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Initially the Soviet assistance in China's nuclear programme was limited to the civil nuclear energy field. However, Moscow's attitude shifted in 1957 when Khrushchev needed the support from the CCP leaders in dealing with the political struggle within his own party. In return, Moscow signed a comprehensive weapon technology transfer agreement with Beijing in October 1957 that included provision for additional Soviet nuclear assistance as well as the furnishing of some surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, and anti-ship missiles. sinodefense.com
Question is: what could posibly the CCP do for Khrushchev in his interal power struggles?
One of Khruschev's main concerns during his tenure was agricultural reform, which was grounded in his desire to see Soviet citizens, "live better," or at least "eat better."
Ironically, China's 1957 "Great Leap Forward" was part of that program. China's idea was to ship "surplus" food to the Soviet Union in exchange for help in "industrial" development, especially its nuclear program. In essence, Mao repeated Stalin's 1933 program of "forced industrialization," starving its peasants to feed Soviet workers, and hoping to "jump start" its industrialization program.
The benefit to Khruschev was that he would feed his own people better (at the expense of Chinese peasants). The Chinese soon had "buyers remorse" because they felt that Khruschev "double crossed" them regarding the industrialization and nuclear programs, leading to the bitterness of the Sino-Soviet "split" around 1960.
I am the son of Chinese immigrants. Family members from China would talk about the "Great Leap" at reunions held in the United States after they left. Conclusion (around 1980): "We used to think the Russians were our friends, but they are really our enemies. We used to think that the Americans were our enemies, but they are friends by comparison."
Refuse to support the anti-party bloc, thereby reducing the support for the anti-party bloc in the political committee. See Granville's book, The First Domino: International Decision Making during the Hungarian Crisis of 1956 for an example of life inside the parties during a crisis in 56/57.
The Khrushchev era (1953–64)
After Stalin’s death in 1953, a power struggle for leadership ensued, which was won by Nikita Khrushchev. His landmark decisions in foreign policy and domestic programs markedly changed the direction of the Soviet Union, bringing détente with the West and a relaxation of rigid controls within the country. Khrushchev, who rose under Stalin as an agricultural specialist, was a Russian who had grown up in Ukraine. During his reign Ukrainians prospered in Moscow. He took it for granted that Russians had a natural right to instruct less-fortunate nationals. This was especially evident in the non-Slavic republics of the U.S.S.R. and in eastern and southeastern Europe. His nationality policies reversed the repressive policies of Stalin. He grasped the nettle of the deported nationalities and rehabilitated almost all of them the accusations of disloyalty made against them by Stalin were declared to be false. This allowed many nationalities to return to their homelands within Russia, the Volga Germans being a notable exception. (Their lands had been occupied by Russians who, fearing competition from the Germans, opposed their return.) The Crimean Tatars were similarly not allowed to return to their home territory. Their situation was complicated by the fact that Russians and Ukrainians had replaced them in Crimea, and in 1954 Khrushchev made Ukraine a present of Crimea. Khrushchev abided by the nationality theory that suggested that all Soviet national groups would come closer together and eventually coalesce the Russians, of course, would be the dominant group. The theory was profoundly wrong. There was in fact a flowering of national cultures during Khrushchev’s administration, as well as an expansion of technical and cultural elites.
Khrushchev sought to promote himself through his agricultural policy. As head of the party Secretariat (which ran the day-to-day affairs of the party machine) after Stalin’s death, he could use that vehicle to promote his campaigns. Pravda (“Truth”), the party newspaper, served as his mouthpiece. His main opponent in the quest for power, Georgy M. Malenkov, was skilled in administration and headed the government. Izvestiya (“News of the Councils of Working People’s Deputies of the U.S.S.R.”), the government’s newspaper, was Malenkov’s main media outlet. Khrushchev’s agricultural policy involved a bold plan to rapidly expand the sown area of grain. He chose to implement this policy on virgin land in the north Caucasus and west Siberia, lying in both Russia and northern Kazakhstan. The Kazakh party leadership was not enamoured of the idea, since they did not want more Russians in their republic. The Kazakh leadership was dismissed, and the new first secretary was a Malenkov appointee he was soon replaced by Leonid I. Brezhnev, a Khrushchev protégé who eventually replaced Khrushchev as the Soviet leader. Thousands of young communists descended on Kazakhstan to grow crops where none had been grown before.
Khrushchev’s so-called “ secret speech” at the 20th Party Congress in 1956 had far-reaching effects on both foreign and domestic policies. Through its denunciation of Stalin, it substantially destroyed the infallibility of the party. The congress also formulated ideological reformations, which softened the party’s hard-line foreign policy. De-Stalinization had unexpected consequences, especially in eastern and southeastern Europe in 1956, where unrest became widespread. The Hungarian uprising in that year was brutally suppressed, with Yury V. Andropov, Moscow’s chief representative in Budapest, revealing considerable talent for double-dealing. (He had given a promise of safe conduct to Imre Nagy, the Hungarian leader, but permitted, or arranged for, Nagy’s arrest.) The events in Hungary and elsewhere stoked up anti-Russian fires.
