“Mao Versus Khrushchev: An Analysis of the Sino-Soviet Split 1956-1963”

Abstract: The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China were communist allies after China’s 1949 communist revolution but they dramatically separated in the early 1960s in the Sino-Soviet Split. A permanent Sino-Soviet alliance was impossible because of three major factors, which aggravated pre-existing ideological and practical disagreements between the two communist giants. First, Khrushchev’s policy of de-Stalinization was offensive to Mao because Stalin had been the face of Communism when Mao was leading the Chinese communist party to victory. Second, the deteriorating personal relationship between the top leaders, Mao Zedong and Nikita Khrushchev, fatally undermined the alliance from top down. Finally, Khrushchev aggressively pursued détente with the United States in the face of Mao’s resistance, signaling to the Chinese a new direction in Soviet foreign policy. - Dana Gross