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Grant number like: FZ-261383-18

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Stephen R. Platt
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA 01003-9242)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019

U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Evans Carlson (1896–1947) and America's Long War for China, 1937–1950

Research leading to publication of a monograph on U.S.-China relations from 1937-1950.

Research for a book on American sympathy for China in its war against Japan in the late 1930s, based on three main characters. The central figure will be Evans Carlson, a U.S. Marine who embedded himself with the Chinese Red Army and later founded the first US commando unit (the forerunner to today’s special forces) based on what he had learned from the guerrillas in China. The other main characters, connected both to Carlson and to each other, will be the radical journalist Agnes Smedley and the founder of China’s Red Army, Zhu De. With the shifting relationships and experiences of these three figures at the center, the book will explore broader themes of American sympathy, of lost visions for the shared future of China and America, and of military influence East and West, while giving a new perspective on what went so terribly wrong in this era, that it should have ended with the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Chinese on the battlefields of Korea.