krushchev came up with a plan that ended up failing, reultiong in the possibility of another Ukrainian Famine; in an attempt to prevent this, Krushchev spent huge amounts of money on buying grain abroad, which he then tried to incorporate into a chemicalization program, which faled as well.
Krushchev's new policy also gave more freedom to the Soviet Union's satellites, hoping it would both draw Tito back and enforce relations with Western socialist groups. The nations of the Soviet bloc, though, saw this as an oppourtunity to become soveriegn, which led to some particulairly nasty revolts (Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Romainia in particular).
By 1964, Krushchev was politically dead; he had broken the Soviet Union's relations with China, the lagest country in the world (by population); he had also managed to destroy the well-off economy that Stalin had worked so hard to achieve. All this led to the rise of Leonid Brezhnev.
This event increased the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.
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