Monday, October 12, 2009

The Day Khrushchev Bared his Sole: October 12, 1960

On this day in 1960, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the podium during a dispute at a U.N. General Assembly. Or so goes the legend.

There's a bit of a question about that. Witnesses noted that Khrushchev arrived at the meeting armed with a house shoe, as above. The footwear that he's shown brandishing in the photo above does look like a typical slipper. Whatever it was, apparently this podium pounding incident was premeditated. Unless, of course, he was in the habit of attending high-level meetings with a slipper in his pocket ;)

That Khrushchev was quite a fellow. I was surprised to learn that - for whatever reason - he is not buried behind Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square as are dozens of Communist Party leaders.

Well here is our hero, Nikita Khrushchev some 15-plus years before the footwear banging incident, visiting with friends in Ukraine during World War II. (Click to enlarge. Photo from the Ukrainian National Museum in Kiev, Ukraine.)

Back during Khrushchev's rule, during the height of the Cold War, there was the Red Scare. Standing up to the Communists was was a key issue between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater in the U.S. presidential election of 1964. Goldwater was seen by some as more extreme, having once threatened to lob a nuclear bomb into the men's room of the Kremlin.

Goldwater was prepared to protect US children from Communism.

Say, had Khrushchev visited Rostov-on-Don, here's betting that he would stop by this fading sports bar. The big letters say USSR and the heading says (something like) THE PROLETARIATES - that is, the industrial workers - OF ALL COUNTRIES ARE UNITED!


~~anna~~ said...

Oh my! Now you're talking my childhood years! Don't actually remember the 'sole' incident personally, just heard about it.

But I do remember air raid drills where we had to curl up under our desks with our head encircled by our arms. Wonder if Russian children did the same thing?

Thanks for the history review, and for opening our eyes to a different culture.

Praying for you!

Eileen said...

Hey Anna, Air raid drills? I remember hearing about them but we never got around to doing that. So YOUR school was ahead of US on that! You know, good question - I'm going to ask Olga M, my language teacher if Ru children did drills also. She and I got so busy talking about Khrushchev, that I forgot! Cold war history is interesting, isn't it? I had no idea how fascinating - until here! Hope all is well w/ you and yours in SA! =)

~~anna~~ said...

Perhaps the reason we had air raid drills was because of our school's proximity of what was then known as Selfridge Air Force Base. It was only 20 miles North of that little 2.5 square mile suburb I grew up in!
I just read some history on it that said during the early 1960s Selfridge was used as a Strategic Air Command bomber base and that these SAC bases were very attractive targets for the Russians.

I guess if you didn't grow up near an SAC bomber base, you didn't have to have air raid drills. All this time I just thought it was something all kids from the 50's and 60's experienced.

Learn something new every day!

Zerovich said...

Actually, it says "Proletariates of every country, Unite!"

My favorite is the graffiti under it that says "Desu", though. Glad to know that internet memes have spread to Rostov-on-Don

Eileen said...

Well Anna, you've got me curious: I'm going to need to look up Selfridge AFB! What an interesting name - and story too, how being near there affected folks in the area - including kiddos getting to experience air raid drills.

Zerovich - what an interesting name You have - is it an отчество per chance? ;) And *Thank You* for the tweaking on the verb. Yes, of course. That makes sense - it's the imperative form. Good! But now I'm stumped though w/ the graffiti that has caught your eye. Help me find this - is it the blue there written under "bar?" See, I see десо...? I'm not seeing identifiable letters emerge from that. Love to figure out graffiti though, so appreciate your help. And then once we have that spelling, can look it up and get the definition. (or am I better off Not know what it means?) ;)