China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975

By Qiang Zhai

Foreword by John Lewis Gaddis

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 16 illus., 1 table, 2 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4842-5
    Published: April 2000
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7619-0
    Published: October 2005
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7193-0
    Published: October 2005

New Cold War History

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In the quarter century after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Beijing assisted Vietnam in its struggle against two formidable foes, France and the United States. Indeed, the rise and fall of this alliance is one of the most crucial developments in the history of the Cold War in Asia. Drawing on newly released Chinese archival sources, memoirs and diaries, and documentary collections, Qiang Zhai offers the first comprehensive exploration of Beijing's Indochina policy and the historical, domestic, and international contexts within which it developed.

In examining China's conduct toward Vietnam, Zhai provides important insights into Mao Zedong's foreign policy and the ideological and geopolitical motives behind it. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he shows, Mao considered the United States the primary threat to the security of the recent Communist victory in China and therefore saw support for Ho Chi Minh as a good way to weaken American influence in Southeast Asia. In the late 1960s and 1970s, however, when Mao perceived a greater threat from the Soviet Union, he began to adjust his policies and encourage the North Vietnamese to accept a peace agreement with the United States.

About the Author

Qiang Zhai is professor of history at Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama.
For more information about Qiang Zhai, visit the Author Page.


"The key role of Mao's China in arming and guiding the thirty-year struggle has only now been clarified by the researches of Qiang Zhai. . . . Zhai makes . . . many illuminating disclosures."--London Review of Books

"[A] thorough and detailed study. . . . Zhai skillfully illustrates how a nation’s self-interest is at the heart of its foreign policy."--Choice

"As groundbreaking as it is clear. Scholars who seek a model on how to state, construct, and support an argument can do little better than this."--Intelligence and National Security

"An engaging account of the thoughts and actions of the decision makers on both sides of the Sino-Vietnamese connection, the book constitutes a fresh and important contribution to the historiography during a crucial period of China's foreign policy."--American Journal of Chinese Studies

"Deploying an impressive array of Chinese archival, memoir, and secondary sources, Qiang Zhai's outstanding study details the roles and illuminates the motives of China's involvement in the first and second Indochina wars between 1950 and 1975. . . . Fair-minded, clearly written, and deeply researched, Zhai's study supersedes all previous works on the subject and merits a broad readership by students of cold war international relations."--Journal of Military History

"A must for those working within the field of Cold War history."--Journal of Peace Research