1959: Nikita Khrushchev Barred from Visiting Disneyland

1959: Nikita Khrushchev Barred from Visiting Disneyland
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 19 September 1959
  • Khrushchev was the first Soviet leader to visit the United States of America. His tour lasted 13 days. He visited Hollywood, met Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. He even visited one American farm, and met with the chairman of IBM, but couldn't visit Disneyland.

The powerful Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited the USA in 1959, during the Cold War.

The visit lasted 13 days. Earlier this year, when the U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon visited Moscow, invited Khrushchev to visit the USA.

Khrushchev flew to America on September 15, 1959, and became the first Soviet leader to visit the USA. He was guest of the U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (who was president from 1953 to 1961).

Khrushchev had a very busy schedule in the USA. He visited New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Iowa, Pittsburgh, as well as the capital city of Washington.

It is interesting to note that he even visited one supermarket in San Francisco, and local farm of Roswell Garst in Iowa. This farmer was known for his hybrid maize seed production, and Khrushchev organized planting the corn on large state farms in the USSR.

During his tour, which practically became something akin to a circus, Khrushchev met Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra (in the middle of the filming of “Can-Can”), and Marilyn Monroe, whose bosses told her to wear the hottest dress for that occasion.

Khrushchev wanted to visit the famous Disneyland in California, located in the small town of Anaheim near Los Angeles.

However, he wasn’t allowed to visit Disneyland because of the “security reasons”. Apparently, Walt Disney was a hardcore anti-communist, and did not want the Soviet leader to visit “his” Disneyland.

Khrushchev visited the IBM headquarters, and met with its chairman Thomas Watson, also called the “biggest capitalist in history”. The IBM’s artificially intelligent computer system (IBM Watson) was named after him.

It is interesting to note that Khrushchev wasn’t so interested in computers, but the self-service coffee shop attracted his attention. Later, he organized similar self-service activities in the USSR.

At the end of his visit, Khrushchev met with President Eisenhower at Camp David, the famous presidential retreat in wooded hills (Maryland).

It is interesting to note that the Camp David was named after the president’s father and grandson, both named David.

Khrushchev returned home convinced that he developed a strong personal relationship with Eisenhower. He thought that he could achieve a peaceful agreement with the Americans.

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