COMMUNIST PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE (BRAINWASHING)
AUTHOR AND FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT
COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, EIGHTY-FIFTH CONGRESS
SECOND SESSIONMARCH 13, 1958
Printed for the use of the Committee on Un-American Activities
United States Government Printing Office
MR. HUNTER: War has changed its form. The Communists have discovered that a man killed by a bullet is useless. He can dig no coal. They have discovered that demolished city is useless. Its mills produce no cloth. The objective of Communist warfare is to capture intact the minds of the people and their possessions, so they can be put to use. This is the modern conception of slavery that puts all others in the kindergarten age.
MR. HUNTER: The battlefield is wherever there is no Red “peace.” Peace, in the Communist vocabulary is the period when all have accepted, in a so-called voluntary manner, the inevitability of a Communist world. The battlefields are all the countries, which have not yet fallen into this Red orbit. The weapons used in this war are adjusted to the practical situation in each of those countries.
MR. ARENS: What are those weapons?
MR. HUNTER: They range from a smile and a “discussion meeting” to a leaflet and a booklet.
MR. ARENS; What is the nature of victories which are being won by the international Communist apparatus in the United Sates?
MR. HUNTER: The first battles in this total war have already been won by the forces of international communism in the United States. These victories are identical to those they have won in every country which they have ultimately taken over. They have succeeded in softening up a large element of the American population, particularly among those to whom we look for guidance, our so-called intellectuals and our so-called liberal circles. They have succeeded in making the United States think and talk of a coexistence period as if that were an end in itself; while in other parts of the world, as in India, the Reds frankly explain that this coexistence is merely intended to give the Americans an easy way to choose their road toward communism.
This is strategy. The Kremlin is merely giving the United States a choice of surrendering by voluntary change of attitude, to avoid more destructive ways of surrender. Unfortunately, in the United States, large elements, mainly among our non-Communist population, have been softened up into believing that we can just stall on this situation, it will take care of itself. The Reds have succeeded in inducing business communities to look to Soviet trade as a means of restoring prosperity. Large business elements, with all their financial and other resources, are now being used to help the Communist objective of softening up America for recognition and acceptance of Red China, for instance.
This Communist offensive has a double objective. One is the softening up, first stage of this total war. The other is to convince the peoples in their own Red-dominated countries that there is no hope. Since the Hungarian revolt, nobody in a Communist country thinks any longer of Red ideology, but