Nikita Khrushchev succeeded to the leadership
of the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953, and retained it until he lost control to Brezhnev and Kosygin in 1964. There are a number of aspects of his career that deserve special treatment as a result of their bearing on the specifically Communist aspects of the Soviet Union, and which should eventually be expanded on here.
|The author of this stub plans to expand on it in the future, but in the mean time the following outline may help to provide a reasonable starting point for anyone else who wishes to work on it. If it seems undesirable to have such a "raw" outline in mainspace this whole page could be moved to Talk:Nikita Khrushchev.|
- Reforms -- Khrushchev relaxed or reformed many of the policies of the Stalin era.
- An interesting aspect of his reforms which should be discussed here is the impact they had on the collective farms and the centrally planned economy of the Soviet Union, and changes to the economic system which resulted.
- A particular issue which deserves treatment is personal security. During the early (collectivizing) period of Stalin's rule, there was little or no personal economic security; indeed, there was famine. A basic tenet of Communism -- "to each according to his need" -- was clearly not met during that era. This aspect of the USSR during Khrushchev's tenure should be considered.
- Khrushchev also introduced the 8-hour work day and minimum wages. This was a basic tenet of the Bolshevik program in 1903, but was not executed under Stalin.
- The arms race -- With the arrival of nuclear weapons on the scene, the relationship between the primary adversaries of the post-World-War-II era was placed in a very different footing from what had gone before. Though one may credit the fear of the a mutually disastrous war with keeping the United States and the Soviet Union from going to war with each other, the perceived need to develop ever more effective nuclear weapons and delivery systems none the less drove both sides to spend steadily increasing amounts on weapon systems development. Some specific aspects of the arms race during Khrushchev's rule should be considered.
- How was it financed? Russia was not a wealthy nation. How did Khrushchev find the funds to drive a massive military buildup?
- How "real" was it? The Soviet government under Stalin was known for publishing fake data; did this continue under Khrushchev and extend to the representation of their military power?
- How much of the Soviet arms buildup was powered by espionage? How effectively did the Soviet Union penetrate the West's military establishment, and how much of that was driven from the top, by Khrushchev? It's considered a truism in some circles that the USSR couldn't have developed advanced nuclear weapon technology so rapidly without large amounts of information "stolen" from the West; is that really true?
- The Space Race -- It was in the fourth year of Khrushchev's tenure that the Soviet Union pulled off a massive space science coup, in the form of Sputnik. They went from a position trailing the West to a leadership position, and they did it in about a year, with a crash project to put a satellite in orbit. This was presumably driven from the top; how much of it was entirely Khrushchev's idea and project?
- Cuba -- It was during Khrushchev's tenure that Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba. How much support was given by Khrushchev beforehand, versus simply taking advantage of the situation after Castro was already in place?
- Kennedy -- During the later part of Khrushchev's tenure, his primary antagonist in the West was presumably John F. Kennedy. Khrushchev's relationship with Kennedy was clearly antagonistic, with the "worst week" probably being the Cuban "missile crisis". How did that happen, and how much of it was due to Khrushchev underestimating Kennedy's determination? Kennedy was a "new" President at the time, which may also have meant he was something of a question mark to other leaders.
- Eventual loss of power -- What led to Khrushchev's downfall? Was it just an opportunistic power grab, or had his reformist policies made too many enemies in the Kremlin?
Obviously there's a lot of additional material that could be covered, such as Khrushchev's support of Stalin prior to 1953. However, there's a great deal of material about Khrushchev already available, and the aspects which are most interesting to cover in this article would be the ones bearing directly on Khrushchev's management of the economy and to what extent he adhered to Communist economic principles.