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July 14 1963 Rupture between USSR and China grows worse

On June 14th 1963, according to a public statement made by the Chinese government, a much more militant and aggressive policy was needed in order to spread the communist revolution worldwide. There could be no “peaceful coexistence” with the forces of capitalism, and the statement chided the Russians for trying to reach a diplomatic understanding with the West, and in particular, the United States.

Relations between the Soviet Union and China reached the breaking point as the two governments engaged in an angry ideological debate about the future of communism. The United States, for its part, was delighted to see a wedge being driven between the two communist superpowers.

In mid-1963, officials from the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China met in Moscow to try to mend their ideological rift. The Chinese government had become openly critical of what it referred to as the growing “counterrevolutionary trends” in the Soviet Union. In particular, China was unhappy with the Soviet Union’s policy of cooperation with the West.

Exactly one month later, as the meetings in Moscow continued to deteriorate in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and recrimination, the Soviet government issued a stinging rebuttal to the earlier Chinese statement of July 13. The Russians agreed that world communism was still the ultimate goal, but that new policies were needed.

“Peaceful coexistence” between communist and capitalist nations was essential in the atomic age, and the Soviet statement went on to declare that, “We sincerely want disarmament.” The Soviet statement also addressed the Chinese criticism of the October 1962 missile crisis, in which Russia aided in the establishment of nuclear missile bases in Cuba. Under pressure from the United States, the bases had been withdrawn–according to the Chinese, Russia had “capitulated” to America.

Not so, according to the Soviets. The missile bases had been established to deter a possible U.S. invasion of Cuba. Once America vowed to refrain from such action, the bases were withdrawn in order to avoid an unnecessary nuclear war. This was the type of “sober calculation,” the Soviet Union indicated, that was needed in the modern world.

The July 14, 1963, Soviet statement was the first clear public indication that Russia and China were deeply divided over the future of communism. American officials greeted the development with undisguised glee, for they believed that the Sino-Soviet split would work to America’s advantage in terms of making the Russians more amenable to fruitful diplomatic negotiations on a variety of issues, including arms control and the deepening crisis in Vietnam.

That belief was not entirely well founded, as U.S.-Soviet relations continued to be chilly throughout most of the 1960s. Nevertheless, the United States continued to attempt to use this “divide and conquer” tactic well into the 1970s, when it began a rapprochement with communist China in order to gain leverage in its dealings with the Soviet Union.

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About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner, Writer, Teacher and Business Consultant. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications. Please consider donating, to support our social justice campaign, by clicking on the "Donations Page" button in the top menu.


5 thoughts on “July 14 1963 Rupture between USSR and China grows worse

  1. In college, one of my professors told a story (which he cautioned us might very well be apocryphal) about Lyndon Johnson knocking back a few drinks with the Soviet Premier (Brezhnev, I think). According to the tale, both men were pretty knackered, when the Soviet Premier ‘jokingly’ floated the idea of a war with China. Johnson, suddenly stone-cold sober reportedly took a dim view of that idea.

    Posted by Smaktakula | July 14, 2012, 07:44
  2. So on Bastille Day while the French were celebrating, the Chinese and the Russians were butting heads, eh? So let me ask you this, since you’re more of a history buff than I would ever dream of being. I was listening to a news report about the situation in Syria. And they were saying how China and Russia were going to protect their interests and relations with Syria and Iran; and that neither of these nations – China or Russia – were going to step in to try to overthrow the current Syrian regime if it might work out to the benefit of the USA or “the West”. (Maybe I heard the report wrong. But that’s what I got!) So … I’m an American and like most Americans, I’m ignorant. I get where China is coming from. But … correct me if I wrong. Isn’t Russia our friend now (???) since they’re no longer “Commie bastards”??? 🙂

    Posted by cmoneyspinner | July 14, 2012, 09:26
  3. Reblogged this on China Daily Mail.

    Posted by China Daily Mail | July 14, 2012, 12:45
  4. Received well.

    Posted by neelkanth | July 14, 2012, 14:52
  5. I am a Cold War Baby. I will never forget the frighteningly futile duck and cover civil defense drills I had to participate in.The politics of fear; same as it ever was (and is).

    Posted by Richard William Posner | July 15, 2012, 13:34

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