Two Adversaries: The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China

Jonathan Colman

in The Foreign Policy of Lyndon B. Johnson

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640133
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652693 | DOI:
Two Adversaries: The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China

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This chapter considers American policies towards the Soviet Union and communist China, examining among other things the impact of the Sino-Soviet ‘split’. Despite the Vietnam War, the failure to initiate arms control talks and the fact that Johnson focused on the relationship with the Soviet Union only sporadically, his Presidency proved to be a constructive period for the Soviet-American relationship, as was shown by a range of accords. The relationship with the People's Republic of China (PRC) saw less tangible progress. China had become communist when Mao Zedong secured power in 1949 after years of civil war in which Washington had supported the Nationalists. The so-called ‘loss’ of China was seen as a profound setback for American Cold War interests. The US government refused to extend diplomatic recognition to the regime in Beijing, instead backing the Chinese Nationalist government based on the island of Taiwan.

Keywords: Soviet Union; communist China; Sino-Soviet split; United States; Vietnam War; PRC; Mao Zedong; Taiwan

Chapter.  10025 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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