Sunday, 30 March 2014

How peaceful was the world from 1953 to 1963?

Document 1:

Closing paragraphs of the article “On Peaceful Coexistence” by Nikita Khrushchev, published in October 1959 in the magazine FOREIGN AFFAIRS 38, no. 1

(…) The Soviet people have stated and declare again that they do not want war. If the Soviet Union and the countries friendly to it are not attacked, we shall never use any weapons either against the United States or against any other countries. We do not want any horrors of war, destruction, suffering and death for ourselves or for any other peoples. We say this not because we fear anyone. Together with our friends, we are united and stronger than ever. But precisely because of that do we say that war can and should be prevented. Precisely because we want to rid mankind of war, we urge the Western powers to peaceful and lofty competition. We say to all: Let us prove to each other the advantages of one's own system not with fists, not by war, but by peaceful economic competition in conditions of peaceful coexistence.

As for the social system in some state or other, that is the domestic affair of the people of each country. We always have stood and we stand today for non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. We have always abided, and we shall abide, by these positions. The question, for example, what system will exist in the United States or in other capitalist countries cannot be decided by other peoples or states. This question can and will be decided only by the American people themselves, only by the people of each country.

The existence of the Soviet Union and of the other socialist countries is a real fact. It is also a real fact that the United States of America and the other capitalist countries live in different social conditions, in the conditions of capitalism. Then let us recognize this real situation and proceed from it in order not to go against reality, against life itself. Let us not try to change this situation by interferences from without, by means of war on the part of some states against other states.

I repeat, there is only one way to peace, one way out of the existing tension: peaceful coexistence.

Document 2:

Photo by John Sadovy taken during the Hungarian Uprising, published in LIFE magazine in 1956

Questions to help you analyse the first document:
  1. Who was Nikita Khrushchev?
  2. What is the nature of the document?
  3. What is the magazine FOREIGN AFFAIRS?
  4. Who was Khrushchev writing for?
  5. How was the article perceived?
  6. What was the USSR like under Khrushchev?
  7. What was the situation in the world in this period?
  8. What does the extract say (summarise)?
  9. What is "peaceful coexistence"?
  10. How "peaceful" was the world in fact?

Questions to help you describe and comment the second document:
  1. What is an “iconic” photo?
  2. Who was John Sadovy?
  3. What was LIFE magazine?
  4. What happened in Budapest in 1956?
  5. Where is this group of young men?
  6. What is their job?
  7. What is the time of day and period of the year?
  8. What do you “hear” and “smell”?
  9. What do their facial expressions and body language say about their emotions?
  10. What are they looking at?
  11. What is the young man looking at the camera thinking and feeling?
  12. Where have they come from, where are they going?
  13. What is the situation?
  14. What happened before the scene shown?
  15. What happened after?
  16. What were these photos used for (what was the target audience)?
  17. Is it just a documentary photograph?
  18. What was its impact?
  19. What makes this photo iconic?
  20. What insight does this document give us on the world in the 1950s?

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