From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

Episode 8A - 1953: Exit Stalin, Enter Khrushchev

February 29, 2020 Logan Rogers Season 1
From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast
Episode 8A - 1953: Exit Stalin, Enter Khrushchev
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From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast
Episode 8A - 1953: Exit Stalin, Enter Khrushchev
Feb 29, 2020 Season 1
Logan Rogers

In March 1953, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died of a stroke after several decades as the dominant figure in the USSR. American leaders, who had struggled to negotiate with the paranoid & merciless Stalin, responded by becoming hopeful but apprehensive, given the now-uncertain future of their chief Cold War opponent. Stalin's demise led rival high-ranking officials within the communist state to engage in a competition for leadership of the Soviet government. These figures included the bland Georgi Malenkov, the blunt Nikita Khrushchev, the disciplined Gen. Georgy Zhukov, & the predatory Laventry Beria. Eventually, dark horse Khrushchev would surprise the world by winning this power struggle, overcoming the diabolical Beria & his secret police. Khrushchev then broke with international Communist orthodoxy by publicly criticizing Stalin & his legacy of totalitarianism & terror. Nevertheless, the USSR would remain an autocratic & illiberal society, & Khrushchev's aggressive leadership would eventually cause major challenges for US foreign policy during the 1960s.

Show Notes Transcript

In March 1953, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died of a stroke after several decades as the dominant figure in the USSR. American leaders, who had struggled to negotiate with the paranoid & merciless Stalin, responded by becoming hopeful but apprehensive, given the now-uncertain future of their chief Cold War opponent. Stalin's demise led rival high-ranking officials within the communist state to engage in a competition for leadership of the Soviet government. These figures included the bland Georgi Malenkov, the blunt Nikita Khrushchev, the disciplined Gen. Georgy Zhukov, & the predatory Laventry Beria. Eventually, dark horse Khrushchev would surprise the world by winning this power struggle, overcoming the diabolical Beria & his secret police. Khrushchev then broke with international Communist orthodoxy by publicly criticizing Stalin & his legacy of totalitarianism & terror. Nevertheless, the USSR would remain an autocratic & illiberal society, & Khrushchev's aggressive leadership would eventually cause major challenges for US foreign policy during the 1960s.

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from boomers to millennials is a modern U. S. History podcast, providing a fresh look at the historic events that shaped current generations from the mid 19 forties to the present. Welcome to 1953 a k Episode eight. A Exit Stalin Inter Khrushchev. Today's episode is a little bit of a side trip away from our main narrative of U. S. History. An episode one, eh? We took a detour into German history with US connections and an episode for a We spent about half the episode in Egypt. Exploring the origins of some of the difficulties during recent decades between the USA and the Middle East in today's episode will spend most of our time even further afield. Exploring major developments within the USA is Cold War nemesis, the Soviet Union and how these developments affected the U. S. And the world and just a heads up. This episode subject matter gets pretty dark, but before we begin our story, it's time for yet another podcast update. Our data now indicates that we have been downloaded in 45 U. S. States. That means we're only missing five states Hawaii, Nebraska, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. If you happen to know someone living in one of these places who would enjoy our show, feel free to send it along so we can continue progressing toward our goal of being heard in all 50 United States of America. We also want to thank all our international listeners, as we have up to this point, been downloaded and 12 European countries, seven Asian nations, five Canadian provinces, three South American countries, plus South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to boot. Our monthly podcast recommendation goes to the history of the 20th century podcast. This one is great. Listen for those of you who want a bigger picture and a broader context, both in terms of geographical space and chronological time for the events that we discuss on our show. In this podcast, host Mark Painter covers 20th century world history. He's released 185 episodes so far, ranging from the dawn of the century, all the way up to the end of World War I. In 1919. I really love the show's logo, which is two interlocking exes forming the Roman numeral for 20. I don't love some of the overly long musical interludes within the show's production. But other than that, it's a well executed educational podcast that tells compelling stories about the 1st 2 decades of the 20th century. Check them out at history of the 20th century dot com 20th spelled out as a word, not a numeral. In that website address, we briefly discussed the origins of the USSR back an Episode two in spite of the Communist nations theoretical promotion of egalitarianism. Up until 1953 1 man had been the dominant character in post revolutionary Soviet history. He was born under the name You'll subdue Gosh, Jilly, and he grew up in a broken home within the nation of Georgia, High in the