July 24, 1959: The Kitchen Debate

Sunday, July 24, AD 2016



Hard to believe that it is 57 years since the Kitchen Debate between Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschchev.  The US scored one of the biggest propaganda coups of the Cold War by building a typical American house, cut in half for easy viewing, at the American National Exhibit at Sokolniki Park in Moscow in 1959.  This was part of an agreement where the Soviets staged an exhibit in New York the same year.  Ordinary Soviets flocked to see it and were awed at the technology in the house featuring the latest labor saving and recreational devices in 1959.  They were floored at the contention of the Americans that this was a typical house that an average American could afford.  The impromptu debate between Khruschchev redounded greatly to the benefit of Nixon who came across to American audiences as an able champion of their cause.  Khruschchev was also impressed by Nixon, so much so that he later claimed that he did everything in his power to defeat Nixon when Nixon ran for President in 1960.

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2 Responses to July 24, 1959: The Kitchen Debate

  • Great performance by Nixon though I wish the video had a dubbed translation of Khrushchev’s remarks.
    In Khrushchev’s memoirs (fascinating reading) he gives the kitchen debate short shrift. I’m sure it would have gotten a much fuller treatment if he thought he had won.

  • Another matter to consider always with regard to Khrushchev (cf. “Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar”) is that he came up the ranks from his extremely poor upbringing in southern Russian farm near the Ukrainian border, later working during WW1 as a metal worker, then eventually becoming a party boss in Moscow in the 1930’s. What aided his ascension up the ranks was his facility as a skilled murderer and efficient hit-man for the Communist party leaders. Though very short in height, he was beastly strong and was known to throttle strong men with his bare hands or squeeze unfortunates to death in a fatal bear hug. The deceased were said to have “died of natural causes”, always a plus.

    Later when Stalin was conducting his purges against NKVD people like Yagoda and others for “crimes against the people”, Montefiore records how Khrushchev nervously admitted to another party boss (I think it was Molotov), “Look at us: we all have blood on our hands, who will be next?”

    Give credit to Nixon that he could see through Khrushchev from the start, and knew exactly what a devil he was dealing with.

Cuban Missile Crisis Speech

Monday, October 22, AD 2012

The world came very close to nuclear war half a century back.  The above video is of the speech that President Kennedy gave fifty years ago on October 22, 1962.  Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in placing nuclear missiles in Cuba brought the world to the brink.  The crisis was ultimately resolved by the removal of the Soviet missiles in exchange for two agreements between the US and the Soviet Union:  1.  No invasion of Cuba by the US;  and 2.  The removal of obsolete American Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey and Southern Italy.  Unsurprisingly the US kept secret the removal of the Jupiter missiles.  Surprisingly the Soviets also kept mum about the removal of the Jupiter missiles which led to the perception abroad and within the Soviet Union that Khrushchev had lost his confrontation with Kennedy, and paved the way for the Central Committee coup led by Leonid Brezhnev which toppled  Khrushchev from power in October 1964.   Here is the text of the speech:

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2 Responses to Cuban Missile Crisis Speech

  • Even though Khrushchev was a butcher in the Ukraine, he redeemed himself in the end, but not our friend Fidel – Cuban patriot – who right till the end was egging the Soviets on to fight a nuclear war in Cuba.

  • I will never forget that day. I remeber my mother coming to me in Miami all excited about what kennedy had said.
    My commnets were the following:

    Nothing happened all we know is that some cylinder like things covered bu canvas were removed because no inspection was made. POLITICAL MOVE ONLY