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Nikita Khrushchev allegedly brandishes his shoe at the United Nations

Nikita Khrushchev allegedly brandishes his shoe at the United Nations

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In one of the most surreal moments in the history of the Cold War, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev pounds his fist on the table, and according to some reports, removes his shoe and threatens to pound a table with it in protest against a speech critical of Soviet policy in Eastern Europe.

During a debate over a Russian resolution decrying colonialism, a representative of the government of the Philippines charged the Soviets with employing a double standard, pointing to their domination of Eastern Europe as an example of the colonialism they were criticizing in their resolution.

In response, sources said Khrushchev removed his loafer and waved it in protest (there is some debate around whether he removed the shoe from his foot and whether he then banged the table with it).

The scene was, in any case, chaotic and it finally ended when General Assembly President Frederick Boland (Ireland) broke his gavel calling the meeting to order, but not before the image of Khrushchev as a hotheaded buffoon was indelibly etched into America’s collective memory.

1959 Khrushchev visit to the United States

The state visit of Nikita Khrushchev to the United States was a 13-day visit from 15–27 September 1959. It marked the first state visit of a Soviet leader to the US. Khrushchev, then General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Chairman of the Council of Ministers, was also the first ethnic Ukrainian leader to set foot in the Western Hemisphere. [1] Being the first visit by a leader of his kind, the coverage of it resulted in an extended media circus. [2]

17 Mishandled International Events Throughout History

Despite the high stakes of statecraft and the lofty reverence political leaders are sometimes held in, it is important to remember, as Marcus Aurelius repeatedly reminded himself: &ldquoRemember yourself mortal&rdquo. Our political leaders are simply human, prone to error and mistakes just like the ordinary person. Sometimes these missteps take the form of gaffes, &ldquo when a politician tells the truth &ndash some obvious truth he isn&rsquot supposed to say&rdquo. On other occasions, these mistakes proved more devastating misjudgments with lasting and potentially fatal consequences.

Here are 17 of some of the funniest and worst diplomatic screw-ups throughout history:

Khrushchev at a meeting of the UN General Assembly on 22 September. Wikimedia Commons.

17. In 1960, Nikita Khrushchev started banging and waving his shoe at the United Nations in protest

During the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, held in New York in 1960, a remarkable incident occurred on October 12: Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and one of the most powerful men in the world, waving and banging his shoe. Taking place mid-way through a speech by Lorenzo Sumulong, head of the Filipino delegation, Sumulong initiated a lengthy diatribe and condemnation of the USSR, claiming that &ldquothe peoples of Eastern Europe and elsewhere which have been deprived of the free exercise of their civil and political rights and which have been swallowed up, so to speak, by the Soviet Union&rdquo.

In response, Khrushchev allegedly pounded his fists on his desk and demanded a Point of Order. Brushing Sumulong aside, Khrushchev raced to the podium at the front of the assembly, whereupon he began his own theatrical rant against Sumulong, branding him &ldquoa jerk, a stooge, and a lackey&rdquo in addition to serving as a &ldquotoady of American imperialism&rdquo. In the course of his own diatribe, demanding, unsuccessfully, Sumulong be removed from the assembly, at one point during his provocative outburst Khrushchev supposedly picked up his shoe and started banging the rostrum with it. With the session rapidly descending into anarchy, including the intercessions of Romanian Foreign Vice-Minister Eduard Mezincescu in an aggressive attack on Sumulong before his microphone was deactivated, Assembly President Frederick Boland declared that the meeting was terminated. He slammed his gravel down with such force, Boland actually broke off the head which went soaring across the room. The incident would have longer-term repercussions, with the image of Khrushchev irreparably damaged by his bizarre outburst. In 1964, after being removed as the leader of the Soviet Union, propaganda publications lambasted him for the &ldquoshameful episode that he still presents as an act of valor&rdquo.

Subsequent commentary [ edit | edit source ]

Khrushchev was reported to be delighted with his performance, but other members of Communist delegations to the UN were embarrassed or displeased. ⎢] Khrushchev was removed as leader in 1964, and he was criticized for the incident: "a shameful episode that he still presents as an act of valor". ⎣]

In 1961, revolutionary philosopher Frantz Fanon commented: "And when Mr. Khrushchev brandishes his shoe at the United Nations and hammers the table with it, no colonized individual, no representative of the underdeveloped countries laughs. For what Mr. Khrushchev is showing the colonized countries who are watching, is that he, the missile-wielding muzhik is treating these wretched capitalists the way they deserve." ⎤]

Nikita Khrushchev mentioned the shoe-banging in his memoirs, writing that he was speaking against the Franco regime in strong expressions. A representative of Spain took the floor to reply and, after his speech, the delegates from Socialist countries made a lot of noise in protest. Khrushchev wrote: "Remembering reports I have read about the sessions of the State Duma in Russia, I decided to add a little more heat. I took off my shoe and pounded it on desk so that our protest would be louder." ⎥] The footnote to this text says that Khrushchev's recollections are mistaken. The Times reported that Khrushchev launched an "angry tirade" against Franco on 1 October. ⎦]

Khrushchev's granddaughter Nina L. Khrushcheva writes that, after years of embarrassed silence, her family explained their recollection of the event. According to Nina, Khrushchev was wearing new and tight shoes, so he took them off while sitting. He started pounding the table with his fist during his angry response, and his watch fell off. When he was picking it up, his discarded shoes caught his eye and he took the opportunity to pick one up and pound the desk with it. She also mentions that many versions of the incident have been in circulation, with various dates and occasions. ⎧]

