Khrushchev was levered out of office in October 1964 and succeeded by Alexei Kosygin, as Prime Minister, and Leonid Brezhnez as Party Leader.
Nikita Khrushchev's reminiscences remain among the most frank and liveliest of the Soviet leaders who left us with their reflections about their political careers. This frankness was grounded in Khrushchev's belief that his memoirs "ought to serve the present and the future," for his audience could learn from both his mistakes and his accomplishments (p. 204)...
The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 was one of the most significant events of the twentieth century. Because of the actions of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. President John F. Kennedy, nuclear devastation of the globe was avoided.
Khrushchev differed greatly from Stalin who had dominated Soviet and world politics. DeStalinisation was no soundbite or empty phrase. After Khrushchev it was impossible to deny the Great Terror, and historians such as Robert Conquest and Roy Medvedev would be unthinkable without Khrushchev. Khrushchev’s rule was not rooted in a view of the leader as a great theoretician: there would be no Marxism-Leninism- Stalinism-Khrushchevism! Much more important for Khrushchev was what could be achieved in the ‘real world’. He was constantly intrigued by real world solutions to real world problems; and he toured the world like no Soviet leader before him. He was willing to look at what worked and to try to learn from it. If only specialists could have the right input to the Soviet system it could overcome its distortions to out-produce and defeat capitalism. In this quest Khrushchev was more and more willing and motivated to think outside the Stalinist framework. He did not have to physically annihilate ‘wreckers’; they could be sacked or demoted or, if it came to it, face the popular vote. If he had continued as leader Soviet socialism could have unravelled 30 years before its eventual demise.
The attempt to end the use of terror in public and political life and to rehabilitate the many victims of said terror during the Stalin era was one of the most successful facets of de - Stalinisation. In the power struggle instigated by Stalin‟s death, Lavrent iy Beria was denounced, arrested and ultimately executed on 25 th December 1953 as a result of a conspiracy orchestrated by his rivals (including Khrushchev) who feared that he held too much power (Medvedev & Medvedev 1977: p.10 - 12). This stands in sharp contrasts to the way in which t he Anti - Party Group — led by Molotov, Koganovich , Voroshilov and Shepilov — were treated after staging a failed coup attempt in 1957 (Taubman 2003: p.310 - 14) . They were not subjected to the “grim punishments that would have been their lot in the old days” (Medvedev & Medvedev 1977: p.78) . Rather than being secretly executed or interned in prison camps, the four leaders of the group were reassigned to unimportant positions , which showed that terror was no longer necessary to run the country or the Party (Medvedev & Medvedev 1977: p.10 - 12).
By 1962 Khrushchev was worried that the Soviet Union was falling behind in the arms race. To restore the balance he conceived of a plan to place nuclear missiles on Cuba. His military advisors had assured him that the installation work could be done secretly. However on October 22 American reconnaissance aircraft discovered the missiles and the world was thrown into crisis. Khrushchev at first thought US President Kennedy would give in and he adopted a hard line. As the days went on, however, it became clear that the Americans were determined and would invade Cuba to remove the missiles. He had not intended to start a war over the matter and in fact many now say he won the contest. In return for the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba he got the Americans to agree to remove theirs from Italy and Turkey and give a public promise not to invade Cuba.
This agreement was opposed by many senior Communist party officials as they interpreted it as a loss for the Soviet Union. Following two years of faltering economic growth Khrushchev’s detractors succeeded in removing him from power.
Khrushchev's anti-Stalin crusade had tremendous effects not only within the Soviet Union but also outside its borders, particularly in the communist bloc. In 1956, revelations about the terror brought about uprisings against Soviet power in Poland and particularly Hungary. The dethroning of Stalin also created a rift between the Soviet Union and Maoist China, which could never accept destalinization...
On the whole, Khrushchev carried out Stalin’s instructions. He traveled a lot and spent time on collective farms, meeting not only with officials but also with agronomists and village laborers. But he still be- lieved that agricultural difficulties were largely brought about by “hostile” forces, and he had a Stalinist understanding of the place and role of the peasantry in the country’s economy.
When Stalin began purging the Communist party's leadership of those he mistrusted, Khrushchev was fortunate to be one of the trusted. In 1938, when most of the chief party leaders in the Ukraine were purged, he was made first secretary of the Ukrainian Communist party and at the same time was named to the Politburo, the ruling body of the Soviet Communist party. As first secretary, he was in fact, though not in name, the chief executive of the Ukraine...
Khrushchev worked for the Communist Party in Kiev and then in Moscow. While in the capital, he gained a reputation for efficiency and in 1935 Khrushchev was appointed Secretary of the Moscow Regional Committee. He would have needed the support of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to have held such a post. Khrushchev further enhanced his reputation by being very closely associated with the building of the Moscow Underground – the construction of which was deemed an engineering success and a sign to the world of Soviet skills that were more closely associated with the West. While it was the engineers who were rightly credited with the success of this project, the managerial skills of Khrushchev within such a prestigious project were also recognised.
In 1929, Khrushchev moved to Moscow to attend the Stalin Industrial Academy. In 1931, he began to work full-time for the Communist Party, rising through its ranks to become first secretary of the Moscow City Party Committee in 1938. The following year he became a member of the Politburo, the highest decision-making body of the Communist Party. During World War Two, Khrushchev worked as a political commissar in the army.
Stalin died in March 1953. Khrushchev became leader of the party shortly afterwards, but it took him several years to consolidate his position. In February 1956, he made a secret speech to the 20th Party Congress, denouncing Stalin. It caused a sensation in the Communist Party and in the West, although Khrushchev failed to mention his own role in the Stalinist terror.
During the First World War Khrushchev became involved in trade union activities and after the October Revolution joined the Bolsheviks. In January, 1919, Khrushchev joined the Red Army and fought against the Whites in the Ukraine during the Civil War. After leaving the army he returned to Yuzovka where he returned to school to finish his education.
Nikita Khrushchev was born in Kalinovka in southern Russia on April 17, 1894. At 15 he became an apprentice mechanic in Yuzovka, where his father was working as a miner. When his apprenticeship ended, he was employed as a machine repairman in coal mines and coke plants of the region.