A Cold War Turning Point - Cover
Goodreads Icon

A Cold War Turning Point

Nixon and China, 1969-1972

274 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 10 halftones, 2 maps

ebook available

Cold War History | American History

  Paperback / 9780807142899 / May 2012

In February 1972, President Nixon arrived in Beijing for what Chairman Mao Zedong called the “week that changed the world.” Using recently declassified sources from American, Chinese, European, and Soviet archives, Chris Tudda’s A Cold War Turning Point reveals new details about the relationship forged by the Nixon administration and the Chinese government that dramatically altered the trajectory of the Cold War. 

Between the years 1969 and 1972, Nixon’s national security team actively fostered the U.S. rapprochement with China. Tudda argues that Nixon, in bold opposition to the stance of his predecessors, recognized the mutual benefits of repairing the Sino-U.S. relationship and was determined to establish a partnership with China. Nixon believed that America’s relative economic decline, its overextension abroad, and its desire to create a more realistic international framework aligned with China’s fear of Soviet military advancement and its eagerness to join the international marketplace. In a contested but calculated move, Nixon gradually eased trade and travel restrictions to China. Mao responded in kind, albeit slowly, by releasing prisoners, inviting the U.S. ping-pong team to Beijing, and secretly hosting Secretary of State Henry Kissinger prior to Nixon’s momentous visit. 
 
Set in the larger framework of international relations at the peak of the Vietnam War, A Cold War Turning Point is the first book to use the Nixon tapes and Kissinger telephone conversations to illustrate the complexity of early Sino-U.S. relations. Tudda’s thorough and illuminating research provides a multi-archival examination of this critical moment in twentieth-century international relations.

Chris Tudda has been a historian in the Declassification and Publishing Division of the Office of the Historian, Department of State, since 2003. He is the author of The Truth Is Our Weapon: The Rhetorical Diplomacy of Dwight D. Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles.

Praise for A Cold War Turning Point

“With skillful use of documentary evidence from American as well as international archives, including the White House tapes, Tudda offers the most comprehensive and nuanced examination on the making of the Sino-American rapprochement....Tudda does an outstanding job in pulling off the secretive cloak and bringing clarity to this historic conundrum.”—Journal of American History

“An outstanding book...the most trustworthy and convincing account of U.S.-China policy from 1969 to 1972 so far.”—American Historical Review

“A remarkably thorough, meticulously documented, and yet, utterly readable account of an important 'turning point' in Cold War history....A Cold War Turning Point is an important addition to the scholarship on Sino-American rapprochement and a model for the kind of detailed, international narratives that have been made possible by scholarly cooperation.”—Presidential Studies Quarterly

A Cold War Turning Point is the most detailed, well-written, and meticulously researched historical account in American documents of the Nixon Administration’s opening to China. The narrative is given considerable color through the author’s extensive use of the Nixon tapes, which make clear the bureaucratic battles and internal struggles within the American government over the opening to China.  This is a first-rate work of historical scholarship.”—Thomas Alan Schwartz, author of Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of Vietnam

“Using a wide array of U.S. and international archives, in particular, the untapped White House tapes, Chris Tudda has written an important book on U.S.-China rapprochement. It contributes greatly to our understanding of how the Nixon administration implemented the opening to China. It should be read by all who are interested in this crucial historical event that has since changed the world.”—Yafeng Xia, author of Negotiating with the Enemy: U.S.-China Talks during the Cold War, 1949-1972

“With the support of extensive and meticulous research, Chris Tudda’s A Cold War Turning Point adds a great deal to our knowledge of ‘the week that changed the world.’ His insightful discussion will be treasured by everyone who has strived to obtain a deeper understanding of one of the most important chapters in the global Cold War.”—Chen Jian, author of Mao’s China and the Cold War

Found an Error? Tell us about it.