Nina's account is very similar to that of Khrushchev's long-time interpreter Viktor Sukhodrev, who sat with him during the event and reported that his boss pounded on his delegate-desk so hard that his watch stopped, which only infuriated him further and prompted the switch to the shoe. Β]

Sergei Khrushchev (Nikita's son) stated that he could not find any photo or video evidence of the incident. Both NBC and CBC ran a search in their archives but were unable to find a tape of the event. Β] However, the Italian public broadcaster RAI has published footage that it says shows the shoe during the incident. ⎨]

In Sergei's opinion, it would be very unlikely that Nikita Khrushchev intentionally removed his shoe. There was little space under the desk, and the Soviet leader, being somewhat overweight, could not reach his feet. ⎩] This specific issue was addressed in 2002 by a former UN staffer, who said that Khrushchev could not have spontaneously removed his shoe at his desk but had previously lost it after a journalist stepped on it. The UN staffer then retrieved the shoe, wrapped it in a napkin, and passed it back to Khrushchev, who was unable to put it back on and had to leave it on the floor next to his desk the same staffer also confirmed that she saw him later bang the shoe on the desk, thus functionally confirming the reports by Nina Khrushcheva and Viktor Sukhodrev. Β] ⎩]

According to German journalist Walter Heinkels, a shoe producer in Pirmasens said he had seen a picture of the shoe in a newspaper and recognized it as being from his production. The Federal Ministry of Economics explained that the Federal Republic had sent 30,000 pairs of shoes to the Soviet Union. Among them were 2,000 pairs of good low shoes, and one of them might have found its way to Khrushchev. ⎪]

Beyond the Shoe: Rethinking Khrushchev at the Fifteenth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

An article by Alessandro Iandolo, 'Beyond the Shoe: Rethinking Khrushchev at the Fifteenth Session of the United Nations General Assembly' has been published in the January 2017 issue of Diplomatic History.


History tends to remember Soviet participation at the Fifteenth Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UN GA, September 1960&ndashApril 1961) because of Nikita Khrushchev&rsquos shoe. On October 13, 1960, the Soviet leader allegedly banged his shoe against his desk in the General Assembly hall to protest a speech he did not like. The incident is among the most well known in the history of the Cold War. However, despite the interest it has generated, Khrushchev&rsquos conduct was the least important aspect of Soviet relations with the UN in 1960&ndash61. This article reassesses Soviet participation at the Fifteenth Session of the GA in light of its medium- and long-term consequences for UN structure, practices, and vision. It also brings the issue of Moscow&rsquos relations with UN members from the Third World, until now overlooked in the existing literature, into the story of this UN session.

  • i By Warren K. Leffler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Did he bang it?: Nikita Khrushchev and the shoe

The shoe that the world thinks Khrushchev banged at the United Nations is one of history's most iconic symbols. Ask many Westerners, and even quite a few Russians, about the man who succeeded Stalin and then denounced him, who ruled the Soviet Union for a decade and brought to world to the nuclear brink in Cuba, and what they remember most is the shoe.

But it may never have happened.

The celebrated shoe was allegedly banged on Oct. 13, 1960. A New York Times correspondent, Benjamin Welles, reported that Khrushchev was reacting to a speech by a Philippine delegate who charged that the Soviet Union had "swallowed up" Eastern Europe and "deprived [it] of political and civil rights." According to Welles, Khrushchev "pulled off his right shoe, stood up and brandished the shoe at the Philippine delegate on the other side of the hall. He then banged his shoe on the desk."

Yet another Times man, James Feron, who was at the United Nations but did not write a story, recalls, "I actually saw Khrushchev not bang his shoe." According to Feron, whom I interviewed in 2002, the Soviet leader "leaned over, took off a slip-on shoe, waved it pseudomenacingly, and put it on his desk, but he never banged his shoe."

Did he or didn't he? A KGB general remembered that Khrushchev banged the shoe rhythmically, "like a metronome." A UN staffer claimed Khrushchev didn't remove his shoe ("he couldn't have," she recalled, because the size of his stomach prevented him from reaching under the table), but it fell off when a journalist stepped on his heel. The staffer said she passed the shoe wrapped in a napkin to Khrushchev, after which he did indeed bang it. Viktor Sukhodrev, Khrushchev's brilliant interpreter, remembers that his boss pounded the UN desk so hard with his fists that his watch stopped, at which point, irritated by the fact that some "capitalist lackey" had in effect broken a good watch, Khrushchev took off his shoe and began banging.

When I talked about Khrushchev to veterans of his era in Washington, one eyewitness confirmed the banging. But another eyewitness confirmed the nonbanging. A third, who said heɽ been standing several feet behind the premier, insisted that the heel of the hand that held the shoe slammed the desk but that shoe never actually touched it.

John Loengard, former picture editor for Life magazine, wrote me that he was in a General Assembly booth, along with 10 or so photographers from New York city dailies and national wire services. Loengard is "certain" that Khrushchev "did not bang his shoe on the desk," but that "he certainly meant to do so." According to Loengard, Khrushchev "reached down and took off a brown loafer from his right foot and put it on the desk. He grinned to delegates from the United Arab Republic who sat across the aisle and mimed (with an empty hand) that the next time heɽ use the shoe to bang. I can assure you that every camera in the booth was trained on Khrushchev, waiting for him to use the shoe. He only put it on again and left. None of us missed the picture — which would have been a serious professional error. The event never occurred."

