The Nixon-Khruschev Kitchen Debate

July 25, 1959

In Moscow to open the American National Exhibition, vice-president Richard Nixon unexpectedly met Russian Premier Khruschev in front of the kitchen exhibit of a model American house. Khruschev turned to a group of western journalists and predicted that the USSR would soon surpass the US technologically. "When we pass you," he said, "We will wave to you."

Showing perhaps more debating spirit than wit, Nixon retorted, "You don't know everything."

"If I don't know anything, you don't know anything about communism; only fear of it," Khruschev replied. He went on to belittle the American appliances - toasters, juicers, built-in dishwashers. "They display the capitalist attitude toward women." He didn't think American workers could afford such luxuries anyway. Nixon jabbed a finger into the fat man's chest and told him that any American worker could buy one.

The debate continued as the men contrasted the benefits of communism and capitalism. The American company, Ampex, was demonstrating the first videotape recorder; thus the exchange was captured on videotape and added greatly to Nixon's prestige at home in the USA.

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