Khrushchev visits the Bolshoi: [More than] a footnote to the Cuban Missile Crisis

ArticleinPeace and Conflict Journal of Peace Psychology 19(3):222 · August 2013with 42 Reads
Cite this publication
Abstract
At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis on October 23, 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev attended Moscow’s Bolshoi Opera with a group of Presidium leaders and visiting Romanian Communist leaders. Although many accounts of the crisis mention this fact, there has been little scholarly interest in what opera was presented at the Bolshoi that evening (Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov [Mussorgsky, M. (1968). Boris Godunov [English translation of libretto by David Lloyd-Jones]. New York, NY: Oxford University Press Music Department])—apart from occasional brief mention that the lead role was sung by the American bass Jerome Hines. This article suggests that seeing that opera may have affected Khrushchev’s subsequent behavior during the crisis. After a brief sketch of the historical background and plot of the opera, the paper draws connections and parallels between (a) the opera’s plot and libretto passages and (b) aspects of Khrushchev’s political career and the confrontation between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. The psychological concept of generative historical consciousness (Winter, D. G. [2008]. Taming power: Should we? Can we? How? Paper presented at the annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Paris, France; Winter, D. G. [2010]. Taming power: Development of a psychological measure from leaders’ speeches. Paper presented at the annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, San Francisco.), as a psychological mechanism that can tame power, is introduced as a link between Mussorgsky’s opera and Khrushchev’s behavior and verbal imagery during the crisis. By itself, of course, seeing the opera did not “cause” Khrushchev to remove the Soviet missiles from Cuba; nevertheless, there are several mechanisms by which the psychological resonance of the opera narrative with Khrushchev’s own situation and memories may have affected his choices and behavior, and thereby influenced the crisis outcome. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

Do you want to read the rest of this article?

Request Full-text Paper PDF
  • Article
    The desire for power causes wars, oppression, and destruction, yet power is a necessary dimension of all human enterprises. Therefore, taming power is a central moral and political problem in the social sciences and humanities, as well as politics and religion. This article reports development of a content analysis measure that differentiates expressions of "tamed" and "untamed" power, based on the theoretical concept of generative historical consciousness (GHC). We describe the GHC concept and measure and report results from four studies establishing their validity in differentiating expressions of tamed versus untamed power. The first study uses matched pairs of world leaders' texts on various political themes-for example, crisis escalation versus détente, vengeance versus reconstruction, and treatment of minority groups. Two case studies compare texts from different career- and life-stages of Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela. A final study compares two speeches about the Middle East by U.S. President Barack Obama.
  • Article
    Power is a necessary dimension of all human enterprises. It can inspire and illuminate, but it can also corrupt, oppress, and destroy. Therefore, taming power has been a central moral and political question for most of human history. Writers, theorists, and researchers have suggested many methods and mechanisms for taming power: through affiliation and love, intellect and reason, responsibility, religion and values, democratic political structures, and separation of powers. Historical examples and social science research suggest that each has some success, but also that each is vulnerable to being hijacked by power itself. I therefore introduce generative historical consciousness (GHC) as a concept and measure that might help to secure the benefits of power while protecting against its outrages and excesses. I conclude by discussing the role that GHC may have played in the peaceful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
  • Boris wins Moscow ovation The New York Times
    • Hines
  • The lessons of personal diplomacy
    • F Burlatskiy
    • F. Burlatskiy
  • The complete letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess 1887-1904
    • S Freud
    • S. Freud
  • This is my story, this is my song
    • J Hines
    • J. Hines
  • Wagner's Hitler: The prophet and his disciple
    • J Köhler
    • J. Köhler
  • Broadcast speech to the Soviet people. Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report
    • N S Khrushchev
    • N. S. Khrushchev
  • Memoirs of Statesman (1953-1964)
    • N S Khrushchev
    • N. S. Khrushchev
  • Text of speech on Stalin by Khrushchev as released by the State Department [On the cult of personality and its consequences]. The New York Times
    • N S Khrushchev
    • N. S. Khrushchev
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: A concise history
    • D Munton
    • D A Welch
    • D. Munton
    • D. A. Welch
  • Repression and rehabilitation
    • V W Naumov
    • S Taubman
    • A Khrushchev
    • Gleason
    • V. Naumov
    • W. Taubman
    • S. Khrushchev
    • A. Gleason
  • The twilight of the idols The complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche
    • F Nietzsche
    • F. Nietzsche
