CONELRAD READ ALERT: Selected Books and Miscellaneous Tracts
Scouting, September 1956
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SCOUTING: September 1956

If historians ever need evidence of the imposition of the Cold War into everyday American life in the fifties, they could do worse than taking a look at the September 1956 issue of Scouting. Just above an adorable cover shot of a Cub Scout and his dog are the highlights contained in the issue: Soviet School Child and Our Answer to Brainwashing. There are also articles in the issue that concern subjects of more traditional interest to Scouts. One short item concerns "Friendship Trees" that a Scout District in Philadelphia sent to Hiroshima University in Japan "to help beautify the campus, rebuilt after destruction by the first atomic bomb."

But the prominence of the two Communism-themed articles in the issue along with another one entitled "Onward for God" leave little doubt about the message being hammered home to the (Scout) troops.

"Soviet School Child" describes the indoctrination of Russian pupils and how much harder the average Red kid has it than the typical American child. But the writer explains that the only reason the Soviet child can achieve so highly is by courtesy of "the most refined and complex methods of psychological conditioning ever invented."

Later in the article, the author goes further in her condemnation of the Soviet educational system: "It does not foster self-reliance but self-immolation."

The writer of the piece also includes an English translation of the oath of the Pioneers (a Soviet Communist Party organization for children ages nine to fourteen) which has a very slight similarity to the Boy Scout oath in that it promotes allegiance to one’s country:

I, a young Pioneer of the Soviet Union, in the presence of my comrades solemnly promise to be true to the teachings of Lenin, steadily struggling for the cause of our Communist Party and for the conquest of communism. I promise so to live and study that I may be an honorable member of my Soviet motherland.

For comparison purposes, here is the Scout Oath (unchanged since its creation in 1911)

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

At the very end of the article the reader is surprised to see that it is "reprinted by special permission of the Ladies' Home Journal." One wonders if this caused any undue worry among Scouts who were hyper-vigilant about complying with the section of their oath to remain "morally straight." It wasn't like they were reading selections from Ladies' Home Journal on purpose! (But Eddie Haskell would never buy this explanation).

The second Cold War-oriented article, "Our Answer to Brainwashing," discusses a Department of Defense Prisoner of War Committee report that identifies key areas of improvement needed for preventing future POW brainwashing by the Communists. The author of the article—in a bit of a stretch—proposes that the objectives of the Boy Scouts' "Four-Year Program" of preparedness offers help in preventing Communist mind control.

Here is an example from the piece:

THE PROBLEM – The prisoner-of-war committee stressed the need for spiritual and educational bulwarks against political indoctrination.

OUR ANSWER – Obligation to God – The boy needs to dedicate and reinforce himself, earnest in his desire to work and live in harmony with his Creator. He needs to feel and to practice, in his everyday living, his obligation to God.

It is unknown if the Department of Defense ever adopted the Boy Scouts' "Four-Year Program" tenets in its training of soldiers, but it is known that some Chinese Communist interrogation techniques were cribbed for War on Terror suspect grilling.
SCOUTING: September 1956
By Dorothy Thompson (Soviet School Child)
By Dr. Arthur A. Schuck (Our Answer to Brainwashing)
September 1956
Vol. 44, No. 7

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