We will bury you

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Nikita Khrushchev (1961) Nikita Khrusjtsjov.jpg
Nikita Khrushchev (1961)

"We will bury you!" (Russian : «Мы вас похороним!», romanized: "My vas pokhoronim!") is a phrase that was used by Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow on November 18, 1956. [1] [2] [3] The phrase was originally translated into English by Khrushchev's personal interpreter Viktor Sukhodrev. [4]

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Romanization of Russian Romanization of the Russian alphabet

Romanization of Russian is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic script into the Latin script.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Contents

History

While addressing Westerners at the embassy on November 18, 1956, in the presence of Polish Communist statesman Władysław Gomułka, First Secretary Khrushchev said: "About the capitalist states, it doesn't depend on you whether or not we exist. If you don't like us, don't accept our invitations, and don't invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!" [5] The speech prompted the envoys from twelve NATO nations and Israel to leave the room. [5]

Polish United Workers Party Polish former communist political party

The Polish United Workers' Party was the Communist party which governed the Polish People's Republic from 1948 to 1989. Ideologically it was based on the theories of Marxism-Leninism. It also controlled the armed forces, the Polish People's Army.

Władysław Gomułka Polish politician

Władysław Gomułka was a Polish communist politician. He was the de facto leader of post-war Poland until 1948. Following the Polish October he became leader again from 1956 to 1970. Gomułka was initially very popular for his reforms; his seeking a "Polish way to socialism"; and giving rise to the period known as "Gomułka's thaw". During the 1960s, however, he became more rigid and authoritarian—afraid of destabilizing the system, he was not inclined to introduce or permit changes. In the 1960s he supported the persecution of the Catholic Church and intellectuals.

The capitalist state is the state, its functions and the form of organization it takes within capitalist socioeconomic systems. This concept is often used interchangeably with the concept of the modern state, though there are many differences in sociological characteristics among capitalist states despite their common functions.

During Khrushchev's visit to the United States in 1959, the Los Angeles mayor Norris Poulson in his address to Khrushchev stated: "We do not agree with your widely quoted phrase 'We shall bury you.' You shall not bury us and we shall not bury you. We are happy with our way of life. We recognize its shortcomings and are always trying to improve it. But if challenged, we shall fight to the death to preserve it". [6] Many Americans meanwhile interpreted Khrushchev's quote as a nuclear threat. [7]

1959 Khrushchev visit to the United States

The state visit of Nikita Khrushchev to the United States was an 11-day visit starting on 15–27 September 1959. It marked first state visit of a Soviet or Russian leader to the US. Khrushchev was also marked the first Russian leader ever to set foot in the Western Hemisphere. Being that it was the first visit by a leader of his kind, it coverage of it resulted in an extended media circus.

Norris Poulson American politician

Charles Norris Poulson served as the 36th Mayor of Los Angeles, California from 1953 to 1961, after having been a California State Assemblyman and then a member of the United States Congress for eight years. He was a Republican though the office of mayor is officially nonpartisan.

In another public speech Khrushchev declared: "[...] We must take a shovel and dig a deep grave, and bury colonialism as deep as we can". [8] In a 1961 speech at the Institute of Marxism–Leninism in Moscow, Khrushchev said that "peaceful coexistence" for the Soviet Union means "intense, economic, political and ideological struggle between the proletariat and the aggressive forces of imperialism in the world arena". [9] Later, on August 24, 1963, Khrushchev remarked in his speech in Yugoslavia, "I once said, 'We will bury you,' and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you," [10] a reference to the Marxist saying, "The proletariat is the undertaker of capitalism", based on the concluding statement in Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto : "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable". In his memoirs, Khrushchev stated that "enemy propaganda picked up the slogan and blew it all out of proportion". [11]

Colonialism Creation, and maintenance of colonies by people from another territory

Colonialism is the policy of a nation seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories, generally with the aim of opening trade opportunities. The colonising country seeks to benefit from the colonised country or land mass. In the process, colonisers imposed their religion, economics, and medicinal practices on the natives. Some argue this was a positive move toward modernisation, while other scholars counter that this is an intrinsically Eurocentric rationalisation, given that modernisation is itself a concept introduced by Europeans. Colonialism is largely regarded as a relationship of domination of an indigenous majority by a minority of foreign invaders where the latter rule in pursuit of its interests.

