After Leaning to One Side traces the rise and fall of the Sino-Soviet alliance between 1949 and 1973, emphasizing tension over the Korean and Vietnam wars. Underscoring the theme of inherent conflict within the communist movement, this book shows that while that movement was an international campaign with an imposing theory and an impressive party structure, it was also a collection of sovereign states with disparate national interests. This book explains how this dissonance was further complicated by the unequal development of the Chinese and Soviet states and their communist parties, and traces some of China’s actions to Mao’s grasping at leadership of the communist movement after the death of Stalin.

Zhihua Shen is Professor of History at East China Normal University in Shanghai and directs the Center for Cold War International History Studies. He is the author of more than ten books. Danhui Li, research fellow at the Center for Cold War International History Studies and the Institute of Contemporary China Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is editor-in-chief of Cold War International History Studies.


Chen Jian

Preface and Acknowledgments
About the Authors

I. Heydays of the Communist Alliance
1. The Making of an Alliance for Cold and Hot Wars
2. China’s Decision to Enter the Korean War
3. A Troubled Partnership in War
4. The Decision to End the Korean War

II. The Erosion of a Brotherly Relationship
5. Helping-Hand Diplomacy: Soviet Experts in China
6. Comrades Plus Brothers: Sino-Soviet Border Relations in the 1950s
7. Unrealized Partnership: From Joint Fleet to the Great Leap Forward
8. Antagonized Centers and Troubled Frontiers

III. The Hierarchy of International Communism
9. From Wartime Allies to Peacetime Associates
10. Vietnam and Chinese Policy toward the United States

Epilogue: The Demise of a Communist Alliance


“This book reflects the best of the scholarship by two serious Chinese scholars of the Cold War international history. Based on newly available archives and historical material in Beijing and Moscow, this book has detailed China’s alliance relationships during the heydays of the Cold War. No existing study has tackled the same topic as thoroughly and solidly as this one.”—Shu Guang Zhang, Professor and Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, Macau University of Science and Technology

“Often unmatched in their command of the Chinese and Russian sources, Shen and Li unpack the multilayered story of this difficult relationship, exposing previously unknown, or misunderstood, episodes, and shedding new light on dated historiographical debates.… It is an important and lasting contribution to the field.… Shen and Li’s conclusions are likely to stand the test of time.”—Sergey Radchenko, Pacific Affairs

After Leaning to One Side is a further step in removing the veils that have obscured communist actions during the Cold War. The book also helps the reader understand the history and perceptions of one of the most powerful states in the current world scene.”—Jonathan M. House, Military Review