The Chill Before the Cold War: The Noulens Affair and the Global Struggle Between Communism and Anti-Communism in the Interwar Period


ACLS Fellowship Program




“The Chill Before the Cold War” is the first monograph about the apprehension of a massive, covert communist network in 1931 Shanghai. The Noulens Affair, as the bust became known, involved operatives and counter-operatives from Moscow to the Dutch East Indies and from London to Singapore, and the networks it exposed had dramatic political, diplomatic, and social effects around the world. Well-known figures as diverse as Madame Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, Ho Chi Minh, Albert Einstein, and Willi Munzenberg were directly involved. This project also reveals how ideologies of gender and race structured the ways colonial authorities understood and responded to international communism, with long-term consequences for the future. Finally, “The Chill Before the Cold War” demonstrates that the global struggle between communism and non-communism that marked the years of the Cold War after 1945 cannot be adequately understood without reference to this earlier interwar period.