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Revision Session 2 - Summer 2014 - Sino-Sov Relations and De

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andrew mountford

on 19 April 2014

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Transcript of Revision Session 2 - Summer 2014 - Sino-Sov Relations and De

Revision Session 2 - Summer 2014 - Sino-Sov Relations and Detente
How to answer 30M questions on Sino-Sov Relations and Detente
June 2010

How far did ‘peaceful coexistence’ ease Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the USA in the years 1953–61?
To what extent was the deterioration in Sino-Soviet relations in the years 1958–69 due to personal rivalries?

June 2011

‘US-Soviet relations did not fundamentally improve in the 1970s.’ How far do you agree with this view?
To what extent was the nuclear arms race a stabilising factor in the Cold War between 1949 and 1963?

June 2012

‘In the years 1953–60, President Eisenhower’s cold war diplomacy was based on confrontation rather than coexistence.’ How far do you agree with this view?
‘The improvement in Sino-US relations was the main factor
promoting détente
between Russia and America in the years 1969–75.’ How far do you agree with this view?

June 2013

‘The nuclear arms race did little to restrain the actions of the USA and the Soviet Union in the Cold War in the years 1949–63.’ How far do you agree with this view?
‘Neither the USA nor the Soviet Union were seriously committed to Détente in the 1970s.’ How far do you agree with this view?
Topic 1) Thaw (2)
Topic 2) Arms Race (2)

Topic 3) Sino-Soviet (2)
Topic 4) Detente (2)
China and the Superpowers
• How important was the Sino-Soviet Split in determining US Cold War policy towards China in the years 1969-76?

• How important to the United States’ management of its cold war diplomacy were relations between the USSR and China in the years 1962-76?

• How and why did relations between the USSR and China change in the period 1949-76?

• What impact did the Sino-Soviet Split have on China’s relationship with the USA between 1970 and 1976?
• How far was the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1960s the result of ideological differences between the two communist powers?
• How significant was the role of Personality in the development of the Détente from 1969-1979?

• To what extent did Détente occur during the 1970s because of the needs of the USA?

• How successful was the US policy of Détente in easing US-Soviet relations in the years 1969-80?

• How far did Détente introduce a new era of cooperation in US-Soviet relations during the 1970s?
• How significant was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 in bringing about the end of Détente?

Edexcel Mark Scheme

Level 3 - 13-18marks (E to low C)
Candidates' answers will be
broadly analytical
and will show some
understanding of the focus of the question. They may, however, include
material which is either
, and thus only implicitly relevant to
the question's focus, or
which strays from that focus
in places.
material will be accurate, but it may not consistently display depth and/or
The answer will show some degree of direction and control but these
attributes will not normally be sustained throughout the answer.
The candidate will demonstrate some of the skills needed to produce a
convincing essay, but there may
be passages which show deficiencies in
. The answer is likely to include some syntactical and/or
spelling errors.
Level 5 - 25-30 (A/A*)
Candidates offer a
sustained analysis
which directly addresses the focus of the question. They demonstrate explicit understanding of the key issues raised by the question,
evaluating arguments and – as appropriate – interpretations.