One might think that the controversy could be resolved by television or photo archives. Several years ago, Khrushchev's son, Sergei, asked NBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for a tape of the event, but neither could find one. A former CBS Moscow correspondent told me that his search turned up nothing either. My own Internet quest unearthed a photo of the shoe (a light brown sandal, it turns out) on the UN desk, but none of the former colliding with the latter.

Whether Khrushchev banged or merely brandished, the larger question is how to establish truth in history, or whether it can be established at all. A friend in Moscow, a distinguished medieval historian, reacted to the shoe controversy this way, his tongue only partly in cheek: "If one cannot establish the truth in an event with hundreds of eyewitnesses many of whom are alive and talking, what's the point of reconstructing events centuries old?"

The writer is professor of political science at Amherst College and the author of "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era."

Talk:Shoe-banging incident

I'm surprised this article presents the incident as fact though any number of sources cast doubt on whether the incident actually took place at least as described. Certainly he pounded his fists on the table and at some point he either removed his shoe or it came off on its own. But there seems to be no concrete evidence he actually pounded it on the table. See for example [1].Gr8white (talk) 16:28, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

As a kid, I saw a video of it on TV a few decades after it happened. Or, that's what I remember. K was up on the podium giving a speech about, i dunno, nuclear war or something, and he got more and more agitated, then he started yelling, pounding with his fist against the podium, then he reached down, grabbed his shoe and started banging the heel against the podium as he continued his tirade. "We will bury you. ". "The living will envy the dead!" History, captured on videotape by multiple news channels from around the world.

So I guess it didn't happen that way? I was a kid or a teen when I learned about it. Maybe I saw a picture or a few, and it easily could have been that faked photo (where he's banging the wrong side against the table). And my father was republican, and maybe I heard the republican version of the story. Possibly, over and over again. That was the cold war belief system that kept the US building weapons.

This is just too strange. There must have been at least 100 witnesses to it in the same room, maybe several hundred. Nobody remembers it? No photos? Didn't they have a complete electronic audio system with translators so each diplomat can participate? Nobody tape recorded this? Not even a steno pad? Doesn't the govt of the Phillipines have a record of when Sumulong spoke at the podium? I refuse to believe that the UN doesn't have records of this, or records that could prove it false. I refuse to believe that there wasn't a flurry of letter-writing about it at least, if it really happened. It's not like it was in a small room and they all died and so there's no way to know what really happened. K and S and the moderator and everybody else involved, they all walked out the door that day, still alive, along with each man's entourage, and must have told somebody, if it really happened.

  • I guess the question is whether that is fake.
  • It is notable that, while Khrushchev's behaviour has since been taken as threatening, The Times at the time accused him of "treating the General Assembly as a huge joke, even to the extent of taking off his shoe yesterday, shaking it in the direction of the president and banging his desk with it while chuckling to his colleagues". This fits in with the footage of laughter.
  • In response to the second post above, according to this [2], "The living will envy the dead" was attributed to Khrushchev by Kennedy in 1963, but has never been verified.--Jack Upland (talk) 06:22, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

I gather there's no photo of this incident, but I've just added this page to Category:Wikipedia requested photographs of historical events in the hope that there is. Comet Tuttle (talk) 15:33, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

According to the article cited above there were several photographers poised to capture the incident, and the fact that no photo exists lends credence to the assertion that the banging never actually occurred. Although according to one source there is at least one faked photo on the internet. Gr8white (talk) 03:36, 25 September 2010 (UTC) Here's a reference to the faked photo (about halfway down the page): Gr8white (talk) 03:43, 25 September 2010 (UTC) Found the best-known fake and the AP original, created a collage and added.FeelSunny (talk) 01:22, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

A New York Times Page 1 article from October 13, 1960 claiming he banged it: [3] A New York Times editorial from 2003 which references a photographer from the time claiming it didn't happen: [4]

Oh, the unreliability of human eyewitnesses! --Aervanath (talk) 15:54, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

I suggest that this page be moved to a more approptiate title, for exapmple "UN Shoe Banging Incident" or "Khrushchev Shoe banging incident" (talk) 01:08, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Khrushchev shoe banging incident would probably be an improvement. --BDD (talk) 23:39, 18 September 2012 (UTC) I think it should mention Khrushchev.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:45, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

The photo from the NY Times Store can serve definite proof of this incident. However, it's clearly not available for insertion here on WikiPedia. Question: should it be at least mentioned in the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bornmw (talk • contribs) 04:39, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

The question is, does a photo exist if one has to pay for it. For, indeed, that is the actual question you asked. By that standard, I must not exist, as my official photographs are impossible to find. But, my wife would most certainly disagree with you. More importantly, Wikipedia has more than a few thousand references that are behind paywalls, offering the same issue. Do we revert all paywall references and remove a substantial amount of political and scientific articles from Wikipedia? We obviously do not. We give the citation and on occasion, explanation in the citation.Wzrd1 (talk) 04:43, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for the addition. Next time keep in mind you don't need to ask a permission for an addition of anything relevant and well referenced. -No.Altenmann >t 05:06, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

I don't see how this incident (or these incidents) can be called alleged.

