Since 1947, Nikita Khrushchev had played an important role in Soviet politics, with Stalin placing him as the head of agricultural production. This signified the trust between the two men, allowing Khrushchev to become First secretary of the communist party following Stalin’s death in 1953.
Whereas President Kennedy was responsible for maintaining peace during the height of the Cold War in 1962, Khrushchev sought to assert his dominance, causing the onset of the Cuban Missile crisis. This crisis arose due to Khrushchev’s decision to place missiles in Cuba, only 90 miles away from the coast of Florida in America.
During the crisis, Khrushchev at first stood firm against J F Kennedy, with both countries fearing the worst. When he did however back down it greatly weakened his political position as Soviet leader despite the fact that he made America promise to never to invade Cuba. Whereas John F. Kennedy was a respectable, elected leader that continued Truman and Eisenhower’s policy of containment, Khrushchev had trouble breaking out of Stalin’s shadow.
US capitalism allowed Kennedy to rule without his choices being questioned whereas Khrushchev was not a dictator like Stalin, being the first secretary of the Soviet Union’s communist party (a much wider board of people) meaning he could not be as assertive as his rival. Khrushchev was pushed out of office in October 1964 due to his weakness surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, spending the rest of his life in retirement until his death in 1971.