I read this in the source cited in this answer

Initially the Soviet assistance in China’s nuclear programme was limited to the civil nuclear energy field. However, Moscow’s attitude shifted in 1957 when Khrushchev needed the support from the CCP leaders in dealing with the political struggle within his own party. In return, Moscow signed a comprehensive weapon technology transfer agreement with Beijing in October 1957 that included provision for additional Soviet nuclear assistance as well as the furnishing of some surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, and anti-ship missiles. sinodefense.com

Question is: what could posibly the CCP do for Khrushchev in his interal power struggles?


2 Answers 2


One of Khruschev's main concerns during his tenure was agricultural reform, which was grounded in his desire to see Soviet citizens, "live better," or at least "eat better."

Ironically, China's 1957 "Great Leap Forward" was part of that program. China's idea was to ship "surplus" food to the Soviet Union in exchange for help in "industrial" development, especially its nuclear program. In essence, Mao repeated Stalin's 1933 program of "forced industrialization," starving its peasants to feed Soviet workers, and hoping to "jump start" its industrialization program.

The benefit to Khruschev was that he would feed his own people better (at the expense of Chinese peasants). The Chinese soon had "buyers remorse" because they felt that Khruschev "double crossed" them regarding the industrialization and nuclear programs, leading to the bitterness of the Sino-Soviet "split" around 1960.

I am the son of Chinese immigrants. Family members from China would talk about the "Great Leap" at reunions held in the United States after they left. Conclusion (around 1980): "We used to think the Russians were our friends, but they are really our enemies. We used to think that the Americans were our enemies, but they are friends by comparison."

  • Sounds very interesting - but we need some sources here... Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 22:38
  • @FelixGoldberg: I am the son of Chinese immigrants. My father happens to be a nephew of this man: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liang_Shiyi. His older sister (my aunt) was a high level Communist party official. Family members from China would talk about the "Great Leap" at reunions. Conclusion (around 1980): "We used to think the Russians were our friends, but they are really our enemies. We used to think that the Americans were our enemies, but they are friends by comparison."
    – Tom Au
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 22:43
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    Okay, personal evidence is also evidence! +1 Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 7:01
  • after reading last paragraph I suddenly have a feeling that Russia is threatened by China due to this way of thinking about the past. BTW any proof of the shipment of food from China to USSR actually took place?
    – lowtech
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 21:17

Refuse to support the anti-party bloc, thereby reducing the support for the anti-party bloc in the political committee. See Granville's book, The First Domino: International Decision Making during the Hungarian Crisis of 1956 for an example of life inside the parties during a crisis in 56/57.

  • I'm sorry - I don't quite see how this is relevant. I wanted to know what possibly could the CCP do for Khrushchev that he felt the need to placate them. You suggest that the CCP refused to support Khrushchev's opponents (whom you describe as "the anti-party bloc" -presumably you just forgot the scare quotes around this old term of disparagement they were labelled with once they'd lost). But that begs the question - ok, how could such support help them? The CCP could not send troops to sopprt anyone in the SU; it could not muster votes in some international body to which the SU deferred... Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 11:04
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    it had no economic muscle over the SU; what could it do? My own feeling is that the Chinese source I quoted re-writes the history a bit to make the CCP a more important player than it actually was back then. But that leaves the original question (linked to in mine) - why the the SU help them? Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 11:05
  • Read Granville. PC CPSU had to consult China and Yugoslavia over the Hungarian intervention. The phrase "fraternal party" was a reasonably serious one in inter-state diplomacy amongst actually existing socialist states. Given that there was a fall out in the PC in 1953-57 over "lines" who the CCP would support in a line vote mattered. Khrushchev had to stitch up the Chinese "vote" before he could act, as the CCP had a degree of ideological influence on the internal ideological situation of the CPSU. Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 20:24
  • I've read the review of the Granville book and at least the review doesn't even mention China. And I find it really hard to credit the last statement you've made - about the influence of the CCP on the CPSU. Is it based on the Granville book? Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 20:51
  • Its based on a paper I read by Granville (published through Hoover I think) but can't find which published translated transcribed minutes of the PC's meetings regarding the second intervention into Hungary. They dithered continuously waiting for Chinese approval on the second intervention. They were very fraternal in the mid 1950s. Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 1:37

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