Today in History, July 24: 1959 – The Kitchen Debate. In ’59 Richard Nixon was Vice-President, and Nikita Khrushchev was the Premier of the Soviet Union, a post he could only gain by being more ruthless that his contemporaries. The two nations put on exhibits on each other’s turf in an “effort” to get to know each other.
Nixon was giving Khrushchev a tour of the American exhibit in Moscow, showing him American technology that far out classed Soviet advances. The hot-headed Russian began an argument with Nixon…very publicly.
Nixon, while in a foreign country and debating a man known for his temper and ruthlessness, traded shot for shot and didn’t back down. I’m not a Nixon fan; “you won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore” and Watergate glaringly reveal his weaknesses. But on July 24, 1959, he showed his mettle.