The Vietnam War's Impact on Chinese Politics During 1965-66 and its Lasting Legacy

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Michael Touchton


During 1965-66, a great power struggle engulfed Chinese politics while the Vietnam War escalated. While most scholars study this period for the Cultural Revolution launched by Mao, this research proposes to examine how the Vietnam War played an important role in China’s political power struggle, and how Mao used the issue of Vietnam to defeat his rivals. The Chinese political structure has changed since then. Yet, whether current President Xi Jinping has more power than Mao did to personally dictate how to handle problems along China’s periphery, including a deteriorating relationship with Vietnam, is unclear. Drawing from primary government sources of the time period, I also plan on looking at secondary sources of the events that took place and contrast them with each other. This research will provide the opportunity to understand how Chinese politics has changed since then, and how the Vietnam War affected Chinese politics.

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