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Carving a Diplomatic Niche?: The April 1956 Soviet Visit to Britain

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Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin's visit to Britain in April 1956 was the first by the new Soviet leadership to a Western bloc country after Josef Stalin's death. It presented British policy-makers with a unique opportunity for insight and discussion. However, British self-deception regarding their scope for independent action as well as excessive focus on events in the Middle East hampered efforts to build a rapport with Khrushchev and Bulganin. This analysis explores the planning and conduct of what turned out to be a fruitless diplomatic initiative. The visit illustrates British and Soviet policy at the time, as well as Britain's already clear position as the junior partner in the Anglo-American “special relationship” on the eve of Suez.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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