    • O. Levy
  • One minute to midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the brink of nuclear war
    • M Dobbs
    • M. Dobbs
  • Modest Mussorgsky and Boris Godunov: Myths, realities, and reconsiderations
    • C Emerson
    • R W Oldani
    • C. Emerson
    • R. W. Oldani
  • Radio and television report to the American people on the Soviet arms buildup in Cuba
    • J F Kennedy
    • J. F. Kennedy
  • The end: Hitler's Germany, 1944-45
    • I Kershaw
    • I. Kershaw
  • Presidential leadership, illness, and decision making
    • R Mcdermott
    • R. McDermott
  • Adventures of a cello, Rev
    • C Prieto
    • C. Prieto
  • Moscow replies”. The New York Times
    • S Topping
    • S. Topping
  • Manual for scoring motive imagery in running text
    • D G Winter
    • D. G. Winter
  • Personality profiles of political elites Oxford handbook of political psychology, Rev
    • D G Winter
    • D. G. Winter
    • D. O. Sears
    • L. Huddy
    • R. Jervis
  • Taming power: Development of a psychological measure from leaders' speeches. Paper presented at the annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology
    • D G Winter
    • D. G. Winter
  • Khrushchev's Cold War: The inside story of an American adversary
    • A Fursenko
    • T Naftali
    • A. Fursenko
    • T. Naftali
  • The storytelling animal: How stories make us human
    • J Gottschall
    • J. Gottschall
  • America's Siberian adventure, 1918-1920
    • W S Graves
    • W. S. Graves
  • Memorandum from Hilsman to Rusk Khrushchev's conversation with W. E. Knox, President of Westinghouse Electrical International
    • R Hilsman
    • R. Hilsman
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: An anniversary
    • N Cousins
    • N. Cousins
  • Khrushchev remembers: The last testament
    • N S Khrushchev
    • N. S. Khrushchev
  • Nikita Khrushchev and the creation of a superpower
    • S N Khrushchev
    • S. N. Khrushchev
  • Close-up of Khrushchev during a crisis
    • W E Knox
    • W. E. Knox
  • Boris Godunov [English translation of libretto by David Lloyd-Jones]
    • M Mussorgsky
    • M. Mussorgsky
  • The face of Moscow in the Missile Crisis. U. S. Central Intelligence Agency
    • W F Scott
    • W. F. Scott
  • A failed empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev
    • V M Zubok
    • V. M. Zubok
  • Cuba on the brink (Rev
    • J G Blight
    • B J Allyn
    • D A Welch
    • J. G. Blight
    • B. J. Allyn
    • D. A. Welch
  • Of spies and spokesmen: My life as a Cold War correspondent
    • N Daniloff
    • N. Daniloff
  • A short history of Russia's first civil war
    • C S L Dunning
    • C. S. L. Dunning
  • Excerpt from speech and debate at the United Nations. The New York Times
    • N S Khrushchev
    • N. S. Khrushchev
  • Interview with Der Spiegel
    • H A Kissinger
    • H. A. Kissinger
  • William E. Knox Oral History Interview-JFK #1
    • W E Knox
    • W. E. Knox
  • Soviets close to using A-Bomb in 1962 crisis, forum is told
    • M Lloyd
    • M. Lloyd
  • Book
    Covering the volatile period from 1945 to 1962, Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov explore the personalities and motivations of the key people who directed Soviet political life and shaped Soviet foreign policy. They begin with the fearsome figure of Joseph Stalin, who was driven by the dual dream of a Communist revolution and a global empire. They reveal the scope and limits of Stalin’s ambitions by taking us into the world of his closest subordinates, the ruthless and unimaginative foreign minister Molotov and the Party’s chief propagandist, Zhdanov, a man brimming with hubris and missionary zeal. The authors expose the machinations of the much-feared secret police chief Beria and the party cadre manager Malenkov, who tried but failed to set Soviet policies on a different course after Stalin’s death. Finally, they document the motives and actions of the self-made and self-confident Nikita Khrushchev, full of Russian pride and party dogma, who overturned many of Stalin’s policies with bold strategizing on a global scale. The authors show how, despite such attempts to change Soviet diplomacy, Stalin’s legacy continued to divide Germany and Europe, and led the Soviets to the split with Maoist China and to the Cuban missile crisis. Zubok and Pleshakov’s groundbreaking work reveals how Soviet statesmen conceived and conducted their rivalry with the West within the context of their own domestic and global concerns and aspirations. The authors persuasively demonstrate that the Soviet leaders did not seek a conflict with the United States, yet failed to prevent it or bring it to conclusion. They also document why and how Kremlin policy-makers, cautious and scheming as they were, triggered the gravest crises of the Cold War in Korea, Berlin, and Cuba. Taking us into the corridors of the Kremlin and the minds of its leaders, Zubok and Pleshakov present intimate portraits of the men who made the West fear, to reveal why and how they acted as they did
  • Article
