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Khrushchev genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence essay

Konechni Why did peaceful coexistence fail to end the Cold War in the years 1953-1961? Peaceful coexistence failed to bring an end to the Cold War in the years 1953 and 1961 because the domestic situation in both the USA and the USSR was unfavourable to such a resolution. After the death of Stalin in 1953 and the end of the Korean War in the same year one might have believed that the world was set on the path to a more peaceful future in the short term. In the USA, Eisenhower and the Republican Party was threatened with economic recessions and an increasingly difficult race problem, issues that would also plague the Kennedy presidency.

In the USSR, the Quintet and later Khrushchev exclusively struggled to deal with the inheritance of Stalin and to build a system of greater economic and political sustainability. Both superpowers allowed themselves to be dragged into what were essentially local conflicts across the world in order to conflict with one another by proxy. Thus although the lesser states did begin to shape the events of the Cold War and provoke its development in a very particular way they were not the central reason why peaceful coexistence failed.

If the superpowers had not been seeking to conflict then they would never have fallen into these ostensibly local conflicts. While this may have made peaceful coexistence more difficult it did not make it impossible. Of course long term mistrust did play a role in undermining the success of peaceful coexistence but it was not the decisive factor.

Similarly, while the personalities of Khrushchev, Eisenhower and Kennedy did not necessary lend themselves to allowing a strong relationship to build up between the two leaderships, as occurred post 1985 between Reagan and Gorbachev, that in itself was not the central reason why the Cold War did not end.

Ultimately the search for conflict prevented those relationships from being built up even if the leaders had being amicable. There was never the opportunity for the kind of friendship which Gorbachev and Reagan built khrushchev genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence essay the 1985 Geneva Conference because the search for confrontation rather than reconciliation was the order of the day so that the leaders could avoid confronting their domestic difficulties.

The link between domestic problems and foreign aggression is perhaps most clearly seen in the USSR. As Zubok identified, the post-Stalin period was full of a bitter rivalry amongst the different members of the Quintet to emerge. One member of the Quintet, Lavrentiy Beria, was even executed in 1953 on false charges of being a British spy.

It was in this context of political turmoil that an aggressive foreign policy thrived. The war was trapped in deadlock from July 1951 until the end khrushchev genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence essay its end was not necessarily reflecting an new domestic politics more open to negotiation but instead a more pragmatic leadership prepared to adopt successful foreign policy tactics.

The Soviet leadership could not afford to be weak in foreign affairs because this vicious domestic situation pervaded. One can see throughout this period of Quintet rule there was a newly invigorated impetus to drive through the consolidation of the Eastern Bloc and stay tough on the international stage. In stark contrast to Stalin who had made no real response to the establishment of NATO in 1949, the Quintet set about establishing the Warsaw Pact which came into existence in 1955.

Even after 1956 with the emergence of Khrushchev as the sole leader the domestic political situation did not allow for foreign policy respite.

  • However this argument falls down in two main places;
  • Ultimately the search for conflict prevented those relationships from being built up even if the leaders had being amicable;
  • Eisenhower would even go onto enact his Eisenhower Doctrine by sending the US army into Lebanon in 1958, which as already discussed came at a time of great economic difficulty for Eisenhower.

Khrushchev was no Stalin and there was no guarantee that he could hold onto power if he could not hold the nation and the party apparatus together. Indeed Khrushchev was eventually forced from power in 1964 thus demonstrating his own weak position.

Khrushchev Genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence Essay

Khrushchev attempted across the course of his time in power to set up agricultural cities by pooling together different villages in the same region, this again proved to be a disastrous policy dramatically reducing worker productivity.

One can observe a correlation between this worsening domestic situation under Khrushchev and a more aggressive foreign policy which served to undermine any hope for peaceful coexistence. In 1961 he agreed to allow the Berlin Wall to be built.

The central reason that peaceful coexistence failed to end the Cold War was that leaders like Khrushchev used foreign policy as a means to distract from the domestic problems that remained unresolved.

But by no means was this tactic of distracting from domestic problems with an aggressive foreign policy something exclusively used by the USSR. Indeed in the USA under Eisenhower similar tactics were used to distract from the economic problems and the increasingly poisonous race problems in the USA. One can see that at times of economic crisis Eisenhower used foreign policy to distract from the domestic problems.

