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Nikita Khrushchev led the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964. He was responsible for relaxing some of the more draconian elements of Stalinist domestic policy and was also an early supporter of the Soviet space program.

But what most people remember is his pounding his shoe on the table at the United Nations in 1960. This outburst was typical of his flamboyant behavior whenever a microphone was in front of him.

One such outburst occurred in 1956, when Khrushchev was addressing Western ambassadors at the Polish embassy in Moscow. He was as combative as ever, telling his audience that that Communism's defeat of capitalism was inevitable.

"History is on our side," he said. "We will bury you." Thirty-three years later, Communism collapsed, and two years after that the Soviet Union was dissolved.

Photo: Keystone | Hulton Archive | Getty ImagesInset: Roger Viollet | Getty Images