  1. Khrushchev has admitted (for want of a better word) to the incident in his memoirs, though his recollection might be different. His memoirs aren't particularly reliable: for example, he says Roosevelt was an Irish migrant. His family also admits it took place, as does his translator.
  2. There could be several incidents. This [5] states that Macmillan wrote about shoe-banging on 29 September in his memoirs.
  3. The NYT article pinpoints the date of the Sumulong incident at 12 October. Taubman has simply confused the date of the incident with the date of the newspaper. This is a minor error.
  4. Clearly, at least one photo was faked. That doesn't mean that the incident didn't happen: just that no one took a photo at the time. Obviously, it was considered valuable for propaganda purposes.
  5. Part of what's missing in this account is the rowdiness of the session (see the memoirs and John Lewis Gaddis, Now We Know p 182). Perhaps it didn't seem so startling in context.
  6. Differing recollections and discrepancies in historical accounts are normal. They don't indicate that an event didn't happen. Particularly if there were actually several incidents.
  7. Part of this issue is caused by the title: "Shoe-banging incident". It implies there was one incident and that it involved banging. As, I have said, there seems to have been several incidents. The photographer quoted by Taubman says that Khrushchev waved his shoe but didn't bang it. I don't think this amounts to saying the incident didn't happen, but rather it was misreported.--Jack Upland (talk) 22:41, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

I have doubts about the correctness of that RAI video ( At the time 0:15 sec you can see clearly, that there are at least a couple of awards on the right side of the guy. There is no NewYork photos of Khrushchev with two awards on the right side. Sometimes there is one (possibly Lenin Prize medal, like here, but mostly there were none, especially during UN meetings. People around him doesn't resemble people on any other photos (the guy to right slightly looks like Gromyko, but seems older). --Alogrin (talk) 09:57, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

The video might be faked, as were photos, but there seems no doubt that the incident occurred. The article cites 5 different press reports at the time. Taubman in his biography accepts the incident occurred, and Khrushchev discusses it in his memoirs. It happened.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:49, 19 April 2016 (UTC) The issue for this discussion is not whether the shoe-pounding took place, but whether the statement "RAI has video of the incident" is accurate. I agree with Alogrin that the video referenced in the link is of very questionable authenticity, and the language of the statement should reflect that the authenticity of this video has not been verified. Cemcq (talk) 17:17, 10 August 2016 (UTC) This is major broadcaster. If video is fake, this is not our business to do "mythbusting". We report that RAI claims to have it. This is interesting in itself. - üser:Altenmann >t 04:24, 9 August 2016 (UTC) In the context of an article that discusses whether or not an incident took place, it is indeed reasonable to discuss the veracity the evidence. The statement "RAI has video of the incident" is unequivocal, and such video would be the only known visual documentation of the incident. It seems inconsistent to document the doctored photograph of the incident, but allow the link to the RAI to be unquestioned. To say instead "RAI claims to have video" would at least alert the reader that this video is unverified. Cemcq (talk) 17:13, 10 August 2016 (UTC) So, Altenmann, do you object to the removal of the word "alleged" and the references to other dates for the incident?--Jack Upland (talk) 06:32, 9 August 2016 (UTC) At the moment I have no opinion being somewhat busy. Last time I looked at the article a long time ago. But IMO the word "alleged" is misplaced in the first phrase. Even if it is an urban legend, it is known as such. Its veracity may be discussed a bit later. - üser:Altenmann >t 06:44, 9 August 2016 (UTC) I do have concerns about the authenticity of that video. The man banging his shoe does not look like Khrushchev. If you compare it with the footage of K at the podium, his face is not round enough, his nose and forehead are different, and his expression is far more aggressive. It looks like the shoe-banging was spliced into authentic footage. I think saying it is "claimed" or "purported" to show K's shoe-banging is the way to go. We can't suggest it's a fake without a reliable source that says that. I think it is clear that the incident happened, and K confirmed that, but it seems to have been a famous event that no one photographed or filmed. It would be understandable that people faked photos or footage afterwards, particularly given the propaganda value of the event for the West.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:47, 11 August 2016 (UTC) I'm comfortable leaving it at "claimed," although the video is clearly a recreation. There are a number of of issues as you noted, but the kicker is the presence of microphones on the desks in the video. The Dallas Morning News Photoblog from August 11, 2016 features a photograph similar to the one behind the New York Times paywall, which was taken shortly after the incident. It clearly shows the shoe on the desk, but also clearly shows a variety of details from that day that don't match up with the purported video. A wider-angle image (not credited, and I suspect is a copy of the New York Times image used without permission) is at, and shows more clearly how the setting in the video does not match the actual location. Cemcq (talk) 17:32, 11 August 2016 (UTC) Yes, I think it is fake. We have to balance RAI's assertion with the statement by William Taubman that he couldn't find any video evidence.--Jack Upland (talk) 20:05, 11 August 2016 (UTC) Why don't anybody ask RAI about the tape? where it came from, who else is seen, etc. - üser:Altenmann >t 00:53, 12 August 2016 (UTC)

Who is the man in RAI's video footage? Edit

If it is not Nikita Khrushchev in RAI's video footage (at 15 sec), then who is it? And when and where was it recorded? --Bensin (talk) 17:48, 22 November 2017 (UTC)