  • Angola had no great hold as an area over the two superpowers and yet they continued to conflict for influence over Angola;
  • It is of course true that lesser states, particularly those of strategic importance like the FRG and the GDR, did also play a role in pulling the superpowers to conflicting.

In the economic recession of 1957-1958, which saw unemployment rise by over 2 million, Eisenhower sent US troops to fight a war for the first time since Korea. Intervening in Lebanon, Eisenhower sought to defend the government of Camille Chamoun and prevent a local socialist party take over led by Rashid Karami.

The fact that these key khrushchev genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence essay in the Cold War took place during times of economic difficulty for the USA was no coincidence. Eisenhower, just like Khrushchev, used foreign policy to distract from domestic problems. While this may have secured his position in the domestic US politics he did it at the expense of potentially ending the Cold War.

Both Eisenhower and Kennedy also attempted to distract from the race question with foreign policy. Both leaders were faced with a wave of popular protest by African Americans, the most dramatic including the Freedom Rides of 1961. Again just as with Khrushchev and the Soviet leadership, one can see that the US used foreign policy to distract from their own long term domestic problems.

Throughout this period the one piece of Civil Rights legislation, the 1957 Civil Rights Act, contained no provision for the enforcement of equal rights. In short the reason that the Cold War did not end during this period is because leaders like Eisenhower and Kennedy needed a foreign enemy to distract from their domestic problems.

During this period Civil Rights was always at the bottom of the agenda while foreign affairs, in one guise or another, took the priority in order to distract. One area in which this can be seen again and again was in Germany where both superpowers were pulled in by their respective allies in order to conflict with one another. One might argue that the USA was forced to follow the aggressive lead of the Adenauer, particularly after the announcement of the Hallstein Doctrine in 1955.

They could only carry on with the policy of non-communication with the GDR thus undermining any chance of real reconciliation during this period. The importance of the German Question, particularly the question of Berlin, can be seen time and time again.

  1. The central reason that peaceful coexistence failed to end the Cold War was that leaders like Khrushchev used foreign policy as a means to distract from the domestic problems that remained unresolved. Even after 1956 with the emergence of Khrushchev as the sole leader the domestic political situation did not allow for foreign policy respite.
  2. Khrushchev attempted across the course of his time in power to set up agricultural cities by pooling together different villages in the same region, this again proved to be a disastrous policy dramatically reducing worker productivity.
  3. Ultimately the post-Stalin Soviet political scene was still too divided to allow the kind of concession which would need to have been made in order to facilitate a successful and permanent end to the Cold War. This portrays the lack of commitment to true peaceful coexistence as it meant that Khrushchev created an adversary to NATO, whilst also being militarily aggressive in order to dominate in central and eastern Europe and this can be seen with the quelling of the Hungarian Uprising in 1956 as soviet soldiers lead to the death of 2500 Hungarians and an overthrow of the government.
  4. We do not like capitalism. This was followed by a terrified silence - only broken at last by Khrushchev himself.
  5. Ronald Reagan was a far more ideological driven leader than Eisenhower. He was hated all over eastern Europe.

One of the first things Kennedy did in 1961 when he came to office was to increase troop numbers in Wester Berlin by 200,000. Equally on the Soviet side one might argue that they were pulled in by the GDR leadership under Ulbricht. The building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 can be seen as the perfect example of how the Soviets were pulled into drastically aggressive action by the leader of a lesser state, in this case Ulbricht who had been campaigning for such a wall as early as 1952.

Historians like Trachtenberg would argue that the inability to resolve the German question in part because of the leaderships of the two Germanies would prove even in the long term to be one of the central reasons why the Cold War carried on.

However this argument falls down in two main places. Indeed Gorbachev would in 1989 oust the hard-line leader Erich Honecker in favour of the more moderate Egon Krenz thus taking a major step forward in resolving the German question. Secondly had there not been the push of the domestic problems for both sides it seems hard to believe that they would have continued to support their respective German allies to the extent which they did.

But the truth of the matter was that for both sides fraught issues of forging policy like the German Question provided relief from the struggles of domestic policy. Similarly one can see khrushchev genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence essay in the Third World both the USA and the USSR gave into khrushchev genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence essay pull of lesser states because it gave them an opportunity to conflict with one another and distract from the domestic problems.