    The priming of concepts has been shown to influence peoples' subsequent actions, often unconsciously. We propose 3 mechanisms (psychological, cultural, and biological) as a unified explanation of such effects. (a) Primed concepts influence holistic representations of situations by parallel constraint satisfaction. (b) The constraints among representations stem from culturally shared affective meanings of concepts acquired in socialization. (c) Patterns of activity in neural populations act as semantic pointers linking symbolic concepts to underlying emotional and sensorimotor representations and thereby causing action. We present 2 computational models of behavioral priming that implement the proposed mechanisms. One is a localist neural network that connects primes with behaviors through central nodes simulating affective meanings. In a series of simulations, where the input is based on empirical data, we show that this model can explain a wide variety of experimental findings related to automatic social behavior. The second, neurocomputational model simulates spiking patterns in populations of biologically realistic neurons. We use this model to demonstrate how the proposed mechanisms can be implemented in the brain. Finally, we discuss how our models integrate previous theoretical accounts of priming phenomena. We also examine the interactions of psychological, cultural, and biological mechanisms in the control of automatic social behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
  • Article
    This is the first complete story, long hidden by the Soviet Union, of the attack by government forces on striking workers in 1962, resulting in 21 dead and hundreds of others wounded or imprisoned. Only with the advent of glasnost in the 1980s did the tight lid of secrecy placed on the entire episode by the Soviets begin slowly to lift. ----------- Samuel H. Baron is Alumni Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina. His most recent book is Plekhanov in Russian History and Soviet Historiography. ---------- On June 1, 1962, triggered by a Kremlin announcement of a steep rise in the prices of meat and butter, thousands of workers in the city of Novocherkassk went out on strike. Greatly alarmed by a strike of this magnitude, the Soviet leadership of the “worker’s state� swiftly dispatched several high-level negotiators (including Anastas Mikoyan) to Novocherkassk, at the same time hastily deploying several thousand troops as well as tank units to the city. On June 2, some of the strikers became violent, breaking into the police station, where five strikers were killed. The Moscow leaders determined to disperse the crowd promptly, and troops and police opened fire, killing sixteen and wounding scores of others. More than 100 workers were put on trial and seven executed, with many others given long prison terms. Because the events of June 2 were reminiscent of tsarist Russia’s slaughter of peaceful demonstrators in January 1905 (Bloody Sunday), a tight lid of secrecy was placed on the entire episode, which was virtually unknown outside the Soviet Union until it was mentioned by Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago. Only with the advent of glasnost and the efforts of investigative journalists beginning in the late 1980s did the story gradually begin to leak out. This is the first comprehensive study in any language of what Solzhenitsyn called “a turning point in the history of modern Russia.� The book details the background to the strike, the course it took, the trials that ensued, and the government’s successful cover-up. It also traces the struggle between those who wished to bring the episode to light and those who wanted to conceal what had happened. Perhaps most important, the author shows how Novocherkassk played a significant role in the demise of the Soviet Union. Soviet authorities never again dared to raise food prices, and the ever-growing subsidies to agriculture became, in Gorbachev’s words, “a bottomless drain on resources.� Also, emerging revelations of the Novocherkassk repression in the late 1980s helped to destroy the legitimacy of the regime in the eyes of its citizens. ----------- “Exciting to read, this excellent book reconstructs a little-known yet very important and dramatic incident in the Soviet Union during the Khruschev era. There is simply no other work like it, not even in Russian. It is a major contribution to the emergin historiography of the period.� -Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Chicago “Baron’s book provides substantial new insights into events that were shrouded in secrecy until the final days of the Soviet Union. . . . It is the first in-depth, English-language analysis of the events of ‘Bloody Saturday.’ . . . Baron’s contributions to understanding the flaws of the Soviet system of government are both novel and significant. Bloody Saturday in the Soviet Union is accessible for college level readers and would be valuable to those interested in empirical history and an understanding of the basis of Soviet labor policy in the post-Stalin era.�—History “Baron’s analysis of what happened in Novocherkassk and why is extensive, subtle, and penetrating. The book is more than a mere history of the strike and massacre. It also examines the history of the cover-up and the process of the rehabilitation of the event and the victims in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Until more documents are available, this book is likely to remain the most definitive account of the incident and its history.�—The Russian Review “Drawing on a wealth of materials and containing numerous period photographs, Bloody Saturday is a classic of recent history. Upper-division undergraduates and above.�—Choice “There are books that are labors of love. The volume before us is a labor of conscience. . . . The author carefully and convincingly traces both the political and economic ramifications of the event and their ultimate contributions to the weakening of the Soviet Union. Baron’s volume is a valuable case study of Society methods of handling crises and making decisions.�Slavic Review “It is a major contribution and should be warmly welcomed.�—Graeme Gill, University of Sydney