“We Will Bury You!” Was Nikita Khrushchev Right?

Nikita Khrushchev is usually remembered as the combative premier of the Soviet Union during the days of Sputnik and the Cold War. He’s also the Soviet leader who went toe to toe with John F. Kennedy during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

But Khrushchev is also remembered for four words he spoke during a diplomatic reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow on November 18, 1956—four words that endured and defined him until his death in 1971 at the age of 77.

“We will bury you,” Khrushchev promised several stunned Western ambassadors in attendance.

“We will bury you!”

Those words made headlines in nearly every newspaper and in every language in the world.

I recall them vividly.

No, I wasn’t at that gathering in Poland. I was in middle school in Prairie Village, Kansas and I remember my 8th-grade teacher, Mrs. Gooch, telling the class that it would be our responsibility someday to make sure that Khrushchev’s threat never materialized.

“Communism is an evil and godless system and if it ever takes hold in America you may not even know it,” she told us holding up the front page of the Kansas City Times with a headline containing Khrushchev’s words. “Then it will be too late.”

I remember that we students looked at one another wondering what Mrs. Gooch meant.

Today I know exactly what she meant because we are witnessing the grievous erosion of our democracy and the ascent of socialism—aided and abetted by an irrational and clueless president.

Of course, a lot of what Nikita Khrushchev said was just so much bombast. He was good at that.

For example, there was the time in 1960 when he dramatically removed his shoe during a United Nations General Assembly meeting and pounded it on his desk to protest anti-Soviet remarks by a Philippine delegate.

Khrushchev pounding his shoe at the U.N.

Khrushchev could always be counted on for a few good headlines. But the “we will bury you” phrase is the one most people remember.

Today, as I watch what is transpiring in America, I wonder if Khrushchev’s threat is in fact coming to fruition.

Then I wondered what other threats or promises Khrushchev made during his time as the old Soviet Union’s premier that might ring true today.

So I did a search of quotations attributed to him and found a few that appear to amplify his “we will bury you” threat. I did not personally hear Khrushchev say any of these things, but others have attributed them to him.

Here are a few:

  • “We do not have to invade the United States, we will destroy you from within.”
  • “We can’t expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of socialism until they awaken one day to find that they have communism.”
  • “The United States will eventually fly the Communist red flag…The American people will hoist it themselves.”
  • “I can prophecy that your grandchildren in America will live under socialism — Our firm conviction is that sooner or later Capitalism will give way to Socialism. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side.”
  • “We will divide and confuse the American people until they have lost faith in their Government, their nation has ceased to be a major world power, and their country is ripe for revolution.”
    Khrushchev looking a lot like Don Rickles
  • “Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all.”
  • “The United States now sleeps under a Soviet moon.”
  • “Support by United States rulers is rather in the nature of the support that the rope gives to a hanged man.”
  • “The USA and USSR will only agree when shrimps learn to fly.”
  • “President Roosevelt proved that a President could serve for life. Truman proved that anyone could be elected. Eisenhower proved that your country can be run without a President.”

Khrushchev is long gone, but his words remain worth thinking about.

So do these words attributed to Khrushchev’s predecessor, Joseph Stalin:

“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If you can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

Khrushchev & Joseph Stalin

It appears to me that all three of those areas are already compromised and conceded.

Patriotism today is considered subversive and seditious by our president and government; morality has been mostly abandoned in favor of a warped paroxysm of American debauchery and decadence; and God has been cast out by our nation’s secular elites and the socialist swamp creatures that inhabit Washington.

When Khrushchev was removed from office in a bloodless coup in 1964 he reportedly asked his political enemies, “What are you going to do now? Crucify me on a cross like Christ?”

Khrushchev instead survived under limited house arrest for the rest of his life and lived long enough to write his memoirs.

I wonder what the old communist would think about America today as it moves ever closer to his bleak assessment of more than 60 years ago.

After all, it’s not Russians who are burying us. We Americans are doing the job ourselves.






About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here

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