20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held during the period 14–25 February 1956. It is known especially for First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech", which denounced the personality cult and dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.[1]

Delegates at this Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were given no advance warning of what to expect. Indeed, proceedings were opened by First Secretary Khruschev's call for all to stand in memory of the Communist leaders who had died since the previous Congress, in which he mentioned Stalin in the same breath as Klement Gottwald. Hints of a new direction only came out gradually over the next ten days, which had the effect of leaving those present highly perplexed. The Polish communist leader Bolesław Bierut died in Moscow shortly after attending the 20th Congress.

The congress elected the 20th Central Committee.