Conflict on the Ussuri: The 1969 Sino-Soviet Border Dispute
AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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In the early Spring of 1969, the world was stunned at the spectacle of two peace-loving, fraternal communist powers slugging it out over a tiny island in the frozen Ussuri River. What was the fighting all about. Did Chenpao Island or Damansky Island as the Russians referred to it have any special territorial value or was the bloodshed prompted by another issue of greater magnitude. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the territorial aspect of the Sino-Soviet dispute and focus on the two military engagements that erupted along their northeastern boundary in 1969. The ultimate objective is to determine why the violence occurred. To this end, the paper will present a short history of the northeastern border formation, a summary of the territorial issue in the developing Russo-Chinese rift, a description of the two military engagements on Chenpao Island, a brief insight into the frontier claims, and finally, an analysis of Chinese motives.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics