By the mid-1960s, the alliance between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China was irrevocably broken, as several years of competition between Mao Zedong and Nikita Khrushchev for ideological and political supremacy within the communist movement had taken their toll. Much scholarship has been dedicated to the topic of the Sino-Soviet split, but this paper attempts to contribute to that scholarship by asking: what efforts did the United States undertake to create such a split, and was American foreign policy a driving factor of the breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance? The paper argues that the Americans did in fact have a hand in exacerbating the emerging ideological conflict between the USSR and the PRC by looking at US policy towards Taiwan in the late 1950s. It is argued that the two Taiwan Straits Crises of 1954-55 and 1958 contributed a good deal to the coming Sino-Soviet split and that the United States, by committing itself to the defense of the island, thus became a central point of and inflammatory influence on the ideological debate emerging between the communist allies.
In the scholarship on the Sino-Soviet split, not enough credit has been given to the efforts undertaken by the United States to undermine the alliance between Mao's China and the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev. The paper argues that the American commitment to Taiwan in the mid-to-late 1950's, during the two offshore islands crises, played a role in exacerbating the ideological debate between the communist powers. The combination of American pressure and lacking Soviet support in these crises helped to undermine the Sino-Soviet alliance.