Mao Tse-Tung's Perception of the Soviet Union as Communicated in the Mao Tse-tung Ssu-Hsiang Wan Sui.

by Kenneth G. Lieberthal

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The analysis of these documents reveals that Mao's core assumptions about the Soviet system changed dramatically during 1958-1962. In 1955 Mao regarded the Soviets as a model for building socialism, if one to be evaluated critically. In 1958 he stated that China would continue to learn much from the Soviet experience, but must take a selective approach to applying this experience. In the fall of 1959 Mao stressed that it was intolerable to allow foreign Communist parties to meddle in Chinese Communist Party affairs. During 1960 he hinted at concern about a Soviet armed attack. In 1962 Mao claimed that the USSR had now become a reactionary fascist dictatorship. By 1964 Mao introduced a new element into his analysis: referring to the threatening posture of colluding imperialist and revisionist forces, he mentioned a potential nuclear strike against China. Thus he recognized the military threat posed by the USSR, although Moscow's large-scale troop and weapons deployments did not begin until 1965.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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