The Sino -Soviet Split

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					The Sino-Soviet Split
                    Sino-Soviet Split
•   In the immediate years after the People’s
    Republic of China was proclaimed, the Soviet
    Union became its closest ally, united in
    Communism. The Soviets offered equipment
    and skilled labor to help industrialize and
    modernize the PRC. Eventually, the Chinese
    realised that the help that they were actually
    receiving from the Soviets was much less than
    what they had anticipated. Other factors such
    as differing policies in various areas also
•   The Sino- Soviet split was a major diplomatic
    and occasionally military conflict between the                  "All people of the world unite, to
    PRC and the Union of Soviet Socialist                           overthrow American imperialism, to
    Republics (USSR), beginning in the late 1950s,                  overthrow Soviet revisionism, to
    reaching a peak in 1960-1969 and continuing in                  overthrow the reactionaries of all
    various ways until the late 1980s.                              nations!"
                                                                    Chinese propaganda poster, 1969
•   It led to a parallel split in the international
    Communist movement, although it may have
    had as much to do with Chinese and Soviet
    national interests as with the two countries'
    respective communist ideologies.
    General Differences: Geo-political and historical
differences between Chinese and Russian Revolutions

• The different levels of development of the productive forces was a
  main difference in the two Revolutions.
    – In 1956-1960, the USSR was at a stage of development in which
      productive forces were no longer able to develop an economy in
      isolation from the world’s economy, while China was at an earlier stage
      in their construction of a planned economy.
• The dominant role of the peasantry in the Chinese revolution, as
  opposed to the Russian Revolution.
    – The working class was the leading force in both cases, but the Russian
      Revolution was made in the cities, and was taken out to the countryside;
      whereas the Chinese Revolution was made in the countryside, and
      brought in from the countryside to the cities.
• The different perspective in relation to imperialism.
    – The USSR now felt slightly less threatened, both internally and
      externally, and would not shun trade with the West, while the Chinese
      felt more immediately threatened by imperialism perceived and real.

Partners in Communism: Early Sino-Soviet Relations
•1949: PRC and USSR signed the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance
and Mutual Assistance, which stated, according to a summary on the website of
the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

 “The Two Contracting Parties undertake to carry out jointly all necessary measures within their
 power to prevent a repetition of aggression and breach of the peace by Japan or any other State
 which might directly or indirectly join with Japan in acts of aggression. Should either with Japan
 and thus find itself in a state of war, the other Contracting Party shall immediately extend military
 and other assistance with all the means at its disposal.
 Neither of the Contracting Parties shall enter into any alliance directed against the other Party, or
 participate in any coalition or in any action or measures directed against the other Party.
 The two contracting Parties undertake shall consul together on all important international
 questions involving the common interests of the soviet Union and China, with a view to
 strengthening peace and universal security.
 The two Contracting Parties undertake, in a spirit of friendship and cooperation and in accordance
 with the principles of equal rights, mutual interests, mutual respect for State sovereignty and
 territorial integrity, and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other Party, to develop and
 strengthen the economic and cultural ties between the soviet Union and China, to render each
 other all possible economic assistance and to effect the necessary economic cooperation.”

•The Treaty remained in place for 30 years after it was signed on February 14,
1950, voiding an earlier 1945 treaty that did not put such a strong emphasis on
             Policy Splits: Stalin’s Death and
                  Krushchev’s new policy

•PRC and USSR policy was already divided over economic
development; Mao was a proponent of agricultural growth whereas Stalin
(and his experts sent to China) emphasized heavy industry

•Upon Stalin’s death in 1953, Nikita Krushchev’s new policies furthered
and overshadowed that divide:
    •Krushchev feared nuclear war with the USA far more than Stalin
    had, and thus was anxious to reach détente
    •The PRC accused the USSR of “revisionism”, of perverting the
    original goals of their shared communism, betraying the Marxist
    principles of spreading communism, and of “selling out” to the USA