Caucasian mountains between Turkey and Russia after getting expelled from Orthodox Christian Divinity School is a young man. Zurabishvili became a Communist revolutionary and gave himself a new name, Joseph Stalin. Stalin means the steal one in Russian. The name gained fame and revolutionary circles when he helped to lead what Communists labeled revolutionary expropriations of capitalist assets being held in financial institutions, or what we would call low, quickly call bank robberies. Stolen wasn't just broad for criminal activities, however. He had a keen mind and earned excellent grades before getting kicked out of school. As a rising star within the Communist movement, he proved to be a gifted administrator and a ruthless bureaucratic climber. Stalin worked his way into Vladimir Lenin's inner circle in the years after the Russian Revolution of 1917 1st brought the Communists to power. When Lenin died during the 19 twenties, Stalin eventually emerged from the power struggle that followed as the leader of the Soviet Union. Once he held the reins of power, he would never let them go, no matter what it cost. The Russian people, the paranoid and merciless Stalin was constantly concerned about potential threats to his position as the chief Soviet leader. As historian Tony Judt put it, Quote, there were no disagreements in Stalin's universe. Onley heresies know critics on Lee enemies. No errors on Lee crimes. Close quote. He coordinated the arrest or execution of millions based upon the state secret police apparatus that was constantly seeking out any sign of political dissent during the Stalinist terrors height during the 19 thirties, the dictator even purged and executed his old allies from the 1917 Revolutions Bolshevik movement because these old Bolsheviks had impeccable Communist credentials, which meant that they could potentially be a threat to his position within the party. Stalin used the N K V D, later known as the KGB, the brutal Soviet secret police led by the Amoral Gin Rickey Goethe, to carry out these purges by means of false accusations and coerced confessions. During the hysteria of the late thirties, these purges of top government officials who'd fallen under suspicion created considerable dysfunction within the Soviet state. Historian Robert Conquest observes that quote by the middle of 1938 Stalin had killed or had imprisoned ready for execution, the great majority of the Communist Central Committee and also the great majority of the generals. Close quote. Not even the N K V D Zone leadership were exempt from this madness. Stalin had you go to dismissed, then prosecuted in a show trial, convicted as a Western spy and summarily executed under the supervision of Nikolai Yezhov. You go does replacement as secret police chief. Much of Stalin's paranoia fixed upon Leon Trotsky, his most famous and influential rival, dating back to their early years as fellow Bolsheviks working toward the revolution under Vladimir Lenin's leadership Trotsky had been deported from the Soviet Union in 1929 before Stalin began his bloody purges of old Bolsheviks during the 19 thirties, Trotskyist ideas had supporters within Marxist movements around the world. Stalin believed that Trotsky was plotting against him from abroad and that undercover Trotsky ites within the USSR planned to overthrow him. He decided that Trotsky had to be eliminated. The Soviet Union had control of the international Communist network and therefore Stalin's lethal reach extended across oceans even into countries that neighbor the United States. An undercover Soviet agent tracked down Trotsky in Mexico City during 1940 murdered him by breaking his skull with an ice pick. Allied forces were aware of Stalin's horrific human rights violations of Soviet leader, but they had little choice but to work with him during World War Two due to the pragmatic need to win the war against Hitler's Germany. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had defended working with a vicious tyrant like Stalin after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union by saying quote, If Hitler invaded hell, I would make it least a favorable reference to the devil. In the House of comments, close quote, however, as we know, the wartime thaw in relations between the English speaking nations and the Soviet Union would not last. Stalin's paranoid, authoritarian tendencies contributed to the mutual mistrust between the West and the Communist bloc during the mid to late 19 forties that facilitated the rise of the Cold War. U. S President Franklin D. Roosevelt had thought he could use his substantial diplomatic skills and charm toe work with Stalin, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to push back against the Soviet leaders. Undemocratic tendencies in Eastern Europe After FDR is death, Harry Truman had taken a harder line trying to exhibit toughness instead of friendliness towards Stalin. But as Cold War tensions grew, fewer attempts that direct diplomacy occurred between the superpowers. By the era of the Korean War, there was little remaining opportunity for U. S A. USSR dialogue. However, during the early 19 fifties, Stalin's era of terror would at last come to an end, opening up the possibility of a different relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States. Dahlin collapsed of a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke in his office on March 1st, 1953. The same paranoia and fear that he lived by likely contributed to the dictator's death. First of all, biographer William Todman observes that Stalin's body was not