Historic World Events / November / Nikita Khrushchev challenges United States to a missile “shooting match”
Nikita Khrushchev challenges United States to a missile “shooting match”

Nikita Khrushchev challenges United States to a missile “shooting match”

In an extended and rambling interview having an American reporter, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority a lot more than the United States and challenges America to a missile “shooting match” to prove his assertion. The interview further fueled fears in the United States that the country was falling perilously behind the Soviets in the arms race.The interview elicited the most common combination of boastful belligerence and demands “peaceful coexistence” with the West that has been characteristic of Khrushchev’s public statements through the late 1950s. He bragged about Soviet missile superiority, claiming that the United States didn’t have intercontinental ballistic rockets “If she had,” the Russian leader sneered, “she would have launched her own sputnik.” He then issued challenging: “Let’s have a peaceful rocket contest just like a rifle-shooting match, and they’ll see for themselves.” Speaking concerning the future of East-West relations, Khrushchev stated that the American and Soviet folks both wanted peace. He cautioned, nonetheless, that even though Soviet Union could not ever take up a war, “some lunatics” may produce a conflict. In certain, he noted that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had produced “an artificial war psychosis.” In the case of war, it “would be fought on the American continent, which can be reached by our rockets.” NATO forces in Europe would also be devastated, and Europe “might become a veritable cemetery.” While the Soviet Union would “suffer immensely,” the forces of communism would eventually destroy capitalism.Khrushchev’s remarks came only a couple of days following the Gaither Report have been leaked to the press in the United States. The report supported plenty of of the Russian leader’s contentions, charging that the United States was falling far behind the Soviets in the arms race. Critics of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s foreign policy, especially from the Democratic Party, continued the attack. The public debate regarding the alleged “missile gap” between U.S. and Soviet rocket arsenals continued through the first 1960s and was a substantial concern in the 1960 presidential campaign between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

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Source: History