Sino Soviet relations

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The Sino-Soviet Split: origins and main features.

PRC-Peoples republic of China

GMD – Chiang Kai-shek's guomindang

Stalin and Mao: 1945-1953

"The key differences between the USSR and Chinese Communists were ideological. Stalin felt that Mao’s interpretation of Marxism, using peasants as the basis for the revolution, could no be genuine revolutionary Marxism, which should feature workers leading a class-war in cities.

However, this ideological difference was not the only reason Stalin failed to give support to the CCP in the Civil War. Stalin also:

  • Feared Mao as a rival for the leadership of the communist world did not want the Cold War to spread to Asia

  • underestimated the CCP and believed the GMD to be stronger urging the communists to unite the other party, even when the victory of the CCP seemed inevitable.

Mao became convinced that Stalin wanted a divided and weak China to leave the USSR dominant in Asia. He saw Stalin's policies as self-interested rather than true revolutionary doctrine. Mao later commented that Stalin had even refused China permission to carry out a revolution.

The Sino-Soviet treaty of Alliance

Nevertheless, once the CCP had won the civil war, Mao was invited to visit Moscow in 1950. This trip produced the Sino-Soviet Alliance Treaty, the first between the USSR and China. The USSR became more enthusiastic about the CCP after its victory. However, Mao later referred to the Treaty as the result of a struggle for Stalin did not wish to sign it. The treaty offered China the promise of Soviet expertise and low interest aid.

However, the Chinese were offended by the unfriendly treatment they had received: the Soviets had treated the Chinese as superiors and the foreigners had been badly received. It was soon clear that the USSR wanted to exploit the Treaty in its own favour- Soviet aid would be loans and the Chinese would have to pay back with interests.

Nevertheless, Soviet engineers developed 200 Chinese construction projects in the 1950s. Soviet scientific technology was prioritized in China over the Western one, even if it was less effective. The PRC also accepted military aid from the Soviet Union.

Treaty in Action

The USSR, China and the Korean War, 1950-1953

When American forces, under the UN flag came close to the Chinese border, Stalin encouraged China to send troops to Korea. The Soviets gave material assistance to the one million Chinese troops engaged in battle. Despite this intervention in the Korean War, Mao bitterly complained when the Soviets demanded that China pay for all the weapons and materials that the USSR had supplied.

Sino-Soviet Relations after Stalin, 1953-1956

Although Mao had some respect for the Soviet leader, there had been tensions and suspicions in the relationship. Therefore, when Stalin died in 1953, it seemed possible that relations would improve. A truce was signed in the Korean war soon after Stalin’s death, and there was a certain relaxation in the tensions. The new Soviet leaders appeared willing to supply further loans and technology to China,


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