Khrushchev is remembered for his dramatic gestures and strange schemes that were designed to gain the greatest propaganda effect. He always believed Communism would conquer capitalism and worked his policies to that end. Khrushchev has the distinction of being the only Soviet leader to be removed from office without bloodshed or death.
Khrushchev lived from 1984 until 1971. He received a technical education due to the October Revolution and became a believer in the benefits of a workers' state. He climbed through the Communist Party ranks to become a member of the Central Committee in 1934. He was involved with the Politburo in 1939. When Stalin died in 1953 Khrushchev became the First Secretary of the Communist Party. He patterned his government after Stalin's techniques to divide and conquer his enemies and replace them with his own group. He did not kill his rivals, but assigned them to faraway posts.
Khrushchev allowed a bit of freedom in the arts after his takeover; however he would not allow Doctor Zhivago to be published in the Soviet Union. Boris Paternak (author) was expelled from the Writer's Union and was forced to denounce his Nobel Prize.
Khrushchev wanted the USSR to match the living standards of the West and allowed a few citizens to travel. Khrushchev abolished security agencies and special tribunals. There were no major political trials under Khrushchev, but political sanctions were implemented. Khrushchev attempted to plant the USSR with corn, and attempted to overtake the U.S in milk, meat and butter production. His plans failed. In 1962 food prices rose and the drought of 1963 caused a shortage of wheat. At first, Khrushchev refused to purchase food form the West, but eventually he depleted his nation's hard currency reserves to purchase grain.
Khrushchev began moving nuclear missiles to Cuban and within easy striking distance of major American cities. President Kennedy retorted with an ultimatum and Khrushchev removed his nuclear arsenal from Cuban shores. This was a loss of reputation at home and abroad and Khrushchev never regained his status. Two years later he was ousted by opponents.
Khrushchev died on September 11, 1971 at the age of 77. He was married to Yefrosinia Khrushcheva from 1916 until her death in 1919, Marusia Khrushcheva in 1922, and Nina Kukharchuk from 1923 until his death.