found for several hours because the guards posted outside of his office had been ordered not to disturb him, and they were terrified of what fate might be fall them if they dared to defy the dictator's order. This prevented him from getting immediate medical attention after he collapsed. Another problem was that Stalin had recently alleged a vast conspiracy of doctors, including several of his own personal physicians had been plotting against him. Stalin arrested and imprisoned the alleged conspirators, most of whom the prejudice Stalin distrusted, in part because they were ethnically Jewish. As a result of Stalin's latest paranoid purge. There was a shortage of high quality, experienced doctors in Moscow at the time, according to Talman quote, When doctors finally did arrive, they were obviously terrified. Close quote. One's hands were shaking as he examined the dictator. Another took out Stalin's false teeth on Lee to fumble them onto the floor. Stalin's medical treatment included being bled by leeches, hardly the cutting edge of modern medicine, even in 1953. Furthermore, Todman asserts, that quote every medical measure required prior approval by Paul iT, bureau members, basically the top Communist bureaucrats who were, of course incompetent to decide what to do. Close quote. Unsurprisingly, Stalin did not recover. After lingering in a comatose state for three and 1/2 days, he died. Stalin's death potentially had monumental geopolitical implications. U. S foreign policy historian George C. Herring gives a good overview of the international response to the demise of Stalin in his comprehensive work from colony to superpower. Airing, writes quote, Citizens of the U. S s R must have greeted the news with a mixture of relief and anxiety. Editorialists in the United States expressed undisguised joy of the demise of the murderer of millions but permitted themselves on Lee a glimmer of hope. After all, Stalin's successors could be as bad or worse, close quote. According to biographer Jean Edward Smith, President Dwight D. Eisenhower chose to respond to the news in a hopeful and diplomatic fashion. He released a statement in which quote Stalin was neither praise nor vilified. But the sympathy of the American people toward the Soviet people was expressed in unmistakable terms. Close quote. American government officials hoped that new, less paranoid and intransigent Soviet leadership might open a window for a thaw. In Cold War tensions, however, it remained to be seen whether the new Communist Party leadership would be any less dangerous. As soon as stolen was declared dead, a power struggle began among his potential successors. The immediate air to the Soviet Union wound up being Georgy Malenkov, a tough, bureaucratic infighter but overall a bland and vain man who lacks Stalin's gravitas. Closely allied with Malin Cobb was love entry. Beria, who had succeeded You gota and Yezhov, is chief of the feared secret police, Barry A. Shared much in common with Stalin, both his George and ethnicity and his utter indifference to human suffering. Beria ruthlessly continued the murderous secret police policies of the Stalinist era. Political science professor William Talman writes quote Stalin, not Beria was the primary engine of the terror, but Barry A two, was a monster close quote. He often tortured his targets for information before executing them, and he regularly arrested their entire families. According to historian George Herring. During World War Two, Stalin like to call Beria our Heinrich Himmler, a comparison to the genocidal Nazi Gestapo chief, which apparently was intended as some sort of compliment to bury his cruelty and ruthlessness. There is considerable evidence that Barry was also a serial sexual predator who used his position of absolute power to procure young women to his quarters, where they faced assault or arrest if they dared to resist his advances. According to Todman, he sometimes quote, supplied them with wine containing a sleeping potion and then raped them. Close quote it. Various succeeded in his efforts to gain total control of the Soviet state. It seems certain that the future of the USSR would continue to be subsea, mde by fear and drenched with blood. However, other forces within the USSR were working against a Soviet future dominated by Beria and Malikov. These included Red Army leader George's Yakov and high ranking Communist Party official Nikita Khrushchev. During World War Two, Marshal Zhukov's military efforts were essential to achieving the Soviet victory against the Nazis along the Eastern European front, making him a popular war hero whose status among the people made Stalin nervous and jealous. During the joint Postwar allied occupation of Germany, Jakov worked directly with British, French and American military leaders he apparently developed a friendship with future President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, of course, was one of the top U. S commanding officers in Europe. In August 1945 Jakov acted as Eisenhower's guide when the American general made a tour of Moscow. Biographer Jean Edward Smith reports that the two attended a soccer game together. End quote, unable to speak to the crowd in Russian like put his arm around you, cough shoulders as a gesture of goodwill. Close quote. Eisenhower extended an invitation for Jakov to tour the U. S. A. But the cooling relationship between the two former allies prevented this from ever taking place. According to Smith, during the 1952 American election, dark insinuations were made by Eisenhower's political opponents about