What was the importance of Khrushchev’s peaceful coexistence?
Khrushchev’s foreign policy of promoting peaceful coexistence with the United States and its allies was a significant departure from the attitudes of previous Soviet leaders.
Shortly after he succeeded Joseph Stalin, Khrushchev started to change his foreign policy stance towards the West.
Khrushchev came up with the concept of peaceful co-existence and adopted it in the Soviet foreign policy in 1956.
This policy of a peaceful coexistence was meant to improve relations between the Soviet Union and the United State and had far-reaching consequences for the preceding events of the Cold War.
Peaceful co existence was meant competition between Communist and non-Communist nations without war or competition between nations of differing political systems particularly between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
The Principles of Peaceful Coexistence included: mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs etc.
The policy emerged out of a desire to reduce hostility between the two superpowers, particularly given the threat of nuclear war.
In 1949 the Soviet Union founded and funded The World Peace Council in an effort to mobilize a global peace movement in support of the idea.
The Soviet theory of peaceful coexistence stated that the United States and the Soviet Union could coexist rather than fight and Khrushchev tried to demonstrate his commitment to peaceful coexistence by attending international peace conferences, such as the Geneva Summit, and his 13-day tour of the United States in September 1959.
Peaceful coexistence was intended to reduce Western capitalist fears that the socialist Soviet Union was motivated by the idea of world revolution.
Lenin and the Bolsheviks advocated world revolution through workers’ within their own nations, but they had never advocated its spread by force.
This aspect of Lenin’s politics was used by Khrushchev to argue that, though socialism would ultimately prevail over capitalism, it would do so through example rather than coercion.
Implying the end of the Soviet Union’s advocacy of the spread of communist revolution through violence, which some communists around the world interpreted as a betrayal of the principles of communism.