To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The span of Soviet foreign policy that is the subject of this chapter covers two distinct periods, 1962 to 1964, and 1964 to 1975. The first period consists of Nikita Khrushchev’s last three years in power; the second covers the first eleven of Leonid Brezhnev’s. Because of the centralized nature of the Soviet system, with so much power concentrated in the Communist Party Politburo, and especially in the hands of the top party boss, Khrushchev and Brezhnev had immense influence over Soviet policy. But the two men were very different leaders with contrasting approaches to governing: by 1962 the impulsive, explosive Khrushchev hardly listened to his Kremlin colleagues. Brezhnev, on the other hand, had to struggle to consolidate his power for the first few years, and even after that, he preferred to preside over the Politburo instead of dominating it. Moreover, the Brezhnev regime came to power determined to alter, although not entirely reverse, the foreign-policy pattern Khrushchev had followed. It is not surprising, therefore, that the two sub-periods are notable for significant differences of both substance and style. Yet, there is an overall trend that characterizes the whole period – movement from the Cold War’s most dangerous episode, the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, to the high point of détente in 1975.
The year 1956 was pivotal in the Khrushchev period. Khrushchev was born on 15 April 1894 in the poor southern Russian village of Kalinovka, and his childhood there profoundly shaped his character. During the 1930s and 1940s, Khrushchev played a central role in Stalinism. His positive contributions included supervising construction of the Moscow metro, energising Ukrainian agriculture and industry after the Great Purges, and attempting to ameliorate the post-war famine which Joseph Stalin's draconian policies caused. Khrushchev's first priority was agriculture. Khrushchev's 1955 journey to Belgrade reflected a new, post-Stalinist formula for holding together the Soviet bloc: to tolerate a modicum of diversity and domestic autonomy, to emphasise ideological and political bonds and reinforce economic and political ties, and to weave all this together with Khrushchev's own personal involvement. Khrushchev's first major achievement was the Austrian State Treaty, signed in May 1955, under which Soviet occupation forces pulled out in return for an Austrian declaration of neutrality.