The Sino-Soviet Split

What was the Sino-Soviet split?
The Sino-Soviet split is the term given to the breakdown of political relations between the Soviet Union and China.
When did the Sino-Soviet split happen?
The split developed during the 1950s, but relations rapidly declined in 1960 and the split was formalised in 1962.
Why did the Sino-Soviet split happen?
The split developed due to 6 key reasons and events:
  • Mao had a strong distrust of Stalin. After charging excessive amounts for Soviet weapons during the Korean War, Mao believed Stalin was out to weaken and subjugate China.
  • With Khrushchev's 'Secret Speech' and criticism of Stalin, Mao felt his style of government and regime was also being criticised. However, after this point Mao Zedong Thought did become a less important policy for the Politburo.
  • Despite attempts to improve relations, during the Moscow Conference of 1958, China accused the Soviets of spying and betraying the communist movement.
  • In April 1960, relations began to deteriorate significantly. Mao accused the Soviet Union of being revisionist and not true to Marxist communism. In return, Khrushchev criticised the Great Leap Forward.
  • Khrushchev then returned all Soviet advisers to China, which significantly impacted its economic development.
  • Finally, in 1962, Mao publicly denounced Khrushchev as a coward for his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Khrushchev responded by claiming Mao and China were irresponsible and their policies would lead to war.
What were the outcomes of the Sino-Soviet split?
There were 2 notable outcomes for China following the Sino-Soviet split:
  • Mao looked to improve relations with the USA and several meetings took place between Mao and Nixon. This led to a series of mutual agreements in terms of economic and cultural developments.
  • China became more concerned about a possible attack from the USSR, and their nuclear weapons were now deterrents against the Soviet Union.
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