If it was a recreation, they could have used actors and created a set. That's not a major issue.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:26, 29 March 2018 (UTC) An event noteworthy enough to merit its own article (correctly so, given the extensive media cover of it), and there is claim of authentic video footage of said event, then I'd say there is an issue that need to be addressed. --Bensin (talk) 00:13, 7 April 2019 (UTC) 1. It is clear that the event occurred, despite Taubman's muddying of the waters. Khrushchev confirmed that it did himself. 2. There are a number of fake photos etc. 3. The question whether this is a fake video of a real event or a real video is not greatly important. 4. Still less important is who the act was. Some fat Italian, presumably.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:14, 7 April 2019 (UTC)

As there are multiple sources that confirm that the incident occurred on the 12th, is there any point in canvassing other dates any more?--Jack Upland (talk) 11:57, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

Um. Did you see the thread "Italian public broadcaster RAI's footage of the incident" above? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:18, 8 February 2021 (UTC) @Martinevans123: My lack of copyright information will cause this image to be deleted. Please see the notice. Is there a possibility that the RAI footage is in the public domain and that we can find it? Charles Juvon (talk) 17:42, 14 February 2021 (UTC) I think it's unlikely. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:44, 14 February 2021 (UTC)

No, Khrushchev didn’t say this about Americans 60 years ago

If Your Time is short

&bull There is no evidence Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev said this quote about &ldquogullible&rdquo Americans being fed &ldquosmall doses of socialism.&rdquo

&bull Similar quotes have been attributed to Khrushchev without proof for years.

In a recent social media post, Nikki Haley — former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. — attributed a nefarious-sounding quote about socialism to Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev.

"Khrushchev 60 years ago…" she wrote in the Oct. 5 Facebook post, before continuing on to provide the supposed Khrushchev quote:

"Your children's children will live under communism. You Americans are so gullible. No, you won't accept communism outright but, we will keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you will finally wake up and find you already have Communism."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

There is no evidence Khrushchev, who led the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, ever said this about Americans, though this quote and similar ones have been attributed to Khrushchev by people including President Ronald Reagan and staunch anti-communist Ezra Taft Benson, former secretary of agriculture.

PolitiFact attempted to reach out to Haley on social media and through the organization she founded, Stand For America, to see if she had evidence to back up her claim. She did not respond to our request for comment.

In the Nikita Khrushchev section of a book titled "They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions," a version of this quote is listed:

"You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept Communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of Socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have Communism. We won’t have to fight you. We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like an overripe fruit into our hands."

According to the book, the quote emerged and began circulating in the 1960s.

In 1961, Reagan — who was an actor and TV host at the time — attributed a version of the quote to Khrushchev in a speech, without providing evidence of its origin:

The 60's Timeline: a brief overview of events

One of the things that I would like to do is offer a bit of timeline history on the glorious decade of the sixties. It's funny how I can remember certain events and when I became aware of them. That distinct awareness deceives me into believing that I have a referential timeline as to when things were invented, or introduced. For example, I can recall being remotely aware of zip codes in the late sixties, when in fact they were introduced much earlier.

Here, history presents itself to our scrutinous eyes as we re-live world events that so makes up the chemistry and essence of our very Boomer being. The history is interesting, wierd, and fun. Most important however, is that we lived through it all, and were able to see some of the most significant, beautiful, tragic, and fascinating happenings of all time. These events, served up on a platter of memory, belong solely to us, the forever spawning "Generation X", the "Baby Boomers", the ambassadors of a new and exciting decade.

This timeline is intended to be a fun reminder of just what happened when we were young and rocking this great planet of ours. So, with that all said and done, shall we go back in time? Let's do.

1. Murderer/Writer Caryl Chessman is executed.
2. Sprite is introduced by Coca-Cola.
3. In Greensboro, North Carolina, four black students begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Although they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the Southern United States, and 6 months later the original 4 protesters are served lunch at the same counter.
4. J oanne Woodward receives the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
5. After a two-year stint, Elvis Presley returns from Germany.
6. President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law.
7. The Beatles begin a forty-eight night engagement at the Indra Club in Hamburg, West Germany.
8. Cold War trivia: Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a table at a United Nations General Assembly meeting, protesting discussion of Soviet Union policy toward Eastern Europe.
9. The Polaris missile is test-launched.
10. "The Flintstones" who were often compared to "The Honeymooners" air on television.
11. France tests its first A Bomb in the Sahara desert.

