Mao’s Changing Perceptions of Internal Disturbances and External Threats, Mid-1963 to the End of 1964
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With the passage of time, Mao’s perceptions of domestic strife and foreign aggression began to change. The Sino-Soviet polemics resulted in an ideological and emotional rupture between the two parties, and the split in the organizational relationship was only a matter of time. China’s domestic and foreign policies turned further leftward. In 1964, Mao made several fatal decisions. In foreign policy, he regarded both the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as China’s enemies. In domestic policy, he began to promote the ferment that led to the Cultural Revolution—a political revolution to oppose revisionism from abroad and to guard against revisionism in China. As China began to see the USSR as an enemy, the key to China’s national security strategy was to prepare defense against the Soviet Union.