Khrushchev had similar failures and triumphs in foreign policy outside the eastern European sphere. Successes in space exploration under his regime brought great applause for Russia. Khrushchev improved relations with the West, establishing a policy of peaceful coexistence that eventually led to the signing of the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty of 1963. But he was at times eccentric and blunt, traits that sometimes negated his own diplomacy. On one occasion he appeared at the United Nations and, in his speech, emphasized his point by banging a shoe on his desk. Such conduct tended to reinforce certain Western prejudices about oafish, peasant behaviour by Soviet leaders and harmed the Russian image abroad. Khrushchev’s offhanded remarks occasionally caused massive unrest in the world. He told the United States, “We will bury you,” and boasted that his rockets could hit a fly over the United States, statements that added to the alarm of Americans, who subsequently increased their defense budget. Hence, he turned out to be his own worst enemy, accelerating the arms race with the United States rather than decelerating it, which was his underlying objective. His alarmingly risky policy of installing nuclear weapons in Cuba for local Soviet commanders to use should they perceive that the Americans were attacking brought the world seemingly close to the brink of nuclear war.
Khrushchev was a patriot who genuinely wanted to improve the lot of all Soviet citizens. Under his leadership there was a cultural thaw, and Russian writers who had been suppressed began to publish again. Western ideas about democracy began to penetrate universities and academies. These were to leave their mark on a whole generation of Russians, most notably Mikhail Gorbachev, who later became the last leader of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev had effectively led the Soviet Union away from the harsh Stalin period. Under his rule Russia continued to dominate the union but with considerably more concern for minorities. Economic problems, however, continued to plague the union. Khrushchev attempted to reform the industrial ministries and their subordinate enterprises but failed. He discovered that industrial and local political networks had developed, which made it very difficult for the central authority to impose its will. Under him there was a gradual dissipation of power from Moscow to the provinces. This strengthened the Russian regions. The agricultural policy, which was successful for a few years, eventually fell victim to lean drought years, causing widespread discontent.
Russian support for India vis a vis China is rooted in history of Khrushchev and Mao
The portrait of the late Communist Party leader Mao Zedong in Beijing, China.
NEW DELHI: Russia's position vis-a-vis Chinas belligerence in Eurasia particularly along in the Himalayan frontiers adjoining India dates back to 1950s when then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had a heated debate with Chinese supremo Mao in 1959 over treatment meted out to Dalai Lama and aggression against India.
One of key reasons for the Sino-Soviet split was Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive posture in Eurasian region. In 1959 when Khrushchev along top Soviet leadership visited Beijing the two sides had heated war of words over situation in Tibet and PLAs killing of Indian soldiers, according to historical records.
Khrushchev’s visit to China came just months after the Dalai Lama had fled to India. A meeting was held during the visit between Khrushchev, M.A. Suslov (Soviet statesman & senior party leader) and A.A. Gromyko (Foreign Minister) — from Soviet side and Mao, Premier Zhou Enlai and Chen Yi (Foreign Minister) among others from the Chinese side.
Khrushchev told Mao in a blunt fashion, “You have had good relations with India for many years. Suddenly, here is a bloody incident, as a result of which [Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal] Nehru found himself in a very difficult position…If you let me, I will tell you what a guest should not say: the events in Tibet are your fault. You ruled in Tibet (西藏), you should have had your intelligence [agencies] there and should have known about the plans and intentions of the Dalai Lama.”
Contradicting the Soviet leader, Mao said, “Nehru also says that the events in Tibet [were] our fault. Besides, a TASS declaration on the issue of conflict with India was published and it supported India.
Khrushchev stated that it would be ‘stupid’ on the part of Soviet Union to support China on the conflict with India and that Beijing has no contact with common population in Tibet. “You were wrong to let the Dalai Lama go. If you allow him an opportunity to flee to India, then what has Nehru to do with it? We believe that the events in Tibet are the fault of the Communist Party of China, not Nehru’s.”
Mao reportedly disagreed. But Khrushchev questioned justification by PLA to kill Indian soldiers and even stated only Indian soldiers lost their lives.
When Chen Yi during the course of the meeting stated that they were outraged by Khrushchev's comments that the aggravation of relationship with India was China's fault, the Soviet leader shot back saying, “We should support Nehru to help him stay in power.”
Khrushchev went on to say, “If you consider us time-servers, comrade Chen Yi, then do not offer me your hand. I will not accept it. We cannot be intimidated.”
Three years later India and China fought a war and Soviet Union supplied helicopters were in action in the Ladakh sector. Khrushchev was also looking for ways to support India during that war.
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Did Nikita Khrushchev Really Bang His Shoe in Defiance at the U.N.?
In October 1960, the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, in a veritable paroxysm of uncontained rage, forcefully banged his shoe on a desk at the United Nations to object to a speech critical of his nation. Or so the story goes.
The image of the red-faced and blustery Khrushchev — well, to be strictly accurate, no image of the famed shoe-banging incident ever was recorded, so the whole red-faced and blustery part may not be entirely on the money — became, to many, the image of the Soviet Union at the time. Angry. Forceful. Maybe a tad dangerous. Maybe a little over the edge. The Cold War was at its full-blown standoffish, below-zero chilliest at the time. To paranoid Russia-phobic Americans, an angry Soviet — especially one so brazen to actually use his loafer as a veritable hammer — was downright scary.
Unfortunately, especially if you enjoy a good Cold War drama, the shoe-banging affair may well be more histrionics than history. More exaggeration than exactness. As verifiable facts go, the story of Khrushchev and his shoe at the U.N. is notable mainly for one reason: its lack of proof.
"My personal position is that it's too good to be true, and if it actually ever happened, we would have had more corroboration, more witnesses and probably pictures, because this is the kind of stuff that gets caught on cameras," says Anton Fedyashin, a history professor at American University in Washington D.C. and former director of the school's Carmel Institute for Russian Culture & History. "So as far as the shoe-banging episode, per se, is concerned, I don't think it ever actually happened."
