Autumn 1962: The Great Divide

  • Gerald Segal


If one were to single out a ‘watershed’ of the nuclear era, undoubtedly it would have to be the autumn of 1962. In the first place, there developed in the aftermath of the ‘eyeball to eyeball’ Caribbean confrontation, a significant period of détente in the US-USSR relationship. Secondly, there was the Sino-Indian war, a conflict that erupted almost precisely to the day of the Cuban missile crisis. These two events, coupled with long simmering Sino-Soviet differences on other issues, brought the Moscow-Peking split to an open rupture. The PRC stepped forward in opposition to the ‘great power chauvinism’ of Washington and Moscow and championed the cause of the non-aligned states. After the uneven and uncertain development of tripolarity in Laos, by comparison in this next period the birth of the great power triangle was visible to all. Some elements of the triadic interaction which only began to emerge in Laos, now developed more fully. For a study of the theory and process of tripolarity, this period was indeed a watershed.


Intermediate Zone China Policy Deterrence Signal Soviet Policy Cuban Missile Crisis 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Neville Maxwell, India’s China War (London: Penguin, 1972).Google Scholar
  2. From the Chinese side, the excellent study by Allen Whiting, The Chinese Calculus of Deterrence (Ann Arbour, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Ian Graham, ‘The Indo-Soviet MIG Deal and Its International Repercussions’ Asian Survey, vol.4, no.3 (May 1964) pp.823–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 7.
    Strobe Talbot (ed.) Khrushchev Remembers (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971, 1974) p.310.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    New York Times, (7 April 1960) (18 Sept. 1960) (17 18 Feb. 1961) and Chris Mullin, ‘How the CIA Went to War in Tibet’ Guardian, 19 Jan. 1976) p.7. and The Washington Post, (25 Oct. 1962) and Victor Marchetti and John Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (New York: Dell, 1974) p.293.Google Scholar
  6. 24.
    David Floyd, Mao Against Khrushchev (New York: Praeger, 1963) p.366Google Scholar
  7. and O.B. Borisov and B.T. Koloskov, Soviet-Chinese Relations, 1945–1970 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975) p.177.Google Scholar
  8. 27.
    Robert Donaldson, Soviet Policy Toward India: Ideology and Strategy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974) p.160. On 25 Oct. India was said to have accepted Moscow’s ‘suggestion’ not to cut diplomatic ties with China. New York Times, (26 Oct. 1962). Nor to declare war on China, 24 Oct.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 42.
    Theodore Sorenson, The Kennedy Legacy (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1969) p.200.Google Scholar
  10. 54.
    For example, John Gittings, Survey of the Sino-Soviet Dispute (London: Oxford University Press, 1968) p.175. Also Whiting, Deterrence p.141.Google Scholar
  11. 81.
    P.J. Eldridge, The Politics of Foreign Aid in India (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1969) pp.33–4. People’s Daily Observer 16 July 1963 in SCMP, no.3022 19 July 1963 p.20. See also Hilsman, Move a Nation p.332.Google Scholar
  12. 83.
    28 Nov. 1962 in Arthur Schlesinger ed. The Dynamics of World Power vol.4, (New York: McGraw Hill, 1973) pp.748–9.Google Scholar
  13. 105.
    Sorensen, Kennedy p.537. Mario Rossi, ‘Frustrations of the Nonaligned’ The New Republic, vol.147, no.22 (1 Dec. 1962) p.10.Google Scholar
  14. 128.
    US Dept. of State Bulletin 6 Jan. 1964 pp.11–17. Even as late as 1970, two US China policy makers saw the connection, Richard Moorsteen and Morton Abramowitz. Remaking China Policy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971) pp.44–5, 69.Google Scholar
  15. 138.
    In 1964 Mao placed China in the second intermediate zone. See Michael Yahuda, ‘Chinese Conception of their Role in the World’ in William Hobson and Bernard Crick (eds), China in Transition (Beverley Hills: Sage Publications, 1975) p.87.Google Scholar
  16. 139.
    Quoted in Willaim Zimmerman, Soviet Perspectives on International Relations 1956–1962 (Princeton University Press, 1969) p.197.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gerald Segal 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Segal
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeicesterUK

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