Category: russian history

March 27th 1958: Khrushchev becomes Soviet Premier

On
this day in 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became head of the government of
the Soviet Union. Khrushchev served as Premier of the world’s first
Communist state from 1958 to 1964. He, along with Lenin and Stalin, are
the only Premiers to also have been party leader simultaneously. Under
Khrushchev, Russia was partially de-Stalinised, which was a core policy
of the Premier who vociferously denounced his predecessor’s
dangerous ‘cult of personality’. However, the accession of Khrushchev
did not ease the tensions of the Cold War, and during his tenure Russia
escalated its space program to compete with the United States in the
‘Space Race’. Russia had successfully launched the first satellite, Sputnik 1, in 1957, but now sought to put a man in space, which they
did in 1961. It was also under Khrushchev that the Cold War came the
closest to breaking out into fully fledged war, with the Cuban Missile
Crisis of 1963. Khrushchev was
deposed by party colleagues in 1964 and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as
First Secretary of the Communist Party and by Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

March 27th 1958: Khrushchev becomes Soviet Premier

On
this day in 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became head of the government of
the Soviet Union. Khrushchev served as Premier of the world’s first
Communist state from 1958 to 1964. He, along with Lenin and Stalin, are
the only Premiers to also have been party leader simultaneously. Under
Khrushchev, Russia was partially de-Stalinised, which was a core policy
of the Premier who vociferously denounced his predecessor’s
dangerous ‘cult of personality’. However, the accession of Khrushchev
did not ease the tensions of the Cold War, and during his tenure Russia
escalated its space program to compete with the United States in the
‘Space Race’. Russia had successfully launched the first satellite, Sputnik 1, in 1957, but now sought to put a man in space, which they
did in 1961. It was also under Khrushchev that the Cold War came the
closest to breaking out into fully fledged war, with the Cuban Missile
Crisis of 1963. Khrushchev was
deposed by party colleagues in 1964 and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as
First Secretary of the Communist Party and by Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

February 2nd 1943: Battle of Stalingrad ends

On this day in 1943, German troops surrendered to the Soviet Red Army in Stalingrad, thus ending the 5 months of fighting. The Battle of Stalingrad is among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with nearly 2 million casualties. The Germans had attempted to invade Russia and capture Stalingrad, but the Russians fought back and cut off and surrounded the German army. The Russian winter soon set in, with sub-zero temperatures weakening the German forces. Eventually, the remaining army surrendered, and 91,000 were taken prisoner (including 22 generals). The German failure at Stalingrad was a key turning point in the Second World War, as the army never recovered from their defeat.