his past association with his so called Communists Drinking buddies. You cough in his memoirs like Quote was at pains to distance himself from his former comrade. This relationship would also be used against you, Cobb by his political enemies within the Soviet Union, who thought the popular Red Army Generals friendship with the capitalist American was useful evidence to discredit him. According to Stalin biographer Robert Conquest in 1946 the dictator quote signed an order referring to reports of Zhukov's unworthy attitude. Soon evidence was concocted showing him to be a Western spy. But after long consideration, Stolen did not order his arrest, merely expelling him from the central committee and transferring him to a minor territorial command. Close quote. Perhaps Stalin thought Jakov too popular to completely purge even dictators must have a tiny bit of respect for public opinion. After all, during the wars you call, I've made an important ally in Nikita Khrushchev. According to Todman, Jakov and Khrushchev, Quote had known each other since the late thirties, and the war had brought them closer together. Close quote. Khrushchev eventually used his high position within the party to rehabilitate Jew cop's reputation and to appoint him to the powerful role of defense minister. After Stalin's death, Nikita Khrushchev was from a rural peasant background from western Russia near the Ukrainian border. He joined the Bolsheviks and fought with the Red Army in the Russian civil war that began in 1918. He later rose through the ranks of the Communist Party of the USSR and became a personal protege of Stalin during the 19 thirties. Khrushchev survived the purges of the thirties, somehow was appointed as head of the party apparatus in Ukraine. According to Khrushchev biographer William Todman, Stalin had been quote both mentor and torment or, in turn, for Nikita. Taliban writes that quote. Khrushchev grieved over Stalin's death partly out of fear for an uncertain future, but also because he was attached to Stalin. Close quote. This reaction differed significantly from that of Lavon Tree Beria, who several witnesses noticed could barely conceal his glee upon Sahlins demise. Taliban writes that after Stalin expired in March 1953 quote Mallon, Cobb was succeed Stalin as chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Beria would be first deputy, while Khrushchev was relegated to roughly fifth place in the Soviet hierarchy. Todman describes Beria as the power behind the throne, noting that in Khrushchev's opinion quote Mallon, Cobb always thought it was profitable to play up to Beria even though he knew Beria pushed him around and mocked him. Close quote. Under Mallon Cobb's leadership, there was a slight easing of Stalin's type of intense repression during the volatile transition period. Mallon Kaban has allies thought some degree of goodwill from the Soviet public might come in handy. Todman contends that at the beginning of 1953 there were 2.5 million people in the gulag forced labor prison camps, with half of them explicitly being political prisoners. Furthermore, quote Stalin's super centralized command economy had produced miracles of heavy industrial growth and Postwar reconstruction at horrendous human and environmental costs, but had left other areas starved or stunted. Close quote. Consumer goods and housing were also in short supply. Mallon Cauvin Beria began toe liberalize the Soviet state economically and began to release political prisoners from the gulag. According to Todman quote, Beria wasn't a closet liberal. He played the role of reformer because he was drenched in blood. The way to improve his reputation and taint those of others was to incriminate Stalin, whose orders all of them had carried out. Close quote. Still, Khrushchev and Jakov, among others, were concerned that various power over the secret police apparatus of terror could be used to resume the purges again at any time. Todman reports, the Khrushchev warned another top Soviet minister that Barry wanted the top post quote for the purpose of destroying us, and he'll do it too, if we let him close quote. Todman argues that virtually no one in the USSR or abroad was predicting that Khrushchev would end up is the chief executive of the Soviet Union. His own colleagues in the Politburo sometimes overlooked him. Viewing him is something of an unsophisticated country bumpkin. Talman believes. They underestimated just how cunning Khrushchev could be. He suggests that quote like Stalin in the 19 twenties, he identified his cause with that of the communist apparatus, manipulated the party machine against his rivals, wielded domestic and foreign policies for political purposes and made and betrayed allies. Close quote. He would need all of these skills in summer 1953 to defeat his most dangerous enemy, Love entry, Beria, who had been using the secret police to gather evidence for potentially blackmailing or accusing his enemies. Khrushchev enlisted top Soviet officials and Marshal Zukhov in a plan to spring an ambush upon Barry. It the preparations were made in total secrecy. Todman contends that quote. If any one of them alerted barrier, the game would be over. Even if no one did inform him, Barry's eavesdropping equipment might pick up signs of the plot. Close quote. Zhukov's military forces were essential. Muscle was needed in case bury his own security forces were tipped off during a meeting of top Soviet leaders in Moscow in June 1953 1 man in on the plot watched into an aggressive denunciation of Bay Area, followed by another and yet