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Why were the two biggest communist countries not best friends forever?

MaoThe aim of this enquiry is to allow students identify significant events in Asia during the cold war, particularly understand the changes in Sino-Soviet relations.

Some historians now suggest the Sino-Soviet split was one of the biggest turning points in the cold war, equal (if not greater) than the European events such as the building of the Berlin Wall.

Here you will use the infamous Chinese leader Mao as a vehicle for exploring significant events in Asia during the Cold War.

After establishing who Mao was, your students work through a decision making exercise where they explain who he should become allied with at different points in the 20th century.

Based on the awful / brilliant cult noughts TV programme, ‘snog, marry, avoid’ your students have to decide which ally was right for Mao at that particular time.


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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Resource 1-3: PDF
  • Worksheet 1-2: PDF

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