The analysis will be supported by an
appropriate range and depth of accurate and well-selected factual material.
The answer will be cogent and lucid in exposition. Occasional syntactical and/or spelling errors may be found but they will not impede coherent deployment of the material and argument.
Overall, the answer will show mastery of essay-writing skills.
China and the Superpowers 1949-1976
Tend to ask questions on what caused the Sino-Soviet split
Or may ask a question on how damaging the Split was for the Soviets or how beneficial rapprochement was for the US
How far do you agree that the Sino-American rapprochement 1969-76 was of immense benefit to the USA in the Cold War?
To what extent did Sino-Soviet split undermine Soviet position in the Cold War?
To what extent was the deterioration in Sino-Soviet relations in the years 1958–69 due to conflicting national interests?
Context - 1958 NK criticises Great Leap Forward and Mao criticises NK for being too cautious in 2nd Quemoy Crisis
National Interest
Argument - Was down to Nat. Interest primarily
PG 1 National Interest
Point - Conflicting national interests defined the largely hostile attitude of Russia and China which was only bridged temporarily by ideological affinity following the Chinese Revolution but quickly began to undermine the relationship and cause the split.
Evidence - Alliance never that strong as Stalin had always viewed China in terms of Soviet national interest (not supporting communists in 1930s) and 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty failed to solve issues like Manchuria which although Soviets said they would give back to China never really materialised
For all PRC's criticism of Khrushchev’s ‘Ideological Revisionism’ the Chinese were still very keen to enlist the Soviets in their aim to put pressure on Taiwan in 1958. It was only after the Soviets lukewarm support of the Chinese shelling of Quemoy in 1958, the Soviets cancellation of Sino-Soviet Atomic co-operation 1959 after their request to set up nuclear bases in China under complete Soviet control had been declined by the Chinese and their informing the Chinese that they would wouldn’t support their Taiwan policy after the Camp David meeting in 1959, not to mention their ending of Economic support in 1960 that the Chinese became openly critical of their erstwhile allies with Mao making 5 separate condemnations of the SOV approach to the US
Similarly ideological position of either side was dependent upon national interest (as rapprochement would prove)
So whilst NK trying to destalinise Mao was trying to Stalinise to secure their own positions (PC vs Cultural Revolution 1966 and Great Leap Forward 1958)
Friction over nuclear weapons linked to national interest
Similarly ideological positions related to communist world politics and desire to lead international communist movement
Eventual breaking of alliance came after frictions along 2,738mile shared border - Brezhnev Doctrine in Czech 1968 and by 1967 Soviets had 15 army divisions on border
All comes to a head in Ussuri River dispute 1969
Explanation Ultimately conflicting national interests played the defining role in the Sino-Soviet relationship. Initially they had some common interest in furthering 'international communism' in places like Korea but even this soon became about competition for interest. Underlying ideological zig-zags and recriminations lay conflicting national interest of the two ruling communist bureaucracies.
PG 2 - Ideology
Point - Splits in the supposedly internationalist and homogenous Marxism-Leninism which justified the rule of the Communist Parties of Russia and China played a significant role in causing the Sino-Soviet split.
Evidence - US view of homogeneity of Marxism-Leninism always oversimplified
Ideological rift particularly after the death of Stalin and the 1956 'Secret Speech' of which Mao was not informed in advance
Disagreed with NK's PC and rapprochement with Tito's Yugoslavia - all 'ideological revisionism'
Chinese began to criticise Soviet Union for having a privileged bureaucracy which subsumed the encouragement of revolution behind Conservative needs of the bureaucracu
Khrushchev critical of 'left adventurism' of the Great Leap Forward in 1958 and Cultural Revolution 1966
Split became open 1960 meeting of 81 communist countries and subsequent Chinese pamplet 'Long Live Leninism' 1961
By late 1960s China justifying USSR as bigger danger than capitalist imperialists - social imperalists of USSR
Explanation - Ideological splits were a reflection of the different national interests of the two ruling bureaucracies. Any search for ideological consistency becomes absurd in a situation where China allied with the USA!
Ideological split centered first in 1956 destalinisation which conflicted with Chinese need to establish centralised control in a Stalinist fashion - then the military threat to the Chinese necessitated the theoretical zig-zagging to get to pro-US position
All policy in communist countries had to be justified in the language of Marxism-Leninism

PG 3 Personality
The differing national interests and ideological emphasis was reflected in the leadership of the two countries and personality played some role in exacerbating the split.
Evidence - Mao and Stalin's prickly relationship (only met once) and their need to maintain control at home reflected the initial weakness of the Sino-Soviet Friendship Treaty of 1950 in which the Soviets failed to respond to Chinese desire for aid in building socialism
This was again in evidence in their weak co-ordination of action in Korea and Mao's gaining in stature as a result of Chinese fighting
Things arguably worse with NK who Mao did not fear/respect as he did Stalin
Khrushchev's criticism of Stalinism and failure to inform Mao has personal edge to it
Explanation - Personality clearly less significant as despite difficulties with NK and Stalin their alliance continued until the decisive break after 1964 removal of Khrushchev (where things didn't get better) - similarly the actions of the personalities in charge were largely governed by their domestic needs
Questions so far have focused on
- Whether there were meaningful agreement in detente
- The causes of detente (linked to Sino-Sov)
‘US-Soviet relations did not fundamentally improve in the 1970s.’ How far do you agree with this view?
Arms Limitation
Meaningful co-operation trade and Helsinki
Undermined in US (rise of neo-con)
Undermined in Soviet actions in third world
Answer - Did improve in early period linked to rapprochement and Realpolitik and US weakening but by about 1975 relationship got worse and limitations were exposed
To what extent was Sino-US rapprochement responsible for improved relations
Strategic concerns Superpowers
Economic concerns
Fear of nuclear war/role of ind./Ostpolitik
To what extent was the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 responsible for the end of detente?
Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
Rise of neo-conservative right in USA
Soviet expansion in third world
Soviet violations of human rights