1. The Beatles' first record, "My Bonnie" with Tony Sheridan, is released by Polydor.
2. Adolf Eichmann is hanged in Israel.
3. The Rolling Stones make their debut at London's Marquee Club, Number 165 Oxford Street, 4. John Lennon secretly marries Cynthia Powell.
5. Dr. No, the first James Bond film, premiers in UK theaters.
6. October 12 - The infamous Columbus Day Storm strikes the U. S. Pacific Northwest with wind
gusts up to 170 mph (270 km/h) 46 dead, 11 billion board feet of timber is
blown down, with $230 million U.S. in damages.
7. October 14 - Cuban Missile Crisis begins: A U-2 flight over Cuba takes photos of Soviet
nuclear weapons being installed. A stand-off then ensues the next day between the United
States and the Soviet Union, threatening the world with nuclear war.
8. October 22 - In a televised address, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces to the nation the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.
9. October 28 - Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announces that he has ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.
10. The term "Personal computer" is first mentioned by the media.
11. The films "American Graffiti" and "Animal House" are set in 1962.
American Broadcasting Company (ABC) begins color telecast for 3.5 hours a week.
12. Diet Rite is the first sugar-free soda introduced.
13. Pull tabs on cans are introduced.
1. President Kennedy is assasinated. Stores and businesses shut down for the entire weekend and Monday, in tribute.
2. Congress enacts "equal pay for equal work" legislature for women.
3. Two thirds of the world's automobiles are in the United States.
4. Film goddess Marilyn Monroe is found dead of an apparent overdose. It becomes the most controversial death on record.
5. The Whisky a Go Go night club in Los Angeles, California, the first disco in the United States, is opened.
6. A large cloud that some say resembles the face of Jesus is seen on Sunset Mountain, Arizona.
7. In Camden, Tennessee, Country superstar Patsy Cline (Virginia Patterson Hensley) is killed in a plane crash along with fellow performers Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and Cline's manager and pilot Randy Hughes while returning from a benefit performance in Kansas City, KS for country radio disc jockey "Cactus" Jack Call.
8. Martin Luther King, Jr. issues his "Letter from Birmingham Jail".
9. The Coca-Cola Company debuts its first diet drink, TaB cola.
10. Dr. No, the first James Bond film, was shown in US theaters.
11. In Saigon, Buddhist monk Thich Quong Doc commits self-immolation to protest the oppression of Buddhists by the Ngo Dinh Diem administration.
12. ZIP Codes are introduced in the U.S.
13. The first episode of the BBC television series Doctor Who is broadcast in the United Kingdom.
14. I Want to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There are released in the U.S., marking the beginning of full-scale Beatlemania.
1. Ford Motors introduces the "Mustang".
2. Studebaker-Packard introduce seat belts as standard equipment.
3. Plans to build the New York World Trade Center are announced.
4. The Beatles vault to the #1 spot on the U.S. singles charts for the first time, with "I Want to Hold Your Hand," forever changing the way rock-and-roll music sounds.The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, marking their first live performance on American television. Seen by an estimated 73 million viewers, the appearance becomes the catalyst for the mid-1960s "British Invasion" of American popular music.
5. Malcolm X, suspended from the Nation of Islam, says in New York City that he is forming a black nationalist party.
6. The Beatles hold the top 5 positions in the Billboard Top 40 singles in America, an unprecedented achievement. Due mostly to the explosive growth, fragmentation, and marketing of popular music since, this is certain to never happen again. The top songs in America as listed on April 4, in order, are: "Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "Please Please Me."
7. From Russia With Love was shown in US theaters.
8. Country singer Jim Reeves (40) is killed when his private plane crashes in thunderstorm near Nashville Tennessee.
9. 5 billion dollars worth of vending machine sales.
1. Medicare bill passes.
2. 34 people die in Watts ghetto riot.
3. 190,000 troops are in Vietnam.
4. 32,000 people make 54-mile "freedom march" from Selma to Montgomery.
5. Malcolm X is assassinated on the first day of National Brotherhood Week, at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, allegedly by Black Muslims.
6. In Cold Blood killers Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, convicted of murdering 4 members of the Herbert Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, are executed by hanging at the Kansas State
7. Bob Dylan elicits controversy among folk purists by "going electric" at the Newport Folk Festival.
8. Jefferson Airplane debuts at the Matrix in San Francisco, California and begins to appear there regularly.
9. The Beatles performed the first stadium concert in the history of rock, playing at Shea Stadium in New York.
10. At the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, 66 ex-SS personnel receive life sentences, 15 others smaller ones.
Rock musician Bob Dylan releases his influential album Highway 61 Revisited, featuring the song "Like a Rolling Stone."
11. The soap opera Days of our Lives debuts on NBC.
12. A Charlie Brown Christmas, the first Peanuts television special, debuts on CBS.
1. Taster's Choice freeze dried coffee is introduced.
2. The fourth of four lost H Bombs is found off the Spanish coast.
3. U.S. troop strength in Vietnam is 400,000. U.S. deaths: 6,358. Enemy deaths: 77,115.
4. The first Acid Test is conducted at the Fillmore, San Francisco.
5. The Beatles: In an interview published in The London Evening Standard, John Lennon comments, "We're more popular than Jesus now," eventually sparking a controversy in the United States.
6. United States president Lyndon Johnson signs the 1966 Uniform Time Act act dealing with Daylight Saving Time.
7. The Church of Satan is formed by Anton Szandor LaVey in San Francisco.
8. The final new episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show airs.
9. Bob Dylan breaks his neck and nearly dies in a motorcycle accident near Woodstock, New York. He isn't seen in public for over a year.
10. The Beatles play their very last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.
11. Star Trek, the classic science fiction television series, debuts with its first episode, titled "The Man Trap."
12. Grace Slick performs live for the first time with Jefferson Airplane.
13. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, narrated by Boris Karloff, is shown for the first time on CBS. It will become an annual Christmas tradition, and the best-loved film ever based on a Dr. Seuss book.
1. Rolling Stone Magazine is founded.
2. Communist China announces the H Bomb.
3. Dr. Christian Barnard performs the first heart transplant.
4. Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler", is convicted of numerous crimes and sentenced to life in prison.
5. Human Be-In takes place in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco event sets the stage for the Summer of Love.
6. The Doors' first album is released.
7. In Houston, Texas, boxer Muhammad Ali refuses military service.
8. Jimmy Hoffa begins his 8-year sentence for attempting to bribe a jury.
9. Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu are married in Las Vegas.
10. The album Are You Experienced is released by The Jimi Hendrix Experience in the United Kingdom.
11. Pink Floyd releases their debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn."
12. Jim Morrison and The Doors defy CBS censors on The Ed Sullivan Show, when Morrison sings the word "higher" from their #1 hit Light My Fire, despite having been asked not to.
13. Love Is a Many Splendored Thing debuts on U.S. daytime television and is the first soap opera to deal with an interracial relationship. CBS censors find it too controversial and ask for it to be stopped, causing show creator Irna Phillips to quit.
14. Walt Disney's full-length animated feature The Jungle Book, the last animated film personally supervised by Disney, is released and becomes an enormous box office and critical success. On a double bill with the film is the (now) much less well-known True-Life Adventure, Charlie the Lonesome Cougar.
15. LSD declared an illegal by the United States government.
1. Richard Nixon is elected President.
2. The 1st class postage stamp raises to 6 cents.
3. Robert Kennedy is assasinated in California. Sirhan Sirhan is apprehended on the spot.
4. Johnny Cash records "Live at Folsom Prison".
5. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities for several days afterward.
6. The musical Hair officially opens on Broadway.
7. he soap opera One Life to Live premieres on ABC. The show featured Tommy Lee Jones and Lawrence Fishburne.
8. Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d'état.
9. The White Album is released by The Beatles.
10. The film Oliver!, based on the hit London and Broadway musical, opens in the U.S. after being released first in England. It will go on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
11. The Zodiac Killer is believed to have shot Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on Lake Herman Road, Benicia, San Francisco Bay, California.
1. Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.
2. 624 pairs of panty hose are produced.
3. After 147 years, the last issue of The Saturday Evening Post is published.
4. The Woodstock Music and Art Fair is held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre farm near Bethel, N.Y. August 15th- 18th. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors in front of 500,000 concert-goers
5. At the Academy Awards ceremony for films released in 1968, a tie between Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand results in the 2 sharing the Best Actress Oscar Hepburn also becomes the only actress to win 3 Best Actress Oscars. The film version of Oliver! wins Best Picture.
6. The film Easy Rider premieres.
7. Project Apollo: The Eagle lands on the lunar surface. The world watches in awe as Neil Armstrong takes his historic first steps on the Moon and erects first flagpoles in outer space to fly the American flag
8. Members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder Sharon Tate, (who was 8 months pregnant), and her friends Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Jay Sebring at Tate and husband Roman Polanski's home in Los Angeles, California. Steven Parent, leaving from a visit to the Polanskis' caretaker, is also killed. More than 100 stab wounds are found on the victims, except for Parent, who had been shot almost as soon as the Manson Family entered the property.
9. The Manson Family kills Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, wealthy businesspeople who live in another section of Los Angeles.
10. Monty Python's Flying Circus airs its first episode on the BBC.
11. The pilot episode of The Brady Bunch, starring Robert Reed and Florence Henderson, airs on United States TV.
12. Wal-Mart incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
13. The Children's Television Workshop's educational television program Sesame Street is premiered in the United States.
14. John Lennon returns his OBE to protest the British government's support of the U.S. war in Vietnam.
15. The Manson family "hippie cult" is charged with the Tate-LaBianca murders.
16. The Altamont Free Concert is held at the Altamont Speedway in northern California. Hosted by the Rolling Stones, it is an attempt at a "Woodstock West" and is best known for the uproar of violence that occurred. It is viewed by many as the "end of the sixties."

