Looking at the conversation itself and several speeches given by Khrushchev, what ideas does each side seem to focus on

HIST 1228 – K. Freeland – Spring 2017

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Essay on The Kitchen Debate and Cold War Consumer Politics

The 1950s were years of affluence and growth for the United States, and they were also peak years in the

Cold War with the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1959, the American Exposition in Moscow provided

an interesting combination of the two. Billed as an opportunity to promote understanding about the

culture of the US, and to improve relations between the two countries, the exposition showcased (among

other things) the latest home appliances and technologies available to the average American. In an

impromptu exchange in a model kitchen, Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev used the display to

debate the relative merits of their societies in terms of consumer goods and gender roles.

The Kitchen Debate and Cold War Consumer Politics provides a wealth of primary documents related to

the debate itself, as well as the politics involved. It gives insight into how Soviets viewed the exhibition,

how both sides viewed each other, and what they considered to be the most important aspects of their

societies.

For this assignment, you will use the documents in the book to help answer the questions below

about the Kitchen Debate and the politics related to it. Type your responses in complete sentences.

Refer to the documents themselves to inform your answers, and cite the documents you use as your

evidence by number in parenthesis—this is an example (Doc. 4).

The Kitchen Debate between Khrushchev and Nixon went beyond just the benefits of the modern

American kitchen. Looking at the conversation itself and several speeches given by Khrushchev, what

ideas does each side seem to focus on? Who do you think had better points? (see Documents 5, 6, 23, 37,

and 38)