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Khrushchev's Double Bind: International Pressures and Domestic Coalition Politics

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How do world leaders manage the competing priorities of maintaining support at home and credibility in the international arena? In Khrushchev's Double Bind James Richter explores this conflict by examining the case of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Richter argues that in order to hold power and pursue his political agenda at home, Khrushchev needed to maintain his standing as an effective world leader. His successes--especially in winning concessions from the United States--contributed to his power base and ...

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Overview

How do world leaders manage the competing priorities of maintaining support at home and credibility in the international arena? In Khrushchev's Double Bind James Richter explores this conflict by examining the case of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Richter argues that in order to hold power and pursue his political agenda at home, Khrushchev needed to maintain his standing as an effective world leader. His successes--especially in winning concessions from the United States--contributed to his power base and ability to grant favors and effect change in the Soviet Union. Likewise, the more support he gained from Soviet colleagues, the better he could influence international affairs and increase the U.S.S.R.'s prestige.

Richter explores ways in which certain images of the international environment became entrenched in the U.S.S.R.'s domestic institutions, furnished the backdrop for international actions meant to gain domestic support, and provided the standards by which the success or failure of competing strategies would be judged. The first book to make use of recent disclosures in the Russian archives, Khrushchev's Double Bind offers new perspectives on the interaction of international events and domestic bargaining in Soviet foreign policymaking during the 1950s and early 1960s.

"Richter presents a very important reinterpretation of Khrushchev's 1958 Berlin ultimatum. Khrushchev's purpose was to show Politburo conservatives that the 'correlation of forces' had shifted sufficiently in the favor of socialism to allow international successes simultaneously with unilateral defense cuts. Richter marshalls impressive evidence in support of this interpretation. The work issystematic, persuasive, and larded with new information from archives, memoirs and other new sources."--Jack Snyder, Columbia University

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Argues that as leader of the Soviet Union in the 1950s and early 1960s, Nikita Khrushchev needed to maintain his standing as an effective world leader in order to hold power and pursue his reform agenda at home. Conversely, the more domestic support he had the better able he was to influence international affairs and increase the country's prestige. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801848148
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Series: Perspectives on Security Ser.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280

Meet the Author

James G. Richter is associate professor of political science atBates College.Perspectives on Security.Richard Ned Lebow, Series Editor.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Introduction: Institutions, Coalitions, and Foreign Policy Change 1
Ch. 2 The Stalin Succession and the Fall of Malenkov 30
Ch. 3 The Rise of Khrushchev 53
Ch. 4 The Rocky Road from the Twentieth Congress to the June 1957 Plenum 77
Ch. 5 Khrushchev's Ascendancy and the First Berlin Ultimatum 101
Ch. 6 Khrushchev in Decline: Squaring the Circle 126
Ch. 7 Toward the October Plenum 153
Ch. 8 The Khrushchev Succession 174
Ch. 9 Conclusion 190
Notes 213
Bibliography 246
Index 257
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