another. Finally, Mollenkopf said, quote this, chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. I request that you take barrier into custody pending an investigation of the charges made against him. Close quote. The signal is given, and Zhukov's troops burst into the room and arrested barrier before he could escape. This story of barriers Downfall is dramatically re enacted in the 2017 film The Death of Stalin, from British director Armando Iannucci, creator of the HBO comedy Veep. The movie is an interesting look at the terrors and absurdities of the Stalinist era and its immediate aftermath. However, one's ability to laugh at this so called black comedy may depend on whether one confined humor and some extremely dark subjects and one of the film's most dramatic and least humorous scenes. At the conclusion of the meeting, where Barrier is accused by his Soviet rivals, Khrushchev played by Steve Be semi a kid. You not implores the one man with the power to say Beria Georgy Malenkov to cooperate with the others in purging him. He insists to the reluctant Mallon cough that if they don't eliminate the wily and sadistic barrier, he would eventually use his power over the secret police to kill all of them. This particular conversation, however, was almost certainly creative license because in reality Khrushchev had already persuaded Malikov to participate in the plot to purge Beria. Before the meeting, he had left nothing to chance this being the Soviet Union, of course, Beria was not convicted on the basis of his actual monstrous crimes against the Soviet population. Instead, quote in classic Stalinist fashion, the victors of June accused area of being an enemy of the people and a Western spy. They arrested his wife and son, as well as his top secret police associates, Todman Rights. Barry was very familiar with such trumped up charges and was also familiar with the lack of due process of law. In his December 1953 trial, which top man observes had quote no counsel in the courtrooms, no appeals and sentences to be carried out immediately. Close quote. Just as had happened to his secret police chief predecessors, Yagoda and Yezhov, the monstrous machinery of state oppression Beria had once been the master of was finally turned against him. After his arrest, he had written letters begging in the face of imminent execution for the very mercy that he had coldly denied to his countless victims. Instead, on December 23rd Barrier was taken from his prison cell. His mouth was gagged and he was shot by a high ranking military official. And then his body was incinerated. Stalin's blood drenched era of Soviet history officially ended in the mid fifties. During Stalin's reign, the communist society that was supposed to be a worker's utopia became a dystopian world of terror and privation. Yes, Stolen had achieved his Marxist school of rapidly industrializing the previously agrarian Russian nation, and he had managed to fend off in vanquish the Nazi onslaught. But these achievements came at a ghastly price, costing tens of millions of Soviet citizens their lives or freedoms. During the second half of the 20th century, the Soviet Union remained an authoritarian state lacking and individual rights. It had serious economic problems and life there remained quite harsh. However, the totalitarian nightmare of Stalinism was over, and the decades that followed would be more peaceful and far less bloody. For the Soviet people. Beria would be the last top Soviet leader who left his position of power via a death sentence. For the previous three decades, most Soviet leaders had left power by imprisonment or execution. Now things were different when Khrushchev completed his consolidation of power by forcing out Georgy Malenkov in 1955. The demoted Soviet leader ended up spending the rest of his career as an electric plant manager in remote Kazakhstan was hardly a glamorous fate from Alan Cobb, but far better than being a prisoner in a Siberian gulag or being shot and dumped in an unmarked grave. Western observers were surprised when Khrushchev, who had been a relatively unknown figure to them, emerged out of the power struggle as first secretary of the Communist Party and the new de facto Soviet dictator in the mid fifties. Taliban opines that quote Mallon. Cobb was intellectually and culturally sophisticated, but he came across is colorless Khrushchev, on the contrary, seemed an open, down to earth activist prepared to take on any challenge. Close quote, Khrushchev continued. The liberalisation policies started during the Mallon Cough Beria era, according to historian Tony Jett Quote. In the course of the years 1953 to 56 some five million prisoners were released from the gulag. Close quote. More surprises were in store. In 1956 Khrushchev gave a so called secret speech to Communist leaders, although it was likely intended to leak out to the Soviet intelligence, CIA and the international press corps. This speech criticized Stalin, condemning his cult of personality and alleging that his rule had been too harsh and he had made serious mistakes. It was hardly a full reckoning with all the crimes and atrocities that stolen and his cronies had been responsible for in the USSR since the 19 thirties, Jet notes. The speech drew a firm line under the Stalinist era quote, acknowledging its monstrosities and disasters while preserving the fiction that the present Communist leadership bore no responsibility for them. Close quote. Khrushchev's criticism of Joseph Stalin was nevertheless shocking across the communist world because Soviet propaganda had made