RAS Salon

The Red Captain – The Diary of Evans F. Carlson, U.S. Marine

Speaker: Evan Taylor

Evans F. Carlson is one of the great forgotten figures of the Second World War. A soldier since the age of 16, he was a confidant of the Roosevelt family, the subject of a 1943 Hollywood blockbuster, and the man responsible for introducing the word Gung Ho into the English lexicon. Although he died in 1947, he has the unlikely distinction of being remembered as a hero by both the U.S. Marine Corp and the Communist Party of China.

In 1937–1938, Carlson travelled across China as an official observer for the U.S. Navy, including many months accompanying patrols of the Communist 8th Route Army in Japanese-occupied North China. He held extended discussions on military and political strategy with Mao Zedong and other future leaders of the PRC, as well as with Chiang Kai-shek. He consorted with radicals, diplomats, peasants and missionaries.

Carlson recorded these experiences in daily diary entries, which are now transcribed and edited for upcoming publication. In this talk, Evan Taylor will explore the fascinating life of Evans Carlson and forgotten moments of co-operation in China in the first years after Japanese invasion.

Evan Taylor is a writer and historian of 20th century Diplomatic History and U.S.–China relations. He was a researcher for the primary document book series 外国观察者眼中的中共抗战:美军观察组延安机密档案 (The Chinese Communist Party’s War of Resistance in the Eyes of Foreign Observers: The Secret Files of the U.S. Military Observer Group in Yan’an) and the editor of the book 美国与中共的心理战合作 (Psychological Warfare Collaboration between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party), published in 2019 by Shanghai Yuandong Publishing Company.

RSVP: bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn

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