Historical Highlight for July 30, 2023

Historical Highlight for July 30, 2023 – “Propaganda—The Bitch Box” – here’s a short historical fact from the history of the Vietnam war and the POW experience shared in the new Captured by Love book:

“Shortly after our capture, we saw how the communist party dominated life with non-stop propaganda. Every village and even the rice paddies had speakers blasting out the latest party line ‘news’ several times a day and playing patriotic music to energize the workers. The POW camps were exposed to their English language propaganda outreach to US soldiers.

“Following in the footsteps of Tokyo Rose, the infamous World War II radio host, Hanoi Hannah reported twice a day over what we dubbed the ‘Bitch Box.’

“Early morning. Hanoi Hanna gave an update on the war. She seemed to end every sentence about US bombing attacks with ‘bombing hospitals, dykes, and schools—killing old folks, women and children.’ (Of course, our Rules of Engagement prohibited that.) Her focus was to convince American soldiers to desert and abandon their country, their commitments, and their fellow POWs.

“Bedtime. Hanoi Hanna again gave the latest twisted news about the V’s victories. She always closed out with ‘GIs, why should you die 10,000 miles from home? Lay down your arms now and come over to the people’s side.’ After a few months, we learned to flip the switch in our brain to shut it out.

“In addition to Hanoi Hannah, most days after lunch there was a tape of some American anti-war activist. The first day Ken Fisher and I were in Hanoi, we heard Tom Hayden, then president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS, a communist-oriented front group at the University of Michigan). He later became a congressman in California and married Jane Fonda.

“During those years in Hanoi, we POWs saw firsthand that communist governments rely on propaganda, lies, and force to stay in power. They cannot survive policies based on truth; therefore, they seek to control every aspect of the culture. If you talk with those who have grown up under communist regimes, you will learn that the control of the media is foundational to their remaining in power.”


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