Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!



After Stalin died in 1953, Khrushchev took over as Soviet leader. Watch this video to see how the new leader affected international relations.

International tension

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Key points

  • 1953 - Stalin died and Khrushchev became Soviet leader.
  • Khrushchev said that their needed to be a 'peaceful co-existence' between America and the Soviet union, and that he wanted to 'de-Stalinise' Eastern Europe.
  • This did not improve East-West relations. 1953 - 1960 was the tensest period of the Cold War.
  • America and the Soviet Union competed in an arms race and a space race.
  • 1955 - Khrushchev set up the Warsaw Pact to rival the western alliance of NATO. This set up two clear camps: east versus west.

All History videos

Back to The Cold War index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.