Global History 4 April 14, 2015
Cold War Thaws
Nikita Khrushchev: Dominant Soviet leader.
Leonid Brezhnez: General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
John F. Kennedy: American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963.
Lyndon Johnson: Lyndon Baines Johnson, often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States, a position he assumed after his service as the 37th Vice President.
Détente: A policy of lessening Cold War tensions
Richard M. Nixon: Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only U.S. president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a U.S.
Ronald Reagan: Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States. Before his presidency he served as the 33rd Governor of California and was also an actor from 1937–1964.
Destalinization and Rumblings of Protest
After Stalin died in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became the dominant Soviet leader. In 1956, the shrewd, tough Khrushchev denounced Stalin for jailing and killing loyal Soviet citizens. His speech signaled the start of a policy called destalinization, or purging the country of Stalin’s memory. Workers destroyed monuments of the former dictator. Khrushchev called for “peaceful competition” with capitalist states.
The Revolt in Czechoslovakia
Despite the show of force in Hungary, Khrushchev lost prestige in his country as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In 1964, party leaders voted to remove him from power. His replacement, Leonid Brezhnev, quickly adopted repressive domestic policies. The party enforced laws to limit such basic human rights as freedom of speech and worship. Government censors controlled what writers could publish. Brezhnev clamped down on those who dared to protest his policies. For example, the secret police arrested many dissidents, including Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for literature. They then expelled him from the Soviet Union
The Soviet-Chinese Split
While many satellite countries resisted Communist rule, China was committed to communism. In fact, to cement the ties between Communist powers, Mao and Stalin had signed a 30-year treaty of friendship in 1950. Their spirit of cooperation, however, ran out before the treaty did.
Brinkmanship Breaks Down
The brinkmanship policy followed during the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson led to one terrifying crisis after another. Though these crises erupted all over the world, they were united by a common fear. Nuclear war seemed possible.
The United States Turns to Détente
Widespread popular protests wracked the United States during the Vietnam War. And the turmoil did not end with U.S. withdrawal. As it tried to heal its internal wounds, the United States backed away from its policy of direct confrontation with the Soviet Union. Détente, a policy of lessening Cold War tensions, replaced brinkmanship under Richard M. Nixon.
Nixon Visits Communist Powers
Nixon’s new policy represented a personal reversal as well as a political shift for the country. His rise in politics in the 1950s was largely due to his strong anti-Communist position. Twenty years later, he became the first U.S. president to visit Communist China.
Reagan Takes an Anti-Communist Stance
A fiercely anti-Communist U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, took office in 1981. He continued to move away from détente. He increased defense spending, putting both economic and military pressure on the Soviets. In 1983, Reagan also announced the…