January 2, 1959: Fidel Castro and his rebel forces, having overthrown Batista’s corrupt but US friendly regime, take control of Cuba.
July 1959: Vice President Richard Nixon flies into Moscow and spends the night at Premier Khruschev’s dacha. The next day they engage in their impromptu “kitchen debate” at the US National Exhibition in Moscow.
September 1959: A major Cold War thaw is indicated by the debut of the animated television series Rocky and His Friends, an ABC afternoon broadcast which brings the first broad lampoons of Soviet spies — Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale — to the youth of America.
September 14, 1959: The Russians successfully hit the Sea of Tranquillity on the moon with an 858 pound missile.
September 15, 1959: Khrushchev visits Eisenhower in Washington, and, in a puckish mood, tells CIA Director Allen Dulles, “I believe we get the same reports — probably from the same people.” Dulles is not amused. The premier then proceeds to Los Angeles where he visits Hollywood. His visit to Disneyland, though, is cancelled because of security concerns. San Francisco, Des Moines (where Khrushchev eats his first hotdog), and the presidential retreat at Camp David complete the premier’s tour. It all seems to signal a thaw in the Cold War.