The Top 10: Things politicians have brandished in speeches

Suggested by Jonathan Isaby, after Boris Johnson waved a kipper at his final leadership election hustings.

1. Piece of paper: Neville Chamberlain. Heston aerodrome, 1938. “This morning I had another talk with the German chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine.” Nominated by Arieh Kovler, Phil Riley and Adrian McMenamin.

2. His shoe: Nikita Khrushchev. He banged it on the desk at the United Nations in 1960. This was while making a point of order, rather than a speech, but it counts. Graham Kirby said Harold Macmillan, British prime minister, asked for a translation.

3. Feather duster: Margaret Thatcher. Conservative Party Conference, Blackpool, 1975. The new leader of the opposition used it to “sweep away the dirt of lingering socialism” from the lectern – during Willie Whitelaw’s speech, rather than her own. Thanks to Steve Martin.

4. Handcuffs: Edwina Currie. Conservative Party Conference, Blackpool, 1981. She was demanding a tougher policy on law and order of Willie Whitelaw, the home secretary.


5. Principles bag: David Hunt. Conservative Party Conference in the 1990s. The cabinet minister in John Major’s government said the bag, from Principles, the fashion shop, “was Labour’s principles, then turned it inside out to show it was empty before discarding it”, said Danny Finkelstein.

6. Leg of lamb: Ian Liddell-Grainger. Conservative Party Conference, Blackpool, 1999. Held up on the conference stage by the “wild-eyed” Devon representative (The Guardian), now an MP (since 2001). He was protesting against Labour’s farming policy.

7. Financial Times: Francis Maude. Also at Conservative Party Conference, 1999. The shadow chancellor “theatrically shredded” an old copy of the newspaper which reported Gordon Brown’s promise to cut tax.