But you know what? Even if it didn't happen, even if Soviet shoe leather never met podium (or desk or lectern or wherever), it could have.
That story, true or not, is soooo Khrushchev.
The Story Behind the (Fake?) Story
In October 1960, The New York Times ran an article about a U.N. session that was a certifiable, front-page worthy mess. The headline:
A subhed unambiguously declared:
The story, written by Benjamin Welles, spelled out the specifics in its very first paragraph:
According to the report, Lorenzo Sumulong, a member of the Philippines delegation, was accusing the Soviets of "swallowing up" parts of Eastern Europe when Khrushchev erupted. The report also included a photograph of Khrushchev, seated at his delegate's desk, with a shoe sitting clearly atop it (see image below).
Important to note: The Times did not have a picture of him holding the shoe. Or banging it.
Political scientist William Taubman, who has written or edited at least three books on Khrushchev, including a 2003 biography, "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era," wrote an article for The Times in 2003 that included several interviews of those around Khrushchev on that day and their recollections of the events (or non-events). Another Times reporter said it never happened. A KGB general said it did. A U.N. staffer said no. Khrushchev's interpreter said yes. Others said no.
The official U.N. record is inconclusive. Time magazine has run a photo of the incident, though it was doctored. The Poynter Institute's PolitiFact took on the subject and the later suggestion that a third shoe might have been involved, but found that the shoe-banging never took place. Other outlets have shot down the story, too.
Khrushchev was known to bang his fists on lecterns and desks on occasion. But a photographer present at the time of the alleged shoe-banging, interviewed by Taubman, was adamant in his belief that shoe-to-table never happened.
"Did he bang his fists at the U.N.? Yes he did, because that we actually have footage of," Fedyashin says. "I have a feeling that this whole shoe incident has been sort of rolled up, by imaginative minds and even more imaginative tongues, in with the fist-banging. So, yeah. [That] would have been perfectly in character."
The Character of Khrushchev
In 1953, Khrushchev assumed power in the Soviet Union after the bloody reign of Joseph Stalin, inheriting a country already at odds with its World War II ally, the United States. At stake was no less than the worldview of which country provided a better path for its people: the Soviet Union and socialism or the U.S. and its version of democracy.
To many emerging countries seeking a path to modernization — socialism or democracy — the answer wasn't as clear-cut as it might seem now in the West. Khrushchev was generally improving his country, pulling it through de-Stalinization, freeing prisoners and easing censorship. China was even then emerging as a potential powerhouse after going communist. The U.S. had fought communism to only a draw in the Korean War (which ended in 1953).
In 1957, the Soviets stunned the world by launching the first Earth satellite, Sputnik, and followed that in 1961 with the first manned spaceflight. Meanwhile, the world watched in 1957 as the American military was forced to help integrate a high school in Arkansas to satisfy a new Supreme Court ruling.
"Imagine if you're an African and you're looking at that," Fedyashin says. "Whose path to modernization are you more likely to follow?"
The stage was set for a brash man of the people like Khrushchev, a largely uneducated leader who was given to bouts of both anger and warmth. Khrushchev was a man whose often common speech endeared him to (at least some of) his people, someone whose belief in socialism was genuine, and someone who was eager to show his strength, and that of the Soviet Union, to the world.
Khrushchev's stage was the United Nations. "This, during the Cold War, was the great theater of competition," Fedyashin says.
"When it came to the superpower standoff, he really went out of his way to compensate for both his own and the Soviet Union's weaknesses by sort of projecting confidence, power, virility and a certainty in one's self," he adds. "And this led him occasionally to sort of switch from this sort of inclusive, peaceful, coexistence mode to these occasional threats against the West, and sort of these open challenges, these crazy gambles."
Like banging a shoe? Maybe?
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Khrushchev eventually was undone as leader of the Soviet Union by squabbling inside the Communist Party and his bungling of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. By 1964, he was ousted from his role in the government and party. Khrushchev died of a heart attack, at 77 years old, in 1971.
The term de-Stalinization is one which gained currency in both Russia and the Western world following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but was never used during the Khrushchev era. However, de-Stalinization efforts were set forth at this time by Nikita Khrushchev and the Government of the Soviet Union under the guise of the "overcoming/exposure of the cult of personality", with a heavy criticism of Joseph Stalin's "era of the cult of personality".  However, prior to Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the 20th Party Congress, no direct association between Stalin as a person and "the cult of personality" was openly made by Khrushchev or others within the party, although archival documents show that strong criticism of Stalin and his ideology featured in private discussions by Khruschchev at the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. 
There were dangers in denouncing Stalin as he was placed on a pedestal both at home and among communists abroad.  In the years 1953–1955, a period of "silent de-Stalinization" took place, as the revision of Stalin's policies was done in secret, and often with no explanation. This period saw a number of non-publicized political rehabilitations,  by way of persons and groups such as Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Politburo members Robert Eikhe and Jānis Rudzutaks, those executed in the Leningrad Affair,  and the release of "Article 58ers".  However, due to the huge influx of prisoners returning from the camps (90,000 prisoners in 1954–55 alone), this could not continue. 
In December 1955 Khrushchev proposed that a commission be set up in order to investigate Stalin's activities on behalf of the Presidium. This investigation determined that out of the 1,920,635 arrested for anti-Soviet activities, 688,503 (35.8 per cent) were executed. Many of these had been arrested on fabricated evidence and confessed under torture authorized by Stalin. 
