On this day in History: 18th April 1956

On an official state visit to the United Kingdom, former Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev famously commented that: “You don’t like Communism. We do not like capitalism. There is only one way to proceed: peaceful coexistence”. With these words he showed the world that there is always possibility of peace between countries, regardless of their political and economic systems.

He noted that “the nation that makes the greater advances will triumph”, a sentiment which rang true with both parties and suggested that despite differing approaches, East and West were united in the purpose of world development.

His words marked a distinct change in relations between “the west” (Запад) and the Soviet Union (Советский Союз) and paved the way for the Thaw (Хрущёвская оттепель). This thaw involved a reduction in censorship and the denunciation of Stalinism (Сталинизм) at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party.

Khrushchev’s major successes included denouncing Stalin whilst maintaining the stability of the Communist Party and creating a more workable model of foreign policy conducive to greater cooperation with the western, capitalist world.

For more information see:

William Taubman (2004): Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, The Free Press

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