The Sino-Soviet Alliance

An International History

By Austin Jersild

352 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 14 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2983-4
    Published: August 2016
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-1159-4
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1160-0
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4389-0
    Published: February 2014

New Cold War History

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Awards & distinctions

A 2015 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Honorable Mention, 2015 Marshall Shulman Book Prize, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

In 1950 the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China signed a Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance to foster cultural and technological cooperation between the Soviet bloc and the PRC. While this treaty was intended as a break with the colonial past, Austin Jersild argues that the alliance ultimately failed because the enduring problem of Russian imperialism led to Chinese frustration with the Soviets.

Jersild zeros in on the ground-level experiences of the socialist bloc advisers in China, who were involved in everything from the development of university curricula, the exploration for oil, and railway construction to piano lessons. Their goal was to reproduce a Chinese administrative elite in their own image that could serve as a valuable ally in the Soviet bloc's struggle against the United States. Interestingly, the USSR's allies in Central Europe were as frustrated by the "great power chauvinism" of the Soviet Union as was China. By exposing this aspect of the story, Jersild shows how the alliance, and finally the split, had a true international dimension.

About the Author

Austin Jersild is professor of history at Old Dominion University.
For more information about Austin Jersild, visit the Author Page.


"A welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on Sino-Soviet relations in the 1950s."--American Historical Review

“Such a pleasure to read that even those unfamiliar with this period of history will find it hard to put down. Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”--Choice

"[An] extensively-researched and highly-revealing volume."--H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews

“An important and long overdue contribution to the literature. . . . Anyone interested in Russia, China, or Cold War history would certainly enjoy Jersild’s book and learn a great deal from it.” --Army History

“A valuable contribution to understanding how the Sino-Soviet alliance operated and eventually ended. . . . Will be of interest to scholars and advanced graduate students.”--The Historian

“Jersild has found highly revealing documents from Chinese archives and rounded out his account of intra-bloc exchange by incorporating the Chinese perspective. The result is a truly international history of the socialist bloc advising relationship in China."--Qiang Zhai, Auburn University at Montgomery