De-Stalinization meant an end to the role of large-scale forced labour in the economy. The process of freeing Gulag prisoners was started by Lavrentiy Beria. He was soon removed from power, arrested on 26 June 1953, and executed on 24 December 1953. Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the most powerful Soviet politician. 
While de-Stalinization had been quietly underway ever since Stalin's death, the watershed event was Khrushchev's speech entitled "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences", concerning Stalin. On 25 February 1956, he spoke to a closed session of the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, delivering an address laying out some of Stalin's crimes and the "conditions of insecurity, fear, and even desperation" created by Stalin.  Khrushchev shocked his listeners by denouncing Stalin's dictatorial rule and his cult of personality as inconsistent with communist and Party ideology. Among other points, he condemned the treatment of the Old Bolsheviks, people who had supported communism before the revolution, many of whom Stalin had executed as traitors. Khrushchev also attacked the crimes committed by associates of Beria.
One reason given for Khrushchev's speech was his moral conscience Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said that Khrushchev spoke out of a "movement of the heart". This, the Communists believed, would prevent a fatal loss of self-belief and restore unity within the Party. 
Historian Martin McCauley argues that Khrushchev's purpose was to "liberate Party officials from the fear of repression". Khrushchev argued that if the Party were to be an efficient mechanism, stripped from the brutal abuse of power by any individual, it could transform the Soviet Union as well as the entire world. 
However, others have suggested that the speech was made in order to deflect blame from the Communist Party or the principles of Marxism–Leninism and place the blame squarely on Stalin's shoulders, thus preventing a more radical debate.  The publication of this speech caused many party members to resign in protest, both abroad and within the Soviet Union.  
By attacking Stalin, McCauley argues, he was undermining the credibility of Vyacheslav Molotov, Georgy Malenkov, Lazar Kaganovich and other political opponents who had been within "Stalin's inner circle" during the 1930s more than he had been. If they did not "come over to Khrushchev", they "risk[ed] being banished with Stalin" and associated with his dictatorial control. 
The amnesty decree of March 1953 began the release of most prisoners.  Former political prisoners often faced ingrained hostility upon their return, which made it difficult to reintegrate into normal life.  On 25 October 1956, a resolution of the CPSU declared that the existence of the Gulag labour system was "inexpedient".  The Gulag institution was closed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) order No 020 of 25 January 1960. 
For those who remained, Khrushchev attempted to make the Gulag labour system less harsh, by allowing prisoners to post letters home to their families, and by allowing family members to mail clothes to prisoners, which was not allowed under Stalin. 
Re-naming of places and buildings Edit
Khrushchev renamed or reverted the names of many places bearing Stalin's name, including cities, territories, landmarks, and other facilities.  The State Anthem of the Soviet Union was purged of references to Stalin, and so were the anthems of its republics. The Stalin-centric and World War II-era lines in the lyrics were effectively excised when an instrumental version replaced it. The Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland was renamed in 1956. Stalin Peak, the highest point in the USSR, was renamed Communism Peak. After the collapse of the USSR, the mountain was renamed Ismoil Somoni Peak.
Destruction of monuments Edit
The Yerevan monument was removed in spring 1962 and replaced by Mother Armenia in 1967. Thousands of Stalin monuments have been destroyed not only in the Soviet Union, but in other former Communist countries as well. In November 1961, the large Stalin Statue on Berlin's monumental Stalinallee (promptly renamed Karl-Marx-Allee) was removed in a clandestine operation. The Monument in Budapest was destroyed in October 1956. The biggest one, the Prague monument, was taken down in November 1962.
Re-location of Stalin's body Edit
Given momentum by these public re-namings, the process of de-Stalinization peaked in 1961 during the 22nd Congress of the CPSU. Two climactic acts of de-Stalinization marked the meetings: first, on 31 October 1961, Stalin's body was moved from Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square to a location near the Kremlin wall  second, on 11 November 1961, the "hero city" Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd. 
Foreign policy changes after Stalin Edit
The Stalin era ended with the appointment of Nikita Khrushchev, who defined Soviet foreign policy after Stalin and entering into the Cold War. The biggest change to foreign policy dealt with "uncommitted nations". There were two types of neutrality according to the Soviets, those by ideology and those by circumstance.  Many of the nations that were neutral came from both of these groups and were former colonies of European powers. During Stalin there was no room for neutral countries and the idea of neutral powers came about under Khrushchev.  Khrushchev's biggest contribution to foreign policy is taking advantage of other aspects of de-Stalinisation to try and show the world a different Soviet Union more in line with traditional socialist ideals. 
Contemporary historians regard the beginning of de-Stalinization as a turning point in the history of the Soviet Union that began during the Khrushchev Thaw. It subsided during the Brezhnev period until the mid-1980s, and accelerated again with the policies of perestroika and glasnost under Mikhail Gorbachev.
De-Stalinization has been considered a fragile process. Historian Polly Jones said that "re-Stalinization" was highly likely after a brief period of "thaw".  Anne Applebaum agrees: "The era which came to be called the 'Thaw' was indeed an era of change, but change of a particular kind: reforms took two steps forward, and then one step—or sometimes three steps—back." 
ɿorgotten by society' – how Chinese migrants built the transcontinental railroad
W hen one thinks of the transcontinental railroad, rarely do Chinese migrants come to mind. But in a new exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, a vital revision is presented.
Until spring 2020, Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad peels back the layers to see who else should be commemorated during the recent 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion – an achievement which has typically been celebrated with photos of old locomotives, successful-looking men in suits and anonymous workers hammering away.
