Revision Diary

Peaceful Co-existence


Khrushchev’s policy of peaceful co-existence and the USA’s response;

      The beginnings of the Arms Race; space race.



As you revise this, you ought to know about Khrushchev's policies and their results (including America's response, the Arms Race and the Space Race).




Khrushchev's policies


When Khrushchev came to power, the West hoped he was a jolly man who would end the Cold War, BUT in fact he INCREASED tension.

He talked about 'peaceful co-existence', BUT what he really meant was 'all-out competition' (e.g. the Arms Race and the Space Race).

He talked about 'destalinisation', BUT he had no intention of letting the Iron Curtain countries go free.

So 1955-1963 was the time of greatest danger in the Cold War.



•   he met Western leaders at summit meetings (e.g. Paris 1960).  


•   he sent in troops when countries tried to leave Russian control (e.g. Hungary, 1956)

•   he built up allies (e.g. Cuba) by giving economic aid in return for support.



Results of Khrushchev's policies

a    When Khrushchev came to power, the West hoped that 'destalinisation' would give Iron Curtain countries freedom, and that 'peaceful co-existence' meant Russia would stop trying to take over more countries.

b    In fact, Khrushchev INCREASED tension, and 1955-1963 was the time of greatest danger in the Cold War (e.g. Hungary, U2, Berlin Wall and Cuba).


c    America got tougher on Russia:

•   Senator McCarthy led a 'witchhunt' for Communists in America

•   America entered the Space Race and the Arms Race with Russia

•   American U2 planes spied on Russia

•   In 1961 the Americans elected a new president (Kennedy), who promised to get tougher on Communism.   




The Arms Race


Both sides raced to build up as many weapons as possible.   The idea was that this would be a 'deterrent' to the other side, to stop them daring to attack.   America had more nuclear weapons, Russia had more conventional forces.

By the 1960s, both sides had enough ICBMs (inter-continental ballistic missiles), trained on the other, to destroy every living thing on earth many times over ('overkill').



•     America had had the atomic bomb since 1945.  

•     The Russians built an atomic bomb in 1949, but as soon as they did, America formed NATO (a military alliance against Russia).

•     Khrushchev formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955, but as soon as he did, America got NATO to send half a million soldiers to West Germany.



The Space Race


Both sides said that they were exploring space to benefit humankind - but really, they were just trying to prove that they were more 'advanced' than the other.  

Although the Americans were the first to put a man on the moon (1969), it was the Russians who led the space race at first.



•     In 1957, Russia launched the first satellite (called Sputnik); next year America set up NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

•     In 1961, immediately after the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had become the first man to orbit the earth, Kennedy launched a space programme to put a man on the moon by 1969.

Revision Focus

This is a Paper 1 topic, so concentrate on learning:

1.   WHAT happened

2.   EFFECTS/ Importance



e-book on Khrushchev.



Online revision sheet  




  •  Khrushchev & Cold War