Peaceful coexistence was a theory developed and applied by the Soviet Union at various points during the Cold War in the context of primarily Marxist–Leninist foreign policy and was adopted by Soviet-allied socialist states that they could peacefully coexist with the capitalist bloc. This was in contrast to the antagonistic contradiction principle that socialism and capitalism could never coexist in peace. The Soviet Union applied it to relations between the western world, particularly between the United States and NATO countries and the nations of the Warsaw Pact.

The proletariat is the class of wage-earners in an economic society whose only possession of significant material value is their labour-power. A member of such a class is a proletarian.

Some authors suggest that an alternative translation is "We shall be present at your funeral" or "We shall outlive you". [12] [13] [14] Authors have suggested the phrase, in conjunction with Khrushchev's overhead hand clasp gesture meant that Russia would take care of the funeral arrangements for capitalism after its demise. [15] In an article in The New York Times in 2018, translator Mark Polizzotti suggested that the phrase was mistranslated at the time and should properly have been translated as "We will outlast you," which gives an entirely different sense to Khrushchev's statement. [16]

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

First Secretary Khrushchev was known for his emotional public image. His daughter admitted that "he was known for strong language, interrupting speakers, banging his fists on the table in protest, pounding his feet, even whistling". [9] She called such behavior a "manner, which suited his goal... to be different from the hypocrites of the West, with their appropriate words but calculated deeds". [9] Mikhail Gorbachev suggested in his book Perestroika and New Thinking for our Country and the World that the image used by Khrushchev was inspired by the acute discussions among Soviet agrarian scientists in the 1930s, nicknamed "who will bury whom", the bitterness of which must be understood in the political context of the times.

Mikhail Gorbachev 20th-century General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a Russian and formerly Soviet politician. The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was General Secretary of its governing Communist Party from 1985 until 1991. He was the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically, he initially adhered to Marxism-Leninism although by the early 1990s had moved toward social democracy.

Politics of the Soviet Union Communist Party dominated politics

For information about the government, see Government of the Soviet Union.

See also

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The following lists events that happened during 1956 in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

References

  1. "We Will Bury You!", Time Magazine , November 26, 1956
  2. "Khrushchev Tirade Again Irks Envoys", The New York Times , November 19, 1956, p. 1.
  3. The quote, cited on Bartleby.com and QuotationsPage.com.
  4. Умер личный переводчик Хрущева и Брежнева Виктор Суходрев. Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian). Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Envoys Stalk Again As Nikita Rants". The Milwaukee Sentinel . November 19, 1956. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  6. "Founding and history". Los Angeles World Affairs Council . Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  7. James Stuart Olson, Historical dictionary of the 1950s, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000, p. 157
  8. Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, Sergeĭ Khrushchev, George Shriver, Stephen Shenfield. Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Statesman, 1953–1964, Penn State Press, 2007, p. 893
  9. 1 2 3 Dr. Stuart J. Birkby. "'We will bury you' How Mistranslation Heightened Cold War Tensions" (PDF). Galaxy. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  10. Nikita Khrushchev on QuotationsPage.com
  11. Arnold Beichman. The Long Pretense: Soviet Treaty Diplomacy from Lenin to Gorbachev. Transaction Publishers. p. 96. ISBN   1412837685.
  12. Moshe Lewin, The Soviet Century
  13. Bill Swainson, The Encarta Book of Quotations
  14. Robert Legvold, Russian Foreign Policy in the Twenty-first Century and the Shadow of the Past
  15. Morton Deutsch, Peter T. Coleman, Eric C. Marcus, eds. (2011), "Culture and Conflict", The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, Wiley, p. 630, ISBN   9781118046906 CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  16. "Why Mistranslation Matters; Would history have been different if Khrushchev had used a better interpreter? by Mark Polizzotti, New York Times, July 28, 2018
  17. "Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 – Yuri's Revenge". GameFAQs . Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  18. "We Will Bury You".