Eisenhower would even go onto enact his Eisenhower Doctrine by sending the US army into Khrushchev genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence essay in 1958, which as already discussed came at a time of great economic difficulty for Eisenhower. The Middle East was of course of important strategic interest to both sides and of course to an extent they were pulled into the more regional disputes by the national leaders. There was no need after 1956 to go on disputing about Middle East accept that it was useful both leaderships because it helped them to distract from their own ongoing domestic problems.

Similarly in countries of almost no strategic interest like Angola the two sides backed different sides. Angola had no great hold as an area over the two superpowers and yet they continued to conflict for influence over Angola.

They were instead interested in using these local conflicts as a means by which they could safely distract from their own domestic problems. On both sides one might argue there was a deeply ideological drive which set them against one another and which drove the creation of a Cold War once both powers were in a position after 1945 to conflict against one another.

Indeed one may argue that one of the major differences between the Khrushchev era and the Gorbachev era was the difference in ideology with a much more pragmatic approach to policy coming out of Gorbachev and his apparatchiks. Indeed one can see deeply ideologically driven rhetoric on both sides. First of all in the 1980s, when the Cold War did begin on the road to a permanent end, the ideological rhetoric, at least on the American side, was far greater and more serious than it had ever been in the 1950s.

Ronald Reagan was a far more ideological driven leader than Eisenhower. Secondly, the USSR and the USA had proven that they were perfectly capable of working together during the Second World War and that much of their ideological rhetoric could be put aside for the sake of mutual convenience. Ultimately what this showed was that the two sides used ideology as an excuse to do whatever was convenient at that time.

From 1953-1961 the domestic situation meant that it was convenient for the two sides to conflict in order to distract from the internal problems. Indeed if one looks at the process by which the Cold War ended under Reagan and Gorbachev one could argue that it was their personal relationship which enabled the Cold War to come to a full conclusion. For Khrushchev and Eisenhower, or indeed for Kennedy and Khrushchev, there never was a moment like that at the Geneva Conference in 1985 with the long walk between Gorbachev and Reagan.

Indeed there are a number of a reasons why that personal relationship failed to develop, but when one looks into those reasons it becomes evident that they were largely to do with domestic problems.

The Quintet which emerged after the death of Stalin did eventually pass over to the exclusive leadership of Khrushchev but by that stage three years had already been loosed. But when one considers why there was no clear leadership it becomes evident that it was largely to do with the divisions within domestic Soviet politics post the death of Stalin. But the talks which had been planned in 1960 in Paris between the leaders collapsed because Khrushchev, acting under domestic pressure, shot down a U2 Spy Plane.

The domestic conditions did not allow for such a relationship to develop, thus one must understand that it was the domestic situation in both the USA and the USSR which did not allow for such a relationship to develop. Ultimately the post-Stalin Soviet political scene was still too divided to allow the kind of concession which would need to have been made in order to facilitate a successful and permanent end to the Cold War.

Equally the growing problems in the USA, particularly as regards the race question, meant that the US leadership were similarly looking for a distraction from their domestic problems.

  • But the truth of the matter was that for both sides fraught issues of forging policy like the German Question provided relief from the struggles of domestic policy;
  • Both leaders were faced with a wave of popular protest by African Americans, the most dramatic including the Freedom Rides of 1961;
  • When they heard he was dead, people in East Berlin rioted;
  • The main thing is to argue without using weapons;
  • Khrushchev attempted across the course of his time in power to set up agricultural cities by pooling together different villages in the same region, this again proved to be a disastrous policy dramatically reducing worker productivity;
  • There is only one way out — peaceful co-existence.

It is of course true that lesser states, particularly those of strategic importance like the FRG and the GDR, did also play a role in pulling the superpowers to conflicting. But ultimately the super powers gave into that pull because it suited their political need at that time.

After all, there was no need for the superpowers to involve themselves in the conflict in places like Angola. They did so because it gave them an opportunity to distract from their domestic problems. But ultimately those differences would always be an issue and would in fact come to be far more emphasised in the 1980s particularly under Ronald Reagan. Ideological differences made the situation difficult, but those difficulties were not insurmountable.

Similarly the personalities of the two leaders did play a role and the failure to build up a good relationship did make it difficult to end the Cold War between 1953 and 1961.