                                       Ross, Stewart. (1988). China Since 1945. Hove: Wayland
                                     First Quarrels
•Both nations were reluctant to split entirely, and maintained their friendly
relations as much as possible throughout the early 1960s
•For example: a memorandum on a conversation between the USSR
Ambassador to the PRC, Chervonenko S.V., and Deng Xiaoping, General
Secretary of the CC CCP:
“Returning to the meeting in Paris, Deng Xiaoping said that the issue of developing a [Chinese]
movement in support of N.S. Khrushchev's statement was being examined in the CC CCP. On May
18, the leaders of social organizations in the PRC will make statements in the press on this issue,
and two to three days thereafter, when the circumstances become clearer, further steps will be taken
in this direction. Our common position consists, he said, of exposing the imperialists and of explaining
the correctness of the position of the countries in the socialist camp headed by the Soviet Union.
Deng Xiaoping asked me to convey a warm greeting to comrade N.S. Khrushchev and to all of the
members of the Presidium of the CC CPSU on behalf of comrades Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and all
of the leaders of the CC CCP. The Americans are closing ranks against us, he said, but their closing
of ranks is insecure. Our solidarity, and the solidarity of the countries of the socialist camp, is
inviolable, since it is founded on a unity of ideas and goals.”

•The biggest splits came over the USSR’s desire for a nuclear nonproliferation
treaty with the USA, along with such things as USSR support (or lack thereof)
for China’s interest in North Korea, or the USSR’s wish for the PRC to support
their initiatives in Cuba. (See Appendix A)

                                                                          •Cold War International History Project
             The Possibilty of War
• The possiblity of war between China and the Soviet
  Union became apparent when both countries began
  sending military forces to the Sino-Soviet border.
• This began in 1968, when there was a significant
  increase in Soviet deployment, from 12 half-strength
  divisions and 200 airplanes (1961), to 25 divisions,
  1,200 aircraft and 120 medium-range missiles.
• This led to the Sino-Soviet Border Conflict in 1969
   – Important because the movement of Soviet troops
     to the Sino-Soviet border decreased the threat of
     a Soviet invasion of Central Europe

      The Sino-Soviet Border Conflict
• A series of armed clashes between the USSR and
  the PRC along the Sino-Soviet border in 1969
• 658 000 Soviet troops against 814 000 Chinese
• March 2, 1969 - Soviet patrol vs. Chinese forces:
   – Both sides claimed the other was the aggressor,
     and published propaganda stating that they had
     fewer losses than the other side
   – USSR responded by attacking Manchuria and
     storming Zhenbao Island
   – After several more clashes, both sides prepared
     for nuclear confrontation
 China Stops being a Soviet Puppet:
  Relations between USA and PRC
• The Sino-Soviet Split opened the possibility for separate
  negotiations with China by the West
• 1971 - The UN recognizes the PRC, and transfers Security
  Council authority
• 1972 - Nixon goes to China
   – Nixon and Mao made efforts
   – to negotiate normalization
      of US-China relations
   – US recognized the need to resolve
     the Taiwan issue by peaceful means,
      and this was agreed to by China
• 1979 - US formally recognizes PRC, and breaks off relations
  with Taiwan

 Sino-Soviet Relations and Vietnam

• Following Mao’s invitation to Nixon, the Vietnam
  Workers Party became more sympathetic to the
• USSR wanted to back North Vietnam to show strong
  Communism in South-East Asia, and encircle China
• In order to support North Vietnam in the Vietnam
  War, USSR wanted to send weapons.
   – This would require going through China.
   – To everyone’s surprise, China allowed this.

                     Long-Term Effects of the Split
• Significant reduction of Soviet influence in South-East Asia
• gave critics of Communism a counterexample to Marx’s development theory

          “Although tension in Sino-Soviet relations was so great that many Western scholars referred

          to it as a "split," the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty continued to exist.”
                                                       - Bruce Elleman, “Sino-Soviet Relations and the
                                                       February 1979 Sino-Vietnamese Conflict”

      Splitting of Communist Parties around the World
• The split between the USSR and the PRC resulted in internal conflict
  within international communist parties over communist ideology
   – This resulted in creation of Maoist Communist Parties (Marxist-
      Leninist Parties), and Stalinist Communist Parties (Communist
   – The overall effect of this was reducing the influence of Communist
      organizations in other countries by focusing on internal conflicts
      rather than the overthrow of Capitalism
      For More Information, see…
•The Cold War International History Project; a project documenting
     the Cold War from all possible perspectives, with a virtual archive that is
    organized into sections tracing all events through primary sources such as
telegrams and conversations. The initiative was formed under the auspices of the
                Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars.