But this exhibition takes a different tack, tracing the forgotten Chinese workers who built the western leg of the railroad across the Sierra Nevada mountains, connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad in 1869.
“Historians have always known and written about the Chinese workers, but it’s forgotten by society,” said Peter Liebhold, who co-curated the exhibit with Sam Vong. “We’ve forgotten the contribution of these workers, and in fact, we forget the contribution of all workers. We tend to focus on the achievement of the few and not the stories of the average everyday person.”
It tells the story of Chinese workers through old maps, detailing where they worked, their labor materials – from conical hats to miner’s picks – and photos, showing the tents they lived in, their working conditions and their nomadic lifestyle.
“The artifacts on view are meant to help visitors understand how forgotten workers had to endure hazardous, unfair conditions, in addition to backbreaking labor,” said Leibhold. “The 150th anniversary is not just about completing a railroad, but the workers involved.”
From 1863 and 1869, roughly 15,000 Chinese workers helped build the transcontinental railroad. They were paid less than American workers and lived in tents, while white workers were given accommodation in train cars.
Camp, near Humboldt Wells, Nevada, about 1869. Photograph: Courtesy of Alfred A. Hart Photograph Collection, Stanford University
Chinese workers made up most of the workforce between roughly 700 miles of train tracks between Sacramento, California, and Promontory, Utah. During the 19th century, more than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the railroad’s completion.
The work was tiresome, as the railroad was built entirely by manual laborers who used to shovel 20 pounds of rock over 400 times a day. They had to face dangerous work conditions – accidental explosions, snow and rock avalanches, which killed hundreds of workers, not to mention frigid weather.
“All workers on the railroad were ‘other’,” said Liebhold. “On the west, there were Chinese workers, out east were Irish and Mormon workers were in the center. All these groups are outside the classical American mainstream.”
The exhibition features a century-old pair of chopsticks, as well as canisters for tea and soy sauce. The railroad company provided room and board to white workers, but Chinese workers had to find their own meals, which were often brought to them from local merchants.
There are also miner’s picks and shovels, conical hats, as well as photos of the camp sites where the workers lived in Nevada in 1869. There are photos, as well, of the Native Americans, many of whom protested against the building of the railway in 1869, which displaced the Lakota, Shoshone, Cheyenne and other communities.
The Chinese workers were educated and organized 3,000 laborers went on strike in 1867 to demand equal wages, as the white workers were paid double.
“They were unsuccessful because they were out in the middle of nowhere,” said Liebhold. “The railroad stopped them from getting food. That’s one way it failed.”
One telling photo on view is a shot of the Union Pacific board members sitting in a business class train car from 1869. By paying laborers a low wage, they were able to skim millions from the construction and get rich.
Railroad workers, about 1867. Photograph: New York Public Library/Courtesy of The New York Public Library
“Building railroads is often profitable but operating them isn’t necessarily, if you look at the history of railroads in the US,” said Liebhold. “To totally condemn the businessmen is challenging because they took huge risks raising money to build a railroad that was astronomically difficult. Many people didn’t think it was possible.”
There is one photo from 1869 that shows how the company commemorated the last hammered spike to complete the railroad, however, only one Chinese worker is in the photo. Many of the actual workers were left out.
This story could still be one which resonates with today’s America. “There’s no question this is a story about migrant labor,” he said. “Chinese workers were not citizens, weren’t allowed to become citizens. From the 1850s to 1882, they were tolerated in the US, but not accepted as peers.
“Then, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred immigrants from coming into US, unless you were a diplomat or a businessperson,” said Liebhold. “You’re always welcome if you’re affluent, then you’re allowed to come in.”
Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad is on show at the National Museum of American History in Washington until spring 2020
Khrushchev’s Fate and China’s Future
What Xi Jinping can learn from Khrushchev’s struggles with reform in the Soviet Union.
The fate of the People’s Republic of China as a political project is increasingly dependent on one man – Xi Jinping. Already known informally as “the chairman of everything,” the sixth plenum of the 18th Party Congress recently declared him the “core” of the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership. Rumors abound that he now intends to violate the party’s own norms of leadership selection at next year’s Party Congress by changing the retirement age in the Politburo Standing Committee and neglecting to name a successor.
Recognizing the extent of Xi’s ambitions, scholars have attempted to better understand his prospects by comparing and contrasting him with a whole swathe of other leaders, including Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Chiang Kai-shek, Vladimir Putin, and even the pope. However, in terms of his ambitions, strengths, and weaknesses, Xi most obviously resembles the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
Both Khrushchev and Xi came to power believing only major reforms could save the revolution. Xi enjoys the same sources of resilience Khrushchev possessed – a widespread sense that change was needed, a tradition in the party of obeying the top leader, a common understanding that factional infighting would damage the party’s unity, and the difficulty for conspirators to organize a coup.
However, neither leader attained the prestige of their predecessors, whose victories brought the communists to power. Also like Khrushchev, Xi cannot claim the unambiguous authority a fully institutionalized leadership selection process might have provided. History shows that these limitations meant Khrushchev’s options for out-maneuvering opponents were constrained in important ways.
Looking back on the Khrushchev era, Xi might see good news and bad news. How he manages those dilemmas are up to him. For outside observers, lessons from Khrushchev’s reign will help us determine whether he is succeeding.
Two Ambitious Men
Khrushchev believed that without serious alterations the regime faced a bleak future. We now know that Stalin’s successors were united in their belief that the Soviet people would not tolerate terrible living conditions forever. As Khrushchev put it, “Only our long-suffering Russian people would put up with [poor living conditions], but we can’t go on banking on their patience.”
