De-Stalinization: The Secret Speech (1956)

De-Stalinization: The Secret speech (1956)
February 25th, 1956 The Cold War When Stalin died in 1953, it was hoped that the terror and fear of his regime would come to an end in the Soviet Union. The thaw had begun. In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev, now the new leader of the USSR delivered a secret speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was secret because it was to be delivered to an unpublicized closed session of communist party delegates with no press. In the speech he outlined his desire to return to the times before Stalin, during the time of the Bolsheviks and Lenin. Khrushchev would criticize Stalin as a leader who had led the country and its communist goals astray. This would distance Stalin from the party and improve foreign relations. In the speech. he mentioned: Lenin’s criticism of Stalin’s behavior The terror and fear of Stalin’s regime with barrier and the NKVD which saw mass arrests of people and purges of party members and purges in the army that Stalin’s cult of personality alongside his paranoia made him dangerously powerful and that he constantly ignored or overruled the collective leadership. Stalin’s management of the Great Patriotic War was denounced as incompetent and Khrushchev stated that Stalin had overplayed his role as a hero and his deportations of anti-Soviet ethnic minorities as a violation of Leninist principles. With this speech, he aimed to remove the godlike status and cult of personality that Stalin had created around himself and Stalinism. This was a huge shock to the audience and the silence was deafening for the four hours of the speech. They had been brought up to never criticize Stalin as to do so would see them arrested and sent to the Gulags. No questions or debate would follow. Of course Khrushchev himself was not entirely innocent. He had participated in some of Stalin’s purges in the 30s. In the speech, he’d missed out all the purges that had taken place that enabled himself to reach his position of power. In the speech, he also left out Stalin’s industrialization policies and the purges of kulaks to ensure continued confidence in collectivization and industrialization. Even though the speech was to be a secret, it made its way out in March and was already being printed in red at thousands of party meetings. Eastern European delegates were also able to hear or read it. The desire for the end to Stalin style rule in the Soviet Union conveyed in the speech and Khrushchev peaceful coexistence theory created a temporary thaw between the US and the USSR. In the same year the secret speech contributed to the unrest in the Soviet satellite states of Poland and Hungary, who saw it as a sign for big reforms. These were crushed by Khrushchev with military force, which was a choice that was Stalinist style. Subscribe for more history videos Get Simple History: The Cold war out today.
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSwcLmyMSFA

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