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Death by stroke/ brain haemorrhage on March 5 th 1953 Stalin was a hero to millions of people in the USSR. He had defeated Hitler and given the USSR an.

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Presentation on theme: "Death by stroke/ brain haemorrhage on March 5 th 1953 Stalin was a hero to millions of people in the USSR. He had defeated Hitler and given the USSR an."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Death by stroke/ brain haemorrhage on March 5 th 1953 Stalin was a hero to millions of people in the USSR. He had defeated Hitler and given the USSR an empire in eastern Europe. He made the USSR a nuclear superpower. When he died in 1953 many minds turned to the question of who would succeed Stalin as Soviet leader. The man who emerged by 1955 was Nikita Khrushchev. END OF AN ERA

3 After 2 years of internal dispute, Nikita Khrushchev emerged as leader in He gave the “Secret Speech” in February 1956 at the Twentieth Party Congress,... It was all about, the cult of personality. RISE OF KHRUSHCHEV

4 Stalin as an absolute champion of Communism Through propaganda the belief in Stalin as “protector” of the USSR from all foreign threats (WWII, capitalism, NATO, …) The necessity of the gulags to protect Stalin from all political threats and to preserve the healthy functioning of the Soviet economy The transformation of Soviet society where all citizens conformed due to their fear of arbitrary arrest and even execution. FOUR KEY ELEMENTS OF STALIN’S CULT OF PERSONALITY

5 Now read the speech (excerpts)... 1.What are the key points in his speech? 2.How do you think Communist countries would react to the speech? 3.What would the Western response be? “ON THE CULT OF THE INDIVIDUAL”

6 Within a couple months much of the content of his “secret speech” had been learned by Western nations. It suggested a thaw in Cold War tensions and Khrushchev attacked Stalin, saying he was a murderer and a tyrant As leader he talked of peaceful co-existence with the West. He made plans to reduce expenditure on arms. He said he wanted to improve living standards of ordinary Soviet citizens and those of Eastern Europe. Khrushchev even relaxed the iron control of the Soviet Union. He closed down the Cominform in ‘56. He released close to a million political prisoners from the gulags. He agreed to pull Soviet troops out of Austria (there since the end of WWII). RISE OF KHRUSHCHEV

7 He seemed to be signalling to the countries of Eastern Europe that they would be allowed much greater independence to control their own affairs.

8 What is the message of this cartoon? Make a list of the features of the cartoon which show Khrushchev as a new type of leader. RISE OF KHRUSHCHEV This Russian cartoon shows Khrushchev destroying the snowman (Cold War) with a jack hammer.

9 Source A “You do not like Communism. We do not like capitalism. There is only one way out – peaceful co-existence.” Khrushchev speaking on a visit to Britain in 1956 Source B “We may argue. The main thing is to argue without using weapons.” Khrushchev speaking in What can we learn from Sources A and B about Khrushchev’s attitudes towards peaceful co-existence? RISE OF KHRUSHCHEV

10 Peaceful Co-existence At first, the western powers hoped that Khrushchev would be the start of a ‘thaw’ in the Cold War. Stalin had made all Communist countries do what he wanted – Khrushchev changed this stating that ‘there are different roads to communism’. Western leaders thought he would no longer insist that all communist countries take orders from Russia. Khrushchev began to ‘de-stalinise’ Russia. In 1961 Khrushchev declared that the period of 'the dictatorship of the proletariat' was at an end, and that he would bring in instead: 'the state of the whole people'.de-stalinise RISE OF KHRUSHCHEV

11 Source C The death of Stalin (1953) was probably the starting point of the 'thaw' because it brought to the forefront leaders in Russia - for example Khrushchev - who wanted to improve relations with the west... Khrushchev explained the new policy in his famous speech (February 1956) in which he criticised Stalin and said that 'peaceful co-existence' was not only possible but essential: 'there were only two ways - either peaceful co-existence or the most destructive war in history. There is no third way'... Norman Lowe, Mastering Modern World History (1982) How is source C useful to a historian studying the importance of Khrushchev in succeeding Stalin as Soviet leader? RISE OF KHRUSHCHEV

12 While denouncing Joseph Stalin in a speech one day, Khrushchev was interrupted by a voice from the audience: "You were one of Stalin's colleagues," the man declared. "Why didn't you stop him?" "Who said that!?" Khrushchev roared. This was followed by a terrified silence - only broken at last by Khrushchev himself. "Now..." he said in a quiet voice, "Now you know why." What can we learn from this source about why people did not oppose Stalin as leader of the USSR RISE OF KHRUSHCHEV

13 One aspect of Stalin's policy did not change, however. His aim in Eastern Europe had always been to create a buffer against attack from the West. Khrushchev continued this policy and in 1955 created the Warsaw Pact. This was a military alliance to counter NATO where the members would defend each other if one was attacked. The Warsaw Pact included all the Communist countries of Eastern Europe (except Yugoslavia), but was dominated by the USSR. RISE OF KHRUSHCHEV

14 Hungarian and Polish Uprisings 1956 Berlin Crisis Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 Prague Spring 1968 (different leader – Brezhnev) COMING UP IN KHRUSHCHEV’S USSR…


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