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The Chinese leadership today is also deeply concerned about the future. The era of Hu Jintao is widely seen as a wasted decade during which problems continued to deepen. As Kenneth Lieberthal wrote in 2012 as Xi was coming to power, “painful decisions are essential to avoid snowballing structural drags on growth and heightened social tension and instability.”
Motivated by a sense of crisis, both leaders initiated ambitious agendas: restructuring and cutting the size of the military fighting special interests inside the capitol and regionalism in the rest of the country eliminating corruption destroying potential competitors within the elite and improving the country’s position on the world stage. Although Khrushchev is often associated with a “thaw” in politics, by the end of his reign he had turned against liberal intellectuals – a position held by Xi from the beginning of his tenure as leader.
The Strengths of Leninist Leaders
Khrushchev was removed from the leadership in October 1964, but his defeat was far from inevitable. Until his sudden removal Khrushchev was a strong leader, and Xi can use similar political assets to manage potential opponents.
First, Khrushchev could effectively draw upon widespread hopes for a better society. After World War II and the Stalinist era, many among the Soviet leadership and populace hoped that Khrushchev would end decades of deprivation. Even after Khrushchev’s purge, many conspirators praised him in their memoirs for his ambition and boundless energy, which they contrasted with the rather uninspiring Brezhnev.
Second, at least while Khrushchev was in power, his colleagues tended to defer to his will. As Khrushchev’s former nemesis Viacheslav Molotov once wrote in a letter to the Soviet Central Committee, “Where, in all the material after 1957 [when Molotov was removed from the leadership] and all the way up to October 1964, can even the slightest opposition to Khrushchev be found?” In other words, sycophancy, not compromise, was the main feature of elite politics.
Therefore, until his removal, Khrushchev faced few direct constraints from colleagues at the top. In the meantime, he was able to force through deeply unpopular decisions like the separation of many local party committees into industrial and agricultural branches.
Third, Khrushchev’s potential opponents were concerned that factional infighting could get out of hand and threaten the stability of the whole party. According to one memoir account, when the Soviet ideologue Mikhail Suslov was first told of the plot against Khrushchev, his lips turned blue and his mouth twitched: “What are you talking about?! There will be a civil war.”
Fourth, because of obvious collective action problems, conspirators faced a difficult task. Who would dare be the first person to start a plot if failure meant removal from the leadership? When one co-conspirator suggested to Brezhnev that they try to remove Khrushchev without executing a coup, Brezhnev almost screamed, “I already told you: I do not believe in open conspiracies whoever speaks first will be the first to be hurled out of the leadership.” The plotters were not guaranteed to win – Brezhnev not only wept in fear when he heard Khrushchev might be aware of the plot, but he may have even asked the head of the KGB to take the safer path and simply kill the first secretary.
These advantages mean that even though Khrushchev was ultimately removed from power, his loss was not guaranteed. The plotters were in fact only able to make their move because of a highly contingent event – the untimely death of Khrushchev’sally Frol Kozlov, the second secretary and party head of the KGB, police, military, procuracy, and the courts. As one former party figure later wrote, “My strictly personal opinion is that if Kozlov had lived until the CC plenum in October 1964, Khrushchev’s opponents would have achieved nothing.”
The Weaknesses of Leninist Leaders
Khrushchev did of course suffer from important weaknesses, and Xi must confront these same problems today. Neither leader developed the personal authority of old revolutionaries like Stalin, Mao, or Deng. At the same time, the poorly institutionalized nature of Leninist regimes means that neither could attain what Max Weber called “rational-legal” authority: the legitimacy inferred after winning victory in an unambiguous and universally supported process. Without those two strengths, no leader can be sure that he is untouchable.
Given these disadvantages, can a Leninist leader achieve significant reforms? Especially after the experience of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Chinese share Khrushchev’s belief that the only appropriate tool for reform is a disciplined and unrestricted party. But how can a leader reform an organization that is also his own source of power? Or, in the words of anti-corruption czar Wang Qishan, can a surgeon operate on himself? While we cannot predict the future, the following lessons from the Khrushchev era give us better traction for understanding Xi’s potential vulnerabilities.
First, many techniques employed by Khrushchev to shore up his authority proved weak over the long-term. His habit of purging leaders from the leadership even before they could form a faction led to concerns among others that their position was not secure. Khrushchev’s attempt to promote new, young leaders beholden to him only helped inspire the move against him.
Khrushchev also developed parallel power structures like the party and state control commissions to give him some leverage over the party. However, he refused to give them enough authority to challenge his own leadership. Despite those concerns, ultimately the head of the party control commission participated in the conspiracy.
Second, Khrushchev struggled with the problem of delegation. By being at the center of every decision he was culpable for every failure. The sheer size of the problems meant victories were few, especially given the indirect resistance of local leaders. As Khrushchev complained to Fidel Castro, “You’d think I, as first secretary, could change anything in this country! Like hell I can! No matter what changes I propose and carry out, everything stays the same.” Making matters even worse, when things went wrong Khrushchev upset his colleagues by blaming them instead of accepting responsibility.
However, Khrushchev could not simply share the burden of decision-making. He fired one second secretary of the party, Aleksei Kirichenko, for showing too much independence. Khrushchev then tried to have members of the secretariat serve as second secretary in alphabetical order, but this proved unworkable because the fractured authority led to a lack of decisiveness.
