Khrushchev Begins the De-Stalinization Process Once a loyal Stalinist, Khrushchev gave a long speech in February that criticized Stalin for arresting and deporting opponents, for elevating himself above the party and for incompetent wartime leadership, among other things.
As he had only four years of formal schooling, he applied to the training program rabfak attached to the tekhnikum that was designed to bring undereducated students to high-school level, a prerequisite for entry into the tekhnikum.
He then flew to Des Moines, Iowa, where he toured American farms and happily posed for the cameras. Certainly the most colorful Soviet leader, Khrushchev is best remembered for his dramatic, oftentimes boorish gestures and "harebrained schemes" designed to attain maximum propaganda effect, his enthusiastic belief that Communism would triumph over capitalism, and the fact that he was the only Soviet leader ever to be removed peacefully from office--a direct result of the post-Stalin thaw he had instigated in In the realm of international affairs, rivals in the Kremlin viewed him as erratic.
In October Khrushchev was called back from a vacation in Pitsunda, Georgiaand forced to resign as both premier and head of the Communist Party. He spent the rest of his life in peaceful retirement, and was the only Soviet leader not to be buried in the Kremlin wall after his death.
Once Khrushchev was able to get out of bed, he and his family took their first vacation since before the war, to a beachfront resort in Latvia.
In the years immediately following Stalin's death, Khrushchev managed to outmaneuver his rivals, including notable figures such as Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov. Despite this, Khrushchev also attempted to pursue a policy of co-existence with the West.
Yet it was portrayed as front-page news that seemed to illuminate Khrushchev's unpredictable and threatening nature. He rose to positions of increasing political power in the Communist Party and was undoubtedly complicit in the violent purges of the Stalin regime. He began to gain attention, even to observers in the West.