Stalin a great hero to many and an almost infallible Demi God within the Soviet Union, Robert Conquest writes That quote. Some long indoctrinated communists went into hysteria or shock as they listened close quote. Many of Stalin's brutalities were already known in the West, and the big surprise was that the communist regime was publicly distancing itself from its former supreme leader. Some American analysts saw this is a sign that the USSR might be open to changes, while others dismissed it as empty. Rhetoric, after all, by using Stalin is a point of comparison. An autocrat like Khrushchev could portray himself as relatively enlightened and tolerant. However, Although Nikita Khrushchev certainly was a moral improvement over Stalin, who had been one of the bloodiest dictators in world history, the new Soviet leader was hardly a great humanitarian. Under Khrushchev and his successors, the Soviet army would repeatedly crushed uprisings and rebellions in the USSR's Eastern European satellite states. Khrushchev was pugnacious and often crude in his speech and mannerisms, and his rhetoric was sometimes harsh and bellicose. That stout, bold and rough looking Khrushchev struck fear into the hearts of many boomers childhoods during the 19 sixties, when it was reported that he had threatened to bury the American capitalists. His aggressive nature led Khrushchev to butt heads with American President Dwight Eisenhower, Vice President Richard Nixon and President John F. Kennedy. Furthermore, during the three decades between 1955 and 1985 the nuclear arms race would continue and some of the Cold War's darkest and most terrifying moments would unfold. So while the worst stretch of the communist era was that last over in terms of the domestic life of the Soviet people, the bloody impact of the Cold War on the rest of the world was just beginning. Even today, with the knowledge of the Cold War's conclusion, Stalinism casts a long shadow over Russia. In the 19 nineties aftermath of the Cold War, Robert Conquest, a British historian of Soviet totalitarian ism, wrote Quote, the struggle to cure the political, economic, intellectual and psychological wounds Stalin inflicted on his own people is still being waged. Close quote. This statement remains true today because under Vladimir Putin's current authoritarian Russian regime, secret police continue to stamp out dissent and even assassinate critics living abroad. Putin's regime has recently rehabilitated the public image of Stalin, portraying the murderous dictator as a strong leader and a nationalist icon who saved Russia from invading German armies during World War Two in 2017 the Russian government even banned the film The Death of Stalin. On these supplemental episodes of the From Boomers to Millennials podcast, we usually attempt to draw parallels between the historic past and the present day United States of America for this episode. The connection is less obvious and direct than with some others. However ominous, frustrating and disturbing current political problems may seem, the amount of human suffering within Western democracies today is minor compared with what occurred under the totalitarian Soviet state ruled by Joseph Stalin. And that is exactly the point and the perspective that studying this grim era provides for us. In our introductory episode, Way back and Episode zero are reminded our listeners that every country has a checkered past, and that remains a fact of history that is important to remember. Of course, the history of the United States contains horrifying instances of staggering injustice and suffering such a slavery. But at least during the 20th century, most Americans, particularly white Americans at far better fortune in terms of individual freedom, physical safety and economic well being than did most nations around the world the Russians, the Chinese Thean, Deion's Theo Gyptians, the polls, the Algerians and other large, heavily populated countries around the globe had much reason to envy the Americans for their liberty, security and prosperity. Even today, with Americans, Britons and many other Western populations facing daunting political, environmental and economic challenges, most of our daily lives come nowhere near the level of state imposed terror, military danger, disease, famine and starvation that occurred in the USSR under Stalinism. Such horrors can only still be found in a few unhappy places in our current 21st century world in police states like North Korea, in failed states like Afghanistan or in war torn nations like Syria. So however apocalyptically bad thinks today may seem, perhaps there is some consolation. And knowing that at least for most people fortune enough to be able to listen to this show, they could still be one hell of a lot worse. Next time we release an episode on this podcast, feed will return to our main narrative and examine the first year of Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency, and we'll see how Stalin's death helped open up a diplomatic opportunity to finally end the bloodshed in Korea. As usual, we encourage users of Twitter and Instagram to follow us. If you haven't done so already, support the show on Patri on with a donation or help us grow by leaving a review on iTunes or stitcher. Let us know if you have thoughts about our show, including suggestions for topics about the 19 fifties that you would like us to cover in one of our supplemental episodes at Boomer to millennial at outlook dot com. We hope you will continue to spread the word about our show and, as always, thank you for listening.