Cold Warrior Nikita Khrushchev best captured the pugnacious power of footwear when he slapped his shoe in rage on the table at the United Nations’ New York headquarters during the politically frigid fall of 1960.
It occurred during a debate of a Russian resolution decrying colonialism. A Philippines’ representative charged the Soviets with employing a double standard, pointing to their colonial domination of Eastern Europe. In response, Khrushchev took off one of his shoes and began to furiously pound the table.
The chaotic scene finally ended when General Assembly President Frederick Boland (Ireland) broke his gavel calling the meeting to order. The image of Khrushchev as a hotheaded buffoon was indelibly etched into America’s collective memory.
Khrushchev has been imitated by boardroom bullies ever since.
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