Richard Nixon’s China Visit – 7/15/1971

History |

In what would be one of the most important events in the building of relations between the United States and China, President Richard Nixon prepares his trip to communist China. He announced it to the nation by live television broadcast, as well as on the radio. It would change the nation’s foreign policy forever. 

However, this wasn’t something Nixon was planning for a while. He actually despised communist China and ever since 1949, when they took over in China, he has been one of the biggest names to criticize the efforts to form relations with the nation. First off, his entire political campaign was set on being hugely anti-communist. Not to mention he was a major figure involved in Red Scare, which occurred after World War II. Red Scare was an investigation ran by the United States government into possible subversion of communism on American soil.

Through time, Nixon grew in favor of reaching out to the Chinese for diplomatic relations. For starters, the Vietnam War played a huge role in that change of stance. With North Vietnam not accepting a peace offering by the United States, keep in mind they are an ally of China, the United States figured that increasing relations with China would pressure North Vietnam into accepting that settlement.

In addition to that, the United States thought that the Chinese would rise to be a powerful nation to be friends with in the war against the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union were our enemies during the Cold War and having the Chinese on our side would give us a lot of help in bringing them down.

In the end, Nixon’s efforts didn’t exactly produce the results the United States were hoping for. Nicknamed the “journey for peace,” his efforts began in 1972, when he started to attempt building the relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. The good thing that came out of it was that Nixon’s popularity in America was improved and ultimately led to his 1972 presidential election victory.

However, his efforts didn’t seem to affect North Vietnam and their stance on the peace settlement offered by the United States. In fact, the Vietnam War didn’t stop until the United States’ withdrawal in 1973. With that being said, it was a fail to the United States in that aspect. In addition, it didn’t really seem to have any effect on relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

On the other hand, his efforts did help pave the way for future presidents and their dealings with other nations. The concept of realpolitik, which was the idea of teaming up with strong nations in a practical manner instead of a political manner, was used by other presidents in their international deals, easing the negotiation process.

All in all, Nixon’s efforts in building a relationship with China wasn’t a bad thing. Although it didn’t accomplish exactly what we were hoping it would, it helped us grow internationally and was a “watershed moment” with America’s foreign policy. 

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Autumn Mcleod

Senior Writer

Autumn came to us really wanting to break away from the politics that came with working for major news sites. She leads our positive story writers in creating the best, engaging stories out there. She is an enthusiast of all things from the roaring twenties.