Third, Khrushchev proved unable to keep a reliable hold over the political police and military, known as the “power ministries,” and they played a decisive role in his ultimate defeat. Three crucial figures decided to support the conspiracy only after they were assured the power ministries were on board. KGB head Vladimir Semichasntyi helped ensure Khrushchev’s allies could not rally to support the Soviet leader during the coup. Brezhnev only made the final decision to move against Khrushchev after the defense minister signaled he would not interfere. Kozlov’s control over the “power ministries” was one of the key reasons his death made Khrushchev so vulnerable.
The history of the Soviet Union cannot tell us with absolute certainty what will happen to Xi. As argued above, despite his lack of popularity, Khrushchev’s defeat was not entirely predetermined. However, Khrushchev’s experience does help us formulate questions useful for judging Xi’s strengths and weaknesses as time progresses.
Is Xi seen by other members of the elite as uniquely capable of making necessary reforms? How much unhappiness among special interests do those reforms create? Do we have reason to believe that the level of concern about a coup’s broader impact on political stability may be changing, perhaps because of Xi losing popularity in the party and society? Are members of the elite sufficiently upset or scared that they might risk the danger of being caught in a plot?
To what extent is he seen as violating even ambiguous rules on how leaders are selected? Are personnel changes eliminating opponents or creating new ones? Is the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (a parallel power structure) either too powerful or not powerful enough? How is Xi managing delegation problems? What is the position of individuals in key nodes of power, like in the political police or the military?
Most fundamentally, Xi’s future depends on whether he is able to make real breakthroughs. Just like for Khrushchev, the very act of accumulating power and striving for major victories will put him in a more tenuous position than he would have been otherwise. But without trying, China would face a very Soviet future – stagnation.
Joseph Torigian is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation interested in Chinese, Russian, and North Korean politics and foreign policy. His current research uses archival material to investigate the nature of authority at the elite level in Leninist regimes. He received a BA in Political Science at the University of Michigan and a Ph.D in Political Science at MIT.
10 Horrible Facts About Mao Zedong’s Policies and His Personal Life
Mao Zedong, founding father of the People’s Republic of China, is known for holding a very grim record. His tenure as Chairman of the Communist Party of China has the most incidences of excess mortality in human history. Through executions, purges, and forced labor, it’s estimated up to 70 million people died. He’s also known for developing a cult of personality where his image was worshiped, books of his quotations were mass produced, and he was referred to as “the Great Leader Chairman Mao.”
Lesser known is that Mao was also responsible for some very strange policies and downright shocking behavior in his personal life, as you’ll see in this list of 10 horrible facts about Mao.
1. In 1962, Mao started a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. She was a member of the Chinese Air Force’s cultural troupe which performed to entertain Mao and other high-ranking officials. In 1971, the girl told her parents about the relationship which led her father to write an angry letter to Mao. The letter was returned by a postal worker who warned it could earn the father a death sentence.
Image source: Wall Street Journal
The relationship between the girl and Mao lasted five years. Before the father learned about the relationship, he had been a Mao supporter and was proud of his daughter for entertaining the Chairman. But once the daughter told him the whole story, he was outraged. His family had unsuccessfully tried to talk him out of sending the letter. Apparently, following the postal worker’s warning, the father decided to swallow his outrage.
In 1997, the girl wanted to turn her story into a book and was seeking a $1 million book deal. A major publishing house was interested in the story but was not willing to pay that price, so the deal fell through.(source)
2. When the Soviet Premier Khrushchev made a state visit to China in 1958, Mao held a meeting in his pool because he knew Khrushchev couldn’t swim. Mao did it because he felt the Soviets disrespected him when he visited Moscow in 1949.
During the visit to Moscow, Mao had expected to be treated as a guest of honor. So he considered it an insult when he was given the same treatment as the many other guests who were there to celebrate Stalin’s 70th birthday. For instance, he was only allowed a short meeting with Stalin.
So when Khrushchev visited China, Mao took his revenge in several ways. They included housing Khrushchev in an old hotel with no air-conditioning, and chain-smoking during their meetings because he knew Khrushchev hated it. When Mao insisted they hold a meeting in his pool, Khrushchev stayed in the shallow end and Mao swam laps. Mao then suggested Khrushchev join him in the deep end, and he was provided with a flotation device. Observers said Khrushchev still struggled to stay afloat.
In Khrushchev’s memoirs, he tried to play down the humiliating event, writing “of course we could not compete with him when it came to long-distance swimming” and that “most of the time we lay around like seals on warm sand or a rug and talked.”
But later, in a speech to a group of artists and writers, Khrushchev was more honest about the incident. “Between us, I basically flop around when I swim. I’m not very good at it. But he swims around, showing off, all the while expounding his political views. It was Mao’s way of putting himself in an advantageous position.”(source)
3. In 1956, Mao launched the Hundred Flowers Campaign, encouraging citizens to freely express criticisms of national policy. But then he used the opportunity to target critics of his regime and send them to prison labor camps.
Mao had said “The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science,” and that “criticism of the bureaucracy is pushing the government towards the better.”
In the spring of 1957, millions of letters were sent to the premier’s office and other authorities. Citizens also shared their criticism through magazine articles, posters, and rallies. Some of the major complaints included the country’s low standards of living, economic corruption in the government, and the unfair privileges enjoyed by Party members.
