Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev's tale of his rise to power was a long one, and very humbling. He was the son of a very poor farmer, and was born under the thatched roof of his grandfather's mud hut in a small village called Kalinovka, Russia. Khrushchev's grandfather was also a farmer, but was a serf to his master until Tzar Alexander II abolished it in 1861. When Khrushchev was fourteen, his father decided to abandon farming altogether and moved the family to a small industrial town in Ukraine named Yuzovka. While there, he worked as a miner in the local coal mine and when Khrushchev was old enough, reserved him a job as a fitter and mechanic in the local Bosse factory owned by a German company. It was here that Khrushchev realized how primitive Russian peasant life was compared to Western European technology (Paloczi-Horvath 15).
By 1914, tensions in Europe were at an all time high, and erupted finally in the same year. Although drafting was in effect during the time, Khrushchev's job was considered too important to the wartime effort to send him into combat. Khrushchev continued his work as a fitter and became increasingly active in the revolutionary activity that was sweeping across Russia (Gottfried 23).
For the next three years, Khrushchev supported the Red cause and aided them when he could and the time for revolution came in 1917, when the credibility of the government was doubted by nearly everyone. Civil War was waged between the Red Army, Bolshevik revolutionaries who wanted swift and immediate change to Communism (violent change if needed), and the White Army, that of the old Monarchy and the revolutionaries whose views differed from the Red Army. In 1918, Khrushchev joined Lenin's Red Army and began to gain respect as a useful and loyal figure in the eyes of his superiors. By 1920, the Red Bolsheviks won out against the old king and set up a Socialist country (Schlesinger, Jr 33).
After the war, Khrushchev returned to Yuzovka and was appointed to assistant manager of the coal mine that had been taken over by the Russian workers. Faced with disorder in the organization of the workers and finding it hard to meet production deadlines, he began to attend the Donets Mining Technical School (Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia 359). His skill as an organizer and administrator truly emerged during his time as an assistant manager, but his lack of scholarly education was an obstacle to his career. As a member of a party whose supporters were expected to be familiar with the works of Karl Marx, a nineteenth century philosopher whose ideas formed the basis of Communism, he found himself at a serious disadvantage. He began to study Marx's Communist Manifesto (Paloczi-Horvath 30). In 1923, His studying paid off when he was assigned to the position of secretary of the school's Communist party organization. By this time Khrushchev had grasped the basic understanding of Marxist thought. However, he always retained his common sense as a worker and didn't focus exclusively on the theory (Schlesinger, Jr 42). The newly formed Russian government was changed forever just a year later as Vladimir Lenin died on January 24, 1924. His successor was not clearly given, and thus, a competition between his successors began. A man by the name of Stalin rose above the rest as he eliminated his rivals and claimed dictator of the Soviet Union. Due to his loyalty to the cause, one of Stalin's officials appointed Khrushchev as the Communist party secretary of the Yuzovka region (Gottfried 57). For the next...