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What factors helped and what hindered Sino-Soviet relations in the period 1945-1969? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > What factors helped and what hindered Sino-Soviet relations in the period 1945-1969?

What factors helped and what hindered Sino-Soviet relations in the period 1945-1969?

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This essay examines the factors that helped and hindered Sino-Soviet Relations during The Cold War.

Sino-Soviet relations during the period 1945-1969 were often shaky, with it ups and downs experienced during the period. However, we can generally see that Sino-Soviet relations were probably at its high point in the period 1945-1950, probably because the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) was still young and could not take the risk of offending a superpower. However, from 1953 onwards, that is the year of Soviet leader, Stalin, passed away, the differences between China and the Soviet Union became very obvious. Sino-Soviet split became evident and Sino-Soviet relations were deteriorating.

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However, there were also many factors that caused the China and the USSR to have a growing conflict and the Sino-Soviet split. Firstly, after the death of Stalin, Mao had a tense relation with Nikita Khrushchev. Though Sino-Soviet relations had underlying tensions, Mao and Stalin managed to keep up a façade of Communist fraternity. Stalin’s death in March 1953 would change things as Sino-Soviet differences became increasingly evident for all to see. Mao, despite his resentment towards Stalin, respected the Soviet strongman. After Stalin passed from the scene, Mao expected that the other communists would come to respect and view him as the new leader of the Communist bloc. However, he would be caught in a battle for the leadership mantle with the new Soviet leaders. Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the new Soviet leader and by 1960, he and Mao were openly denouncing each other. Though Khrushchev made several trips to Beijing to establish ties, the Chinese never accorded him the respect he thought he deserved. Instead, Khrushchev found Mao ever ready to criticise him when there were opportunities. The key year to understanding the deteriorating Sino-Soviet relations was 1956. At the 20th Party Congress, Khrushchev made a “secret speech” where he denounced Stalin and also stated that parliamentary communism and peaceful co-existence with the United States was a possibility. Mao was furious because the Soviets had made a drastic shift to communist orthodoxy without consulting him first. The Chinese clung on to the idea that only violent revolution could bring power and did not believe that peaceful co-existence with the USA was possible. Also, Mao believed that Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin for his crimes and his cult of personality was an implicit denunciation of Mao himself, who also had the same type of personality cult. Though the split was not immediately evident, the events that followed the secret speech reflected growing Sino-Soviet unease. In Poland and Hungary, moves to assert greater independence from Soviet control in Poland and Hungary, which was put down by the Soviets. The Chinese opposed projected Soviet intervention in Poland, criticized Khrushchev for his early indecisiveness for the Hungary Crisis. Eventually though, they had to support the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Budapest. The Soviets, on their part, resented having to use Chinese aid to bolster their position in Eastern Europe, a Soviet preserve.

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