Madison, WI – It was given on February 25th, 1956, in secret, to the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Called On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, Nikita Khrushchev, the premier of Russia, excluded the press, the guests, and anyone else who might make it public. The reason was because he was denouncing the late Stalin.
He spoke of him as bloodthirsty, overly loved, and as a man who had done much harm to his nation. But Khrushchev himself had worked in Stalin’s regime without much meaningful protest. A note was passed to him, “Where were you at that time?” indicating his hypocrisy. Khrushchev responded by saying “the one who wrote that note, please stand.” No one did. “Very well, I was then where you are now.”
As soon as the session was over, the entire text of the story was out. The Russian people were confused and shocked. Many in the West who had been at least sympathetic to the party turned away, many resigned their memberships. Stalin had been the great personality who had held them all together, and now his memory was being torn apart. Young boys growing up began to rebel against the ideas of Communism throughout Russia.
The old regime of Russia was coming to an end. But it was still alive and well for the time being. However, the bloodbath was over. Instead of having a bullet put to the political prisoners’ heads, they were now ferried off to the work camps much more often. In fact, for a short time, there was even a bit of congeniality for the West. Sputnik began the Space Race, and talk was even begun about a joint American-Soviet Space Station.
However, high above the city of Moscow, where Khrushchev had given his speech, in the night, possibly even the night he had given the speech, a motor of a plane could have been heard. Those planes were about to change the Cold War again. At the same time, the cold Atlantic waters washed the beach of Cuba. A “Grand Slam” was coming.
Andrew C. Abbott