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The Sino-Soviet Split:
Cold War in the Communist World
Lorenz M. Lüthi

Winner of the 2008 Edgar S. Furniss Book Award, Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University
Co-Winner of the 2010 Marshall Shulman Book Prize, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Paperback | 2008 | $46.00 | £38.95 | ISBN: 9780691135908
400 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 3 tables.
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A decade after the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China established their formidable alliance in 1950, escalating public disagreements between them broke the international communist movement apart. In The Sino-Soviet Split, Lorenz Lüthi tells the story of this rupture, which became one of the defining events of the Cold War. Identifying the primary role of disputes over Marxist-Leninist ideology, Lüthi traces their devastating impact in sowing conflict between the two nations in the areas of economic development, party relations, and foreign policy. The source of this estrangement was Mao Zedong's ideological radicalization at a time when Soviet leaders, mainly Nikita Khrushchev, became committed to more pragmatic domestic and foreign policies.

Using a wide array of archival and documentary sources from three continents, Lüthi presents a richly detailed account of Sino-Soviet political relations in the 1950s and 1960s. He explores how Sino-Soviet relations were linked to Chinese domestic politics and to Mao's struggles with internal political rivals. Furthermore, Lüthi argues, the Sino-Soviet split had far-reaching consequences for the socialist camp and its connections to the nonaligned movement, the global Cold War, and the Vietnam War.

The Sino-Soviet Split provides a meticulous and cogent analysis of a major political fallout between two global powers, opening new areas of research for anyone interested in the history of international relations in the socialist world.


"An astonishingly well-documented, densely detailed history of the causes and development of the Sino-Soviet conflict from virtually every relevant perspective. . . . The Sino-Soviet Split is a major achievement in Cold War history and the standard against which future scholarship on this subject likely will be judged for many years to come."--Charles K. Armstrong, The Moscow Times

"[The Sino-Soviet Split] is well-researched and compellingly-argued, and helps illuminate a critical portion of the Cold War."--R.M. Farley, Choice

"This is a solid study of the breakup of the Sino-Soviet alliance. . . . Of all the available English-language works on this topic, this study stands out as the most extensive as well as balanced in using both Russian and Chinese materials. . . . [T]his book is a welcome addition, not only to the Cold War international history literature, but also to the studies on contemporary alliance politics. Methodologically, too, it stands as a wonderful example of how effectively a multiarchival and multilinguistic approach can and should be used in Cold War studies."--Shu Guang Zhang, Slavic Review

"Lorenz M. Lüthi's well-informed book supersedes the others in its thoroughness in covering the critical events and drawing on archival evidence and memoirs that were unavailable until recently. It nicely balances treatment of both countries, carefully follows changing emphases as the split widened from 1956 to 1966, and keeps the focus on identifying the causes."--Gilbert Rozman, International History Review

"Lüthi offers new insight into numerous foreign policy relationships central to the Cold War, while also directing our attention to a series of still unexplored issues pertinent to the vast socialist bloc and the fascinating alliance between the Russians and the Chinese."--Austin Jersild, American Historical Review

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Table of Contents:

Maps viii
Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviations and Terms xiii
Transliteration and Diacritical Marks xix
Introduction 1
Chapter One: Historical Background, 1921-1955 19
Chapter Two: The Collapse of Socialist Unity, 1956-1957 46
Chapter Three: Mao's Challenges, 1958 80
Chapter Four: Visible Cracks, 1959 114
Chapter Five: World Revolution and the Collapse of Economic Relations, 1960 157
Chapter Six: Ambiguous Truce, 1961-1962 194
Chapter Seven: Mao Resurgent, 1962-1963 219
Chapter Eight: The American Factor, 1962-1963 246
Chapter Nine: Khrushchev's Fall and the Collapse of Party Relations, 1963-1966 273
Chapter Ten: Vietnam and the Collapse of the Military Alliance, 1964-1966 302
Conclusion 340
Essay on the Sources 353
Index 361

This book has been translated into:

  • Polish


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