This might seem a strange way to begin a blog post about American diplomacy in the Nixon era, but the year 1949 was significant for both the Russians and the Chinese. For the Soviets, it was the year that they became the second nation (after the United States) to get the atomic bomb. For the communist Chinese, it was the year that they proclaimed the "People's Republic of China" in the mainland, which is the communist government that still rules China today. Both of these were massive events that were of the utmost importance for this story, but it was the second event that has the most explanatory power for what went on there. Thus, it is the second of these two events that I will be focusing on here at the beginning of this post, as a way of setting up my discussion of the other things later.
Mao Zedong, dictator who proclaimed the "People's Republic of China"