From all outward appearances, the 1950 Sino-Soviet alliance was impenetrable and that the two countries were engaged in a common goal to ensure that Communism was a major influence around the world. There was more than enough evidence to support this perception. Under Mao Tse-tung’s leadership, China formally aligned itself with the USSR. When the Communists in North Korea invaded the Republic of Korea, China intervened and the USSR lent military aid.1 What was perceived as an ideal and threatening partnership would not stand the test of ideological differences. This paper seeks to provide an understanding of how this seemingly ideal partnership was doomed for failure. The events leading up to, during and immediately after the second Taiwan crisis of 1958 are significant in their manifestation of just how far apart the Soviet Union and China were growing.
By the 1960s, the Sino-Soviet Alliance was practically shattered as their respective ideologies and polices were increasingly at odds. The office of the US Central Intelligence Agency reported to the US’s administrators in February 1962 that:
Sino-Soviet relations are in a critical phase just short of an acknowledged and definitive split. There is no longer much of a fundamental resolution of differences. In our view, the chances that such a split can be avoided in 1962 are no better than ever.2
There are a number of theories put forth by historians and political scientists attempting to understand the driving force splitting the union between the world’s two largest Communist states. Athwal argues that the US’ “nuclear superiority” put increasing pressures on Sino-Soviet relations and policies by first influencing China to obtain nuclear weapons and by forcing the Soviets to look to the West in a more amicable way. Moreover, both China and the Soviet Union had