22 kitchen debate

22 kitchen debate - Richard M. Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev,...

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Richard M. Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev, “The Kitchen Debate,” 1959 In 1958 the United States and Soviet Union agreed to hold annual manufacturing expositions so the citizens of each country could get to know what life was like for ordinary people in the other. To the second exposition, in Moscow in 1959, the USA sent not only Vie President Richard Nixon but also an exact replica of a new tract house recently built on Long Island. In front of a bank of TV cameras and a crowd of Muscovites, Nixon and Khrushchev squared off across a Westinghouse washing machine. Nixon: I want to show you this kitchen. It is like those of our houses in California. [Nixon points to dishwasher.] Khrushchev: We have such things. Nixon: This is our newest model. This is the kind which is built in thousands of  units for direct installations in the houses. In America, we like to make life easier  for women . .. Khrushchev: Your capitalistic attitude toward women does not occur under  Communism. Nixon: I think that this attitude towards women is universal. What we want to do,  is make life more easy for our housewives . .. This house can be bought for  $14,000, and most American [veterans from World War II] can buy a home in the  bracket of $10,000 to $15,000. Let me give you an example that you can  appreciate. Our steel workers, as you know, are now on strike. But any steel  worker could buy this house. They earn $3 an hour. This house costs about $100  a month to buy on a contract running 25 to 30 years. Khrushchev: We have steel workers and peasants who can afford to spend  $14,000 for a house. Your American houses are built to last only twenty years so  builders could sell new houses at the end. We build firmly. We build for our  children and grandchildren. Nixon: American houses last for more than twenty years, but, even so, after  twenty years, many Americans want a new house or a new kitchen. Their kitchen  is obsolete by that time . .. The American system is designed to take advantage of  new inventions and new techniques. 1
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Khrushchev: This theory does not hold water. Some things never get out of date houses, for instance, and furniture, furnishings perhaps but not houses. I have  read much about America and American houses, and I do not think that this is  exhibit and what you say is strictly accurate. Nixon: Well, um .
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2012 for the course IHUM 69B taught by Professor Morris during the Spring '11 term at Stanford.

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22 kitchen debate - Richard M. Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev,...

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