8. Snowball: James Inhofe. US Senate, 2015. Senators are always bringing in visual aids – often pictures – in a doomed attempt to liven up their dull speeches. The Republican senator for Oklahoma brought a snowball to the Senate floor to gain attention (successfully) for his claim that climate change is not real. Nominated by Sam Wilson.


9. Lump of coal: Scott Morrison. Australian parliament, 2017. The Liberal finance minister held it up to show “how the government in Canberra was going to keep the lights on, and keep power prices low, and stop the relentless march of socialism, or prevent random thought crimes against base-load power stations”, according to The Guardian. Thanks to Richard Edinger.

10. Part of Iranian drone: Benjamin Netanyahu. International security conference, Germany, 2018. The Israeli prime minister often illustrates his speeches at the UN with pictures, documents and cartoons, but this time it was a piece of wreckage from a drone he said was shot down in Israel. Nominated by David Webster, Eylon Levy and Omer Lev.

Next week: More Twitter jokes.

Coming soon: Backing musicians, such as Mick Jagger on “You’re So Vain”.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to [email protected]

From Khrushchev's Shoe to Powell's Tube: Global Politics' Most Iconic Symbols

Sometimes it’s not the politicians’ decisions that make headlines… Here’s a special selection of the most resonant incidents, which will inevitably dig deep into the annals of history.

Khrushchev&rsquos Shoe-Banging at the UN

The infamous incident allegedly happened at the United Nations in October 1960: according to the most popular version, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev pulled off his shoe and began banging it on the desk, reacting to a speech by a Philippine delegate who criticized the USSR&rsquos policy. While some media published photographic &ldquoevidence,&rdquo that appeared to have been photoshopped. This is when many started wondering whether the shoe-banging incident had happened at all.

According to Khrushchev&rsquos son Sergei, he failed to find any photo or video evidence of the incident despite the fact that the room was full of reporters. Sergei recalled that a UN staffer explained that someone tapped on his father&rsquos heel, which left him without a shoe when she retrieved it, wrapped it in a napkin and gave it back to Khrushchev, he was unable to put it back on and had to hold it under his desk for a while.

Another version outlined by a New York correspondent, Benjamin Welles, suggested that Khrushchev threw the shoe at the Philippine delegate, reacting to his remarks, and then banged the shoe on his desk, while a Times reporter, James Feron, who was present at the UN, argued that he did not see the Soviet leader bang his shoe, but he had waved it and put it back on his table.

Colin Powell&rsquos Aluminum Fake Poison Tube

What is so special about an aluminum tube? One would say nothing. However, fifteen years ago a small vial became the reason for the beginning of a bloody war in Iraq. During a United Nations Security Council session, then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell demonstrated a plastic tube of white powder poison, anthrax, as proof that Saddam Hussein had concealed his weapons of mass destruction program.

The weapons were never found and the program appeared to be nonexistent the fabricated evidence will go down in history as the US&rsquo rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Lost in Translation: &ldquoOvercharged&rdquo Button

In March 2009, then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented a big red reset button fixed to a yellow box to her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a bid to break the ice between the two countries. Hillary described the gift as a symbol of the Obama Administration&rsquos willingness to &ldquoreset&rdquo bilateral relations. It, however, appeared that Washington got lost in the great and rich Russian language: when Clinton asked Lavrov if the caption to the button, written in Russian, was right, the minister pointed out the mistake and smiled. The word the US chose, &ldquoperegruzka,&rdquo meant &ldquoovercharged&rdquo or &ldquooverloaded&rdquo as opposed to &ldquoreset,&rdquo the correct version of which should have been "perezagruzka."

While the pair laughed and joked about the gaffe, insisting that the countries had reached an agreement on how to reset ties, relations between Russia and the United States have only deteriorated since then.

Tie-Chewing Saakashvili

The five-day war between Georgia and South Ossetia in August 2008 made world headlines, and probably then-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was pretty concerned over the aggravating situation in the conflict area. While holding clearly a stressful phone conversation, Saakashvili was spotted putting his red tie in his mouth and &ldquoeating&rdquo it on a BBC live broadcast. The footage showing the gesture, apparently meaning that the president was on the brink of nervous breakdown, went viral, solidifying Saakashvili&rsquos &ldquolegacy&rdquo in memes.

Pretzel That Choked & Bruised George Bush

In January 2002, the former President of the United States was watching a football game on TV between the Dolphins and the Ravens when he suddenly lost consciousness after he had fallen off the couch while choking on the salty snack.

&ldquoI hit the deck and woke up and there were Barney and Spot [Bush&rsquos dogs] showing a lot of concern,&rdquo he told reporters shortly after the incident, proudly sporting a reddish bruise on his cheek.

He quickly came to senses after having passed out, the doctors explained that Bush&rsquos pulse was lower than normal, which made him more vulnerable to fainting when the pretzel stimulated a nerve and it got caught in his throat.

&ldquoMy mother always said when you&rsquore eating pretzels, chew before you swallow,&rdquo he joked back then.

Netanyahu&rsquos Felt Pen to Draw a &lsquoRed Line&rsquo on Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu&rsquos red felt pen became a symbol illustrating the Iranian nuclear threat: during the session of the UN General Assembly in September 2012, the Israeli Prime Minister drew a line to mark the threshold that Israel could tolerate.

&ldquoThe red line should be drawn right here&hellip Before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb,&rdquo Netanyahu said, equipped with the red pen to illustrate his words.

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