In World War II，Yan’an appeared to be another wartime capital next to Chongqing．Thus，it attracted the attention of many foreigners，the most famous of whom was the American journalist Edgar Snow.. He came to Yan’an in order to explore the areas of the Chinese Soviet and was spurred by the “Fascination of the Orient.” In his four—month tour Of Yan’an．Snow investigated every aspect of the CPC——its political qualities，its social foundations，its stand in resistance against Japanese aggression，the quality of the Red Army，the construction of the revolutionary base area and so on. In addition, he enthusiastically researched the personal experiences of Mao Zedong and his status and functions in the CPC. On his return, Snow wrote Red Star over China, the first book to introduce China’s revolution. It greatly enchanced the international influence of the CPC by presenting to people all over China and the rest of the world and China’s Red political power.
Mao Zedong with American journalist Edgar Snow in Yan'an,October 1936
Red Star over China brought people to the amazed discovery that “There is another China!” In fact, it was from the nondescript and barren Yan’an that the CPC spread its ideals around China and finally realized them, leading the country, which has a long history and a great civilization but had been wounded badly in modern times, to rise to its feet once more.
Influenced by Edgar Snow’s Red Star over China, the number of foreign journalists, writers and scholars coming to Yan’an and the border region increased greatly. In 1937, two well-known American women writers, first Agnes Smedley and then Edgar Snow’s wife Helen Snow, visited Yan’an and the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region. Helen Snow recalled afterward, “I devoted the best part of my youth to a spiritual journey, without any reward, only that of seeking the truth”; “It was a journey of discovering new things---I found a new ideology and a new king of people pioneering a new world in this, the oldest land on earth.” Based on what she saw and heard in Yan’an and the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region, she wrote and published the hugely influenced book Inside Red China.