Context - Soviet intervention following PDPA coup in 1978 first instance of Soviet military involved outside of WWII 'spheres of influence' contributed toward situation where Congress failed to ratify SALT II and detente ended.
\Argument - Although Soviet invasion significant it was the rise of a neo-conservative critique of detente that was the most significant factor - (goes against traditional right-wing analysis of end of detente followed by Richard Pipes (US-Soviet relations in the Era of Detente) more following F. Halliday view
PG 1 - Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
Point - The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was taken by US strategists as proof of an expansionist Soviet Union who were taking advantage of detente and therefore was instrumental in ending detente.
Evidence - Threat of rising Islamic fundamentalism threatening Soviet control in SE Soviet Union (linked to Iran and Pakistan)
1978 Pro-Soviet communist Coup by PDPA but following brutal reform from above and failure to gain control a growing revolt from Islamic traditionalists (Mujaheddin) threatened to overrun the country and therefore Soviet sent over 100,000 troops into Afghanistan
Explanation - far from being a confident part of Soviet expansionism was ostensibly a defensive manoeuvre made out of weakness. However, because of the rising influence of anti-detente neo-conservatives in the US (Brzezinski) and heightened US concern for the oil rich region following the Iranian revolution the US were quick to show it as Soviet expansionism. It encouraged the rise of neo-cons which hastened the end of detente but this process was already going on and so therefore not instrumental.
PG 2 - Rise of 'New Right'
Point - More fundamental in ending detente was the growing US criticism of detente coming from the increasingly self-confident and influential American 'New Right' which turned detente into a byword for American weakness.
Evidence - Mid 1970s Ford dropped word 'detente' from his speeches and replaced it with 'peace through strength' because of Reagan's attacks
Growing influence of Hawkish advisers like National Security Adviser to Carter Brzezinski who were trumping the Doves like Cyrus Vance
Recovery or time since Vietnam and Kissinger approach losing its appeal to be criticised and replaced by a New Right philosophy which espoused return to the Cold War and domestic (economic reform) at home
Also linked to 'Iron Triangle' MIC as Carter encouraged growing NATO military budget toward end of his reign
Myth of American 'disarmament'
Explanation - The changed political narrative in the USA killed detente as US strategists turned to a new more hard-line strategy and moved away from realpolitik in trying to solve America's domestic and foreign policy problems. The increased emphasis on human rights abuses and Soviet expansion was a result of this as was the reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
PG 3 - Soviet expansion in the 'developing world'
Point - Many historians have argued that detente was killed on the battlefields of developing nations but in reality Soviet expansionism was something of a myth propagated by Neo-Cons.
Evidence - 1970s crisis in developing world linked to economic problems with capitalist system and another wave of national liberation movements.
Although should be noted that in 1970s USSR lost its alliance with most populous and strategically important nations China and Egypt (Sadat regime moves away Nasserite position)
Nonetheless - left-leaning revolutions in Ethiophia, Mozambique and Angola did receive some support from Soviets
1975 MPLA in Angola come to power after liberation from Portugese colonial rule and then will get military support from Cuban forces (logistical assistance from USSR) in civil war
Similar Cuban/Soviet support for Ethiopian repulsion of South African (US sponsored) invasion
Destabilisation and revolutionary developments in other countries (not nec. linked to Soviets) - like Nicaragua, El Salvador and most importantly Iran where US supported Shah was removed from power represent strategic weakening of US
Explanation - Soviet expansionism something of a myth - Soviet influence expanded in very weak countries which arguably doesn't even stregthen their position certainly not in the loss of Egypt and China - however there is a revolutionary wave in the 1970s which necessitates a US response and the perceived weakness of the US response part of neo-con criticism of detente (and US recovery following Vietnam War) so links back
PG 4 - Soviet violations of Human rights
Point - The Soviets violations in human rights in the 1970s were hardly a new phenomena and their constancy doesn't therefore explain the end of detente, however the increased emphasis on their abuse reflects the rise of neo-conservatives in American.
Evidence - 1974 expulsion of literary great Solzhenitsyn who lives in US
1974 Jackson-Vanick Amendment criticising anti-semitism of Soviet Union linked to Jewish right to emigrate to Israel (proposed by v. anti-Sov Democrat Jackson)
1975 Criticism of Helsinki Accords - Reagan says that 'placed seal of approval on the Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe'
Basket 3 commitment - human rights groups to monitor USSR like Charter 77 established (Czechoslovakia)
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