Term Paper: Built Between the U.S.S.R

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[. . .] When Stalin backed out of his word Mao believed Stalin was actually planning to become a threat to China and this was one of the motivating factors behind Mao's decision to pursue the development of nuclear technology.

To illustrate and prove its point about his nation protecting itself from victimization China developed a no first use policy and promised its development was for no other purpose than self-defense if needed. Mao angered nations around the world however with the explosions China performed in the name of research as well as his policy that would ultimately sacrifice millions of his countrymen in the effort to save a few if nuclear war ever erupted.

According to Chinese sources, the Chinese Missile Research Academy (also known as the Fifth Research Academy) was established in October 1956 under the direction of Qian Xuesen.38 Ten research institutions were set up under the Fifth Academy to focus on the development of China's ballistic missiles. China began "copy production" of its first ballistic missile (Bates, 1999) -- a Chinese copy of a Soviet R-2 missile -- in October 1958, and the missile was first tested three times in November and December 1960. Since that time the exact number of missile tests is difficult to discern through open sources, but, by the end of the 1960s, China had conducted at least 30 MRBM (the DF-2 and -2A missiles) tests at ranges of up to 1,500 km (Bates, 1999)."

It was during this time that several mistakes were made as well as successes in the development of the Chinese nuclear technology program.

After a failed flight test on 21 March 1962 -- in which shortly after takeoff, the missile erratically flew with its engine on fire before crashing near the launch pad -- the Chinese successfully tested the DF-2 numerous times in June and July 1964 following the first success on 29 June 1964. Following a February 1965 decision to increase the range of the DF-2, an increase of 20% in the range was achieved for the DF-2A, beginning with its first successful tests in November 1965. On 27 October 1966, the Chinese launched a DF-2 with an armed, live nuclear warhead from the Shuangchengzi to an impact area in the Lop Nur testing area.39 The DF-2 series, with ranges of 1,000 and 1,250 km, respectively, and a yield of 20Kt, was "sited in Northeast China and targeted on cities and U.S. military bases in Japan (Bates, 1999)."

Today the program has been fully developed but it was started with one angry leader and a failed promise by another.

When Mao initially made the decision to throw China's hat into the arms race ring there were several reasons for his decision (Huan, 1999).

As early as 1956, Mao Zedong pointed out, "We also need the atom bomb. If our nation does not want to be intimidated, we have to have this thing." In June 1958, he stated, "To make atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, and intercontinental missiles, from my point-of-view, is perfectly possible in ten years." Later on, he further instructed us that development of strategic nuclear weapons should "have some achievement, and be fewer but better (Huan, 1999)."

Mao believed that the U.S.S.R. And the U.S. held a monopoly on the area of nuclear weapon technology and that monopoly not only presented a problem for China in its weakened position but also prevented China from having a voice in world decisions for the future. While he worked to catch up in the race, the world became alarmed at his efforts and began to speak out. Mao however, ignored the dissent and pointed to the abilities of the U.S.S.R. And the U.S. As proof that his nation had the right to develop the ability to defend itself if it were ever needed.

Today, the threat from China is real as is illustrated in the following chart. http://www.house.gov/hunter/threat.htm


When the second world war ended the nations of the U.S.S.R. And China formed a bond based in common interests for power and other advancements. Stalin and Mao seemed to be cut from the same cloth and want the same things though it would soon become apparent that they did not trust each other. History was formed and developed by the agreements the two nations made and one of those agreements was that Stalin was going to share the secrets of nuclear technology with Mao in return for several things including military agreement, possible provocation of the U.S. And other favors. Mao faithfully followed his end of the agreement and then Stalin backed out. This promoted Mao to believe the U.S.S.R. was working toward victimizing China and with this belief he ordered his technology experts to devote their time to the development of nuclear technology. Because of the broken trust between Stalin and Mao China has become a formidable opponent in the field of nuclear technology.


Mao Zedong. The Writings of Mao Zedong, 1949-1976. Sharpe, 1986-. Multivolume work.

Stefoff, Rebecca. Mao Zedong. Millbrook, 1996.

Author not available, ASIA/PACIFIC: The atom bomb, Mao Zedong once said, is a "paper tiger": though., Time International, 08-26-1991, pp 26.

Bates Gill and James Mulvenon - The Chinese Strategic Rocket Forces: Transition to Credible Deterrence


Major General Yang Huan

Major General Yang Huan was Deputy Commander, Second Artillery (Strategic Rocket Forces), PLA. His paper is excerpted from Defense Industry of China, 1949-1989 (Beijing: National Defense Industry Press, 1989).

Arif Dirlik, Mao Zedong., World Book Encyclopedia (2002), 01-01-2002

The SovietUnion. Copyright - 1996 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. All Rights Reserved [END OF PREVIEW]

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