1949 was a tipping point—for China, where Mao Zedong’s Communists would win a long and bloody civil war and take control of the country, and for a United States grappling with the meaning of the conquest amid the backdrop of the early Cold War. Should the U.S. confront Mao and try to prevent China from falling under Communist rule? Should it opt for a strategy of containment? How should America relate to the collapsed Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, now fled to Taiwan?
More than six decades later, as the U.S. and China continue to attract and repel one another, these questions still haunt their relationship, even as it has grown infinitely more complex.
Former Newsweek correspondent Kevin Peraino’s new book, A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman and the Birth of China, 1949 draws on a varied set of sources, including newly declassified CIA documents, to paint a vivid picture of the heated deliberations and whirlwind of uncertainties President Truman’s team of diplomats and policy makers were pulled into in the wake of Mao Zedong’s ascension to power in 1949.
Join Peraino and ChinaFile for a discussion of the history of the U.S.-China relationship and the origins of its current dynamics.
2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the Partition of British India, as well as the launch of Harvard’s South Asia Institute’s major research on Partition. Panelists Rahul Mehrotra (Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Harvard University), Tarun Khanna (Director, Harvard South Asia Institute; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School), Karim R. Lakhani (Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School) and Jennifer Leaning (François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights; Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University) discuss the complexities of large-scale human migration and resettlements. Such lessons can inform current cross-border displacement and the corresponding growth of urban settlements and cities.
Viewpoints is an annual series featuring prominent, visionary figures in the creative arts and is made possible by the generous support of Aashish and Dinyar S. Devitre.