What is the best? Capitalism or communism? 60 years ago, USSR leader and US deputy debated the topic in a kitchen

Nixon and Krushchev in 1959

Nixon and Krushchev in 1959

60 years ago, USSR leader and US deputy debated the topic in a kitchen

1959 must have been the year the Cold War appears closer to an end. If the powers were still in a nuclear arms race and trying to limit the rival's areas of influence, the rise of the moderate (if irascible) Nikita Khrushchev as a Soviet Prime Minister, formalized in the previous year, seemed to point a way to peace. Khrushchev, holding fast to his socialist conviction, also seemed convinced that the two powers could coexist as friendly rivals - until the Soviet system proved superior and the US sooner or later had its own revolution.

The Americans, then under the presidency of (also moderated) Dwight Eisenhower, were open to the idea. This is how both countries agreed on a small and brief enclave of the rival in their territory: a mutual national exposition, modeled on the then famous world expositions. In June of 1959, the Soviet version opened in New York. The following month, it was the American's turn to open in Moscow. To this end, Vice President Richard Nixon was sent to Russia. And the opening became a debate to be translated and transmitted in both countries.

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