To What Extent Was the Deterioration in Sino-Soviet Relations in the Years 1958-69 Due to Personal Rivalries?

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To what extent was the deterioration in Sino-soviet relations in the years 1958-69 due to personal rivalries? Tensions between China and Russia had long existed but the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China had produced a profound shift in the dynamics of the cold war. From a position of greatly strengthening the power and position of the communist bloc in the period from 1949 to 1956, China had by 1972, split irrevocably with the USSR and brought about a rapprochement with its former enemy the USA. Although this change seemed on the face of it to be a dramatic turn, it was largely the result of continuity in Chinese foreign policy; the desire to protect Chinese national security against foreign powers. The change in Chinese policy was to shatter the perception of a bipolar world that existed since the beginning of the cold war. Superpower relations were now best described as a triangular process involving china, the USSR and the USA. Therefore, the deterioration in Sino-soviet relations in the years 1958-69 was due to a change in China’s foreign policy to protect Chinese national security, rather than simply being put down to personal rivalries. The communist takeover of China in 1949 was viewed by the US government as another victory for the forces of world communism. Mao was seen as an instrument of the Soviet Union’s bid to spread worldwide revolution. However, by 1958 relationships between the USSR and China began to deteriorate. One of the most dangerous points of tension during the whole of the cold war was the Taiwan Strait Crisis which occurred in both 1954-55 and 1958 between the USSR and China. The first Taiwan Strait Crisis ended when the Guomindang abandoned the Taschen Islands to the communists but held onto Quemoy and Matsu and at the same time the CCP took a more moderate line and negotiations was started. However, tension came to the
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