Peaceful Coexistence Essay

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After the death of Stalin in March 1953, Nikita Khrushchev emerged as leader of the USSR. There was also change in the US Presidency as Harry Truman was replaced by Dwight Eisenhower. Both the USA and the USSR felt secure enough to pursue different approaches to foreign policy, and these changes led to the establishment of a framework for improved relations. Peaceful Coexistence was adopted by Khrushchev during the 20th Party Congress, with aims to reduce hostility between the two superpowers. Despite hostility created by Hungary in 1956 and Berlin 1958-1962, superpower relations after 1953 did generally stabilise, as pressures from the arms race and economic concerns pushed them towards accommodation. A key development which helped to ease the Cold War tensions was the end of the Korean War in 1953. The war had produced a stalemate and peace talks had been halted since 1951, however with new leaders in both the USA and USSR extra emphasis was placed on coming to an agreement and an armistice was concluded. This lessened tensions as Khrushchev had pressured Kim IL Sung, North Korea’s leader to agree to a ceasefire, which showed the USA his commitment to the policy. The Austrian State Treaty of 1955 eased tensions immediately between the East and West. Under this treaty, both the USA and the USSR would withdraw its armed forces from Austria in return for agreeing its neutrality. Khrushchev regarded the Treaty as a more mature approach to international relations, and so a potential source of tension and conflict was reduced, making it easier for the two superpowers to negotiate. A further development which helped to ease Cold War tensions would be the Geneva Summit of July 1955. The ‘Geneva Spirit’ did cause results, as shown by the agreement of the cultural exchange of scientists, artists and musicians. This would have led to better communication between the
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