                           •Sino-Soviet Relations
                              •Sino-Soviet Split

    •The UN Documentation Centre; an online repository for all
 resolutions, documents, reports, etc. which the UN has ever published. Often
                    organized by committee and/or year.

 Appendix A: Letter from Gomulka to Krushchev, outlining the Soviet interpretation of relations with the PRC.
Dear Comrade Krushchev!                       10/08/1963
I am of the opinion that neither a nonproliferation treaty nor any other      Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China.
understandings of serious international importance can be concluded           In this situation, the People’s Republic of China can insure its
without consulting the Communist Party of China or in spite of the            influence over decision making with regard to various international
People’s Republic of China. If we continue further down such a path, it       questions only through the socialist camp, or speaking more
will inevitably lead to the division of the socialist camp and to fierce      precisely, through the Soviet Union, from whom it demands that it
factional struggles within the international communist movement and           consult with [China] on its political initiatives in the international
within the communist and workers’ parties in individual countries.            arena and in its relations with the imperialist states. When it turned
We already see today what great damage arose in this regard from the          out that the Soviet Union did not always consider it proper to take
fact that the Moscow Treaty ... was concluded without consulting the          into account the reservations of the People’s Republic of China in its
Communist Party of China. Undoubtedly, such a consultation would              policy, there began to grow in the Communist Party of China a
not have led the People’s Republic of China to alter its stance on            rebellion against the CPSU, which after the conclusion of the
achieving the production of its own atomic bomb. However, it might            Moscow Treaty ... spilled out in the forms known to us now. Yes, as I
have been that as a result of such a consultation, the Moscow Treaty          see the matter, the Communist Party of China has already decided
would have applied only to the states participating in the negotiations.      upon even a split in the socialist camp and the international
Because the treaty was concluded for all states, this led to an angry         communist movement, unless the Soviet Union agrees to coordinate
reaction on the part of the Communist Party of China, which                   its policy in the international arena with the People’s Republic of
interpreted the treaty as an effort to isolate the People’s Republic of       China.
China both among the socialist states and in the international arena.         …An understanding with the Chinese Communist Party on the basis
In the running debate with the Communist Party of China, we should            of a sensible compromise is thus necessary from every point of
not permit the debate to lead to a split of the socialist camp into two       view. I assume that if the Soviet Union will consult with and gain the
factions. There cannot be two socialist camps. It must remain one             approval of the People’s Republic of China for its more important
despite all the internal differences. A split of the socialist camp would     political initiatives in the international arena, the Chinese Communist
alter in a fundamental way the world balance of forces between                Party will desist from its propaganda and attacks against the CPSU
socialism and imperialism to the benefit of the latter. Despite its smaller   and that a closer point of view can be achieved with regard to a
productive potential, the socialist camp has predominated and may still       number of controversial questions. It will not be possible to achieve
have the advantage over imperialism thanks only to its unity. All the         a full unity of views. Ideological differences will remain for a long
basic principles of our policy, our tactics and strategy in the struggle      time, but they should be kept within limits that will not tear apart the
with imperialism over peace and peaceful coexistence of states, for           unity of the socialist camp.
 am not outlining a platform here for an
disarmament, for the victory of socialism on a world scale, rest upon         understanding with the Communist Party of China. It can be worked
the unity of the socialist camp. We must be fully aware of this fact. We      out later. The most important thing is to move towards a halt in
must be aware of the consequences that would arise from a split in the        public and direct ideological polemics even if everyone maintains for
socialist camp.                                                               a certain time their own views on controversial issues. We must
…In the name of maintaining the unity of the socialist camp, we must          voice our views in a positive form, without polemics with other
reach an understanding with the Communist Party of China. The                 parties, and even more without attacking other parties, whether by
socialist camp numbers over one billion people. Let’s not forget that for     direct or indirect means. The likelihood exists that over time the
even a moment, and let’s appreciate the importance of the fact that the       differences will diminish or become outdated, and this will permit a
Chinese are almost two-thirds of this population. Without the People’s        return to ideological unity.
Republic of China, nothing can be achieved in terms of the socialist          With communist greetings,
camp’s international policy. We should seek a compromise and move             W. Gomulka                           Cold War International History Project
towards the conclusion of a compromise in the debate with the