There is some debate among historians about whether Mao originally planned to punish the critics, or if he only decided later to take advantage of the opportunity. But either way, the end result was the same — citizens were more reluctant to criticize Mao and the government in the future.(source)
4. In 1968, the Pakistani foreign minister presented Mao with some mangoes. At the time, few people in China had ever seen a mango. Mao used the fruit was a propaganda tool, sending them as gifts to institutions such as a university and a factory, causing large celebrations. The gift became a symbol of Mao’s support for workers. The government then produced replica mangoes that became popular attractions.
One of the mangoes was given to a textile factory where it was displayed on a newly-built altar. After the peel began rotting, the mango was boiled in water and a spoonful of mango water was given to each worker in the factory. They also made a wax replica of the mango as a centerpiece in the factory. Later, more replica mangoes were sent on tour around China.
Since mangoes became a symbol for Mao’s support, they were not to be taken lightly. When a dentist in a small village compared a mango to a sweet potato, he was executed for malicious slander.(source)
5. In 1973, Mao purposed exporting Chinese women to the United States. At first, he offered to send “thousands” of women and later upped the offer to 10 million. Mao believed sending the women would lead to bilateral trade between the two countries and would also ease China’s overpopulation problems. He said China was a “very poor country” and “what we have in excess is women.”
Image credit: China Daily via china.org.cn
Mao made the offer at a meeting with US national security advisor Henry Kissinger. The offer drew laughter from officials at the meeting, and Kissinger joked that the US did not have any quotas or tariffs for imported Chinese women. He later added, “It is such a novel proposition, we will have to study it.”
The assistant Chinese foreign minister warned Mao if the offer ever became public knowledge “it would incur the public wrath.” Mao said he wasn’t worried because he didn’t expect to live much longer anyway, saying “God has sent me an invitation.” Mao died three years later. Mao’s offer only became known to the public in 2008 when the US State Department released documents about the meeting.(source)
6. In 1958, Mao introduced the Four Pests Campaign where he ordered the extermination of rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows. But the killing of sparrows led to an explosion in the population of locusts which contributed to the Great Chinese Famine. According to some accounts, as many as 45 million people died of starvation.
Sparrows were targeted in the campaign because they eat seen grain and fruit. So, it was expected that killing sparrows would improve agricultural output. But the plan overlooked the fact that sparrows also eat insects. So, the extermination of sparrows actually resulted in lower rice yields. Once the mistake was apparent, sparrows were taken off the list and replaced with bedbugs, but the damage had already been done.(source)
7. The three-story-tall portrait of Mao in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square is repainted annually to keep it looking fresh. The repainting of the portrait was meant to be kept top secret. According to art historian Wu Hung, “It is not just a painting. It represents Mao himself,” and “nobody is allowed to ask who did the image. It just magically appears.”
Image source: publicdomainpictures.net
A portrait of Mao was first displayed there in 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded. Because the painting is exposed to sunlight and temperature changes, it would fade and crack if not repaired.
There are two identical portraits that are swapped once a year, so, when one is removed for repainting, it can be immediately replaced with the other. Originally, the repainting was done in a temporary tent. Since the 1970s, the repainting has been done in a permanent art studio with no windows. The studio is entirely made of metal to prevent fires. The artists allowed to work on it make a lifelong commitment, as they have been told they are never allowed to paint anything but communist leaders.(1,2)
8. According to Mao’s personal physician, women that caught sexually transmitted diseases from the Chairman were “proud to be infected.”
In 1996, Mao’s former personal physician published a biography entitled The Private Life of Chairman Mao. In the book, Dr. Li Zhisui wrote that Mao infected several women with the STD trichomonas vaginalis, and that “the illness, transmitted by Mao, was a badge of honor, testimony to their close relations with the Chairman.”
When the doctor suggested Mao protect his sexual partners by taking some antibiotics, Mao replied “If it’s not hurting me, then it doesn’t matter. Why are you getting so excited about it?”(source)
9. Mao claimed he needed to sleep with many women to help him live longer.
Another fact revealed in Zhisui’s book is that late in Mao’s life, he became an advocate for Taoist sexual practices because it provided an excuse for pursuing sex. Mao argued that to aid his declining yang (meaning the male essence and source of strength and longevity), he required the waters of yin (meaning vaginal secretions).(source)
10. Mao had terrible personal hygiene. For example, he never brushed his teeth and rarely cleaned his genitals.
Zhisui’s book also says that instead of brushing his teeth, Mao would rinse his mouth out with tea in the morning, and eat the leaves. This was a custom followed by many peasants in southern China. When Zhisui suggested Mao use a toothbrush, he replied: “A tiger never brushes his teeth.”
Regarding the cleaning of his private parts, Mao reportedly said: “I wash myself inside the bodies of my women.” However, he did have attendants who sometimes bathed him, dressed him, and combed his hair.(source)
Red Scarf Girl Character Analysis
“Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible.” Mao Zedong, the leader of the Cultural Revolution in China, explains the struggle that he underwent to change the Chinese people, which he considered a miracle. The Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution is a political movement in China that included the restructuring of the military and education system. During this, the People’s Republic of China was established and the Chinese Communist Party was introduced. In the historical memoir, Red Scarf
Les Slesnick Orlando
On the subject of the post-summit Trump-Putin press conference, it is inconceivable to me that the leader of this country, or any other for that matter, would throw his own country and all of its citizens under a train. Apparently, we have a “leader” who is incapable of even recognizing an adversary who is hostile to our national values and beliefs. Also apparently, we cannot expect the spineless Republican Party to step forward and try to positively redirect our foreign relations. SAD. It seems we are devolving from the United States of America to the Divided States of Trump. Never thought I would see the day.