Communists and Bomb Shelters
Collecting the eyebrow-raisers on this page let me see again what I and my generation were told as children. No wonder the ’60s exploded. Reading them now, the fearmongering and hidden agendas pour forth. If we turned out to be a generation of doubters and skeptics, well, it is no wonder. We’ve been lied to so many times it is hard for us now to tell the difference between climate change and Geraldo Rivera’s vault. Witness these relics from a baby-boomer’s childhood:
The Atom Bomb and You “Based on the official U.S. Government Publication Document 130, National Security Resources Board, Office of Civil Defense.” The title of this book implies the notion of managing your “relationship” with an atom bomb in an effort that was being promoted at the time to make the public feel empowered with the idea that they could “do something” about a nuclear attack. Films like “Duck and Cover” were distributed to schools and shown to children with this premise. But all you were really empowered to do was this: crouch, hide, and worry all the time. This book’s text gets right to the point: “The atom bomb appears first as a ball of fire...” Uh ohh. That can’t be good.
Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles by David A. Noebel, “A Christian Crusade Publication, Tulsa, Oklahoma,” 1965. This amazing read makes some wild claims in an effort to dissuade American youth from the devil’s music (rock ’n’ roll, r&b): Such music, apparently, is a communist conspiracy, orchestrated by the Soviet Union using “menticide” to “destroy our American form of government and the basic Christian principles governing our way of life.” The Beatles are “four mop-headed anti-Christ beatniks” in this confused, quasi-religious diatribe. Even folk-singers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger get pulled in for special mention, less for their music than their socialist politics.
And that’s the underlying thing here. The author writes from a “Christian” perspective, though it is far less Christian than it is Capitalist. To the author, they are the same. Many today still believe they are the same, and from that ignorance draw conclusions and make policy as idiotic as seen in this book.
While perhaps not a “lie,” per se, this bomb shelter stuff felt like one. Just how did the building of bomb shelters and the fear behind it get foisted off onto a peaceloving public? Despite the government’s little cartoony publications offering to “help,” weren’t they in fact the ones whose job it was to keep us safe? Why couldn’t they seem to get along with the Russians or whoever? And boy, it makes you wonder: are they any better at it today?
Details: How To Survive Atomic Attack No. 1. Published by Fawcett Publications, 1961, 98 pages; Facts About Fallout, a brochure from the Federal Civil Defense Administration, 1955; Attack Signals is the back cover of “How To Survive Atomic Attack;” How You Can Fight Communism refers to communism as “something vast and sinister afoot,” Spiritual Mobilization, Los Angeles, 16 pg; The Family Fallout Shelter, a how-to book from the U.S. Government Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, 1959, with plans for building shelters. Facts About Fallout Protection brochure dated April 1958, Executive Office of the President, Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization.
Collecting these sorts of things is interesting and I highly recommend it. But watch out. It can stir feelings of anger and of resentment. Anger at the world’s leaders who have yet to learn how to solve problems peacefully. And resentment that, whatever their ideology or rhetoric, they continue to put the burden of their failures on us, the people. Duck and Cover indeed!
It’s easy for me to grouse about all the propaganda I’ve been fed, and I’m grateful I can grouse about it, and make fun of it. Less fun is this recent find, People’s China. This curious English-language magazine (#24 from 1952) treats us to the latest advances in the New “Democracy” of China, a scolding of the U.S. on Korea, and pictorials on the building of China’s new northern port at Hsinkang and on “Peking’s First Children’s Palace.” Other articles include an explanation for why the 30,000 Japanese in China aren’t allowed to leave (no ships), and U.S. Air Force 1st Lieutenant Paul R. Kniss’s admission of U.S. involvement in germ warfare. It is not disclosed just where Lt. Kniss is or what factors might have helped along his “volunteering” of this information.
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