Posts Tagged ‘Nikita Khrushchev’

The Kitchen Debate

Posted in General, On This Day on July 24th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 3 Comments

Now that we have a new Cold War, let’s reminisce about the old one…

On July 24, 1959, the Cold War was fought over a dishwasher at the U.S. trade fair in Moscow.  Dueling in a model kitchen over the respective merits of their ideologies were Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Vice President Richard Nixon.  Each man was the champion and personification of his system.  Khrushchev was a vulgar, cunning peasant who through ruthlessness and guile rose to the apex of power.  Nixon had more hair.

Although there are transcripts of the “Kitchen Debate” here is what they really meant.

Nixon:  We call this a dishwasher.  In America people have more than one dish.

Khrushchev:  Communist people are proud to wash their dishes.  We gather around the basin and sing folk songs.  Lenin took special pride in cleaning samovars.

Nixon:  This is a refrigerator.  It keeps food cold and from spoiling.

Khrushchev:  We have something similar called a climate.  It is great for food and bad for invading armies.

Nixon:  Yes, I’ve heard “The 1812 Overture”.  You must be proud of Tchaikovsky.  Our fairies only write show tunes.  And most of them are Jews.

Khrushchev:  Russian ones I believe.

Nixon:  They didn’t mind leaving.  Now this is an electric range.  It is an oven and a stove combined.  You can simultaneously bake and boil beets.  Finally there will be some variety to your diet.

Khrushchev:  Actually these days, we are getting lots of Hungarian goulash, German potato salad and Bulgarian yogurt.  The same way you get Latin American bananas, sugar and coffee.  I really don’t see the value of all these decadent gadgets.

Nixon:  So you can bug them!  It is so easy to plant microphones in all these appliances.  Really, Nick, I thought you’d understand.  The kitchen is the perfect place to eavesdrop on your citizens.  Families gathered over a meal and forced to talk to each other.  Their guard is down.  Find out what they really think.  Let them incriminate themselves.

Khrushchev:  We bug bedrooms.

Nixon:  J. Edgar Hoover would be a problem.  He thinks that sex is a criminal activity.  We want to arrest people for treason, not the missionary position.

Khrushchev:  Beria could be the same way.  So we shot him.

Nixon:  You know, in some ways, your system is superior.