It can be argued that the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s was a result of ideological differences, with Khrushchev’s de-Stalinisation and Mao’s ‘Cultural Revolution’ leading the other to denounce the opponent’s mode of communism. Whilst the national interests between the two caused tensions and led to the realistic prospect of nuclear conflict, it was the ideological differences of the Sino-Soviet relationship that caused the events. Similarly, the personalities and rivalries of China and the USSR can be explained in the same way and whilst they certainly exacerbated the Sino-Soviet situation, the argument fails to take into account what caused the argument to exist in the first place – ...view middle of the document...
More importantly, however, with the USSR denouncing the revolution as total fanaticism and accusing Mao of creating a state of anarchy, the severance of diplomatic and trade links (1966) is clear evidence that the revolution caused the USSR to disassociate themselves with a China that had not only insulted the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, but also the Soviet Union.
It is clear that the ideological differences between the two created an unbridgeable gulf by instigating an ideological power rivalry. The stark contrast in the two modes of communism was the reason for this. With each nation claiming to be the true communist world power, as well as insults to the other’s ideology, the Sino-Soviet relationship could not be sustained.
The Taiwan Straits Crisis (1958) was an example of differing attitudes of Mao and Khrushchev towards the West. Khrushchev’s refusal to support China in the crisis to the full extent convinced Mao that Khrushchev could not be relied upon to advance China’s strategic interests. Much like the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), the events of the Taiwan Straits Crisis showed Mao that Khrushchev was in favour of compromising with the West rather than world revolution. On the other side, Khrushchev saw a leader in Mao who acted rashly and risked nuclear war with the USA – a strong incentive for Khrushchev to end his relationship with Mao as Chinese foreign policy clearly rejected the USSR’s peaceful coexistence.
The detonation of the first Chinese atomic bomb (1964) showed the USSR that China had achieved independently, with the Soviet’s refusal to aid Mao’s nuclear programme. The Soviets were now faced with an independent socialist nuclear rival. The nuclear parity with the USSR gave Mao the confidence that China could compete with the world’s most powerful nations and was now not only militarily equal but ideologically superior. In his eyes, an alliance with the Soviet Union was no longer unnecessary – Mao had only initiated an agreement with Stalin in 1950 with the sole interests of China at heart. Now that these interests had been achieved an alliance was no longer needed.
The strategic and military reasons for the split offer a solid argument as to why the Sino-Soviet split occurred. However, whilst the events concerned contributed to the deterioration and lapse in relations, it is clear the Taiwan Straits Crisis was essentially an ideological issue and that the nuclear rivalry was driven by Mao’s eagerness to gain recognition as a respectable and independent communist state.
The personalities and rivalries of the Sino-Soviet situation played some role in the split of the 1960s with a clear personal dislike between the two countries deepening with time.
The meetings of Mao...