Edward Hunter, a native of New York, has based this excellent book
upon thirty years' experience in writing, editing, gathering pertinent
facts in remote places, frequently far off the main-traveled roads.
Thoroughly at home in Japan, China, and Manchuria, he wrote, in
the early 193G"s, the only accounts of the massacres of Manchurian villages which were incorporated into the records of United Nations. He
later covered the Italian conquest of Ethiopia, then the Civil War in
Spain. From Pearl Harbor to V-J Day, he served with U. S. forces in the
China-Burma-India theatre. Since then, he has followed the news as it
happened in Korea, Hong-Kong, Singapore, and elsewhere; is currently
studying the situation in Afghanistan.
Mr. Hunter's analysis of the almost incredible phenomenon of "brainwashing" is regarded
by many American leaders as being of decisive importance to our survival. At the conclusion
of his testimony before the McClellan Committee in June, 1956, Senator McClellan commented:
"I am sure your books and your writings and your experience will be very valuable if we can
get all that before the American people."
The new word brainwashing entered our minds and
dictionaries in a phenomenally short time. This sinister political expression had never been seen in
print anywhere until a few years ago.
The reason the word xxas picked up so quickly xxas
that it was not just a clever synonym for something
already known, but described a strategy that yet liacl no
name. A vacuum in language existed: No word tied
together the various tactics that make up the process by
which the Communists expected to create their "nc-xx
The words came out of the sufferings of the Chinese
people. Put under a terrifying combination of subtle and
crude mental and physical pressures and tortures, they
detected a pattern and called it brainwashing. The Reds
wanted people to believe that it could be amply described
by some familiar expression such as education, public relations, persuasion — or by some misleading term like mind
reform and re-education. None of these could define it.
The Chinese knew they hadn't just been re-educated or
persuaded. Something much more dire had been perpetrated on them, similar in many ways to a medical treatment; more like witchcraft.
The Communist hierarchy preferred people to believe
that there xvas no such thing as brainwashing. As long as
they could keep it concealed, without a name, opposition
could be kept scattered and ineffective. Dr. Meerlo, a
psychiatrist, coined the word menticide — murder of the
mind — for this atrocious quack science devised by the
Reds to bring about the voluntary submission of people-
to unthinking discipline and robotlike enslavement; but
the popular word remained brainwashing.
After the exchange of prisoners of war in Korea, I was
asked a number of times by repatriates, now sadder and
wiser, "Why wasn't I told? If I had only been told, I don*
believe it could have happened to me."
My first acquaintance with brainwashing came I''1""
Chinese who had undergone it on the mainland. 'Ill1')
were of all occupations, from merchant to teacher, and
included some women. I remember one white man coining
out of China, who seemed to symbolize them all. A ( atl'
iilic priest, he walked feebly, Ins eyes staring ahead wit"
frightful intensity. He looked much older than his mil''"'
age. He could not grasp the fact that he was finally °"
of reach of the brainwashers. He just stood and stared-
Suddenly, realization broke through — he- was in a free
world. He took a few steps, sat down, and burst into teal*
None of these white people, and few of the Chim's<'-
would speak to the press during that early period. "■*
Reds threatened to punish and even kill the closest associates of any man who broke the hush-hush. Before leaVM®
Red China, each person had to designate a hostage xxl'0
would sign a guarantee for him. "Please do not talk: ny
life is dependent on it," such persons would beg o\ the"
This was not the first time the Communists had '»'''"
able to keep a deadly secret from the free world. ''"
existence ol tremendous slave-labor camps in the S<>v"
Union was kept hidden for many years. Begun as far bae
as 1920, a quarter-century and World War II were lo p&'
before these gained fairly wide knowledge. Yet ten •'
twenty million people at a time were iu these forced-la"0*
ramps. Untold millions perished under bestial treatu'1'"
ancl merciless overwork.
The secret police had a simple method. They could p"
up a prospective employee under any one of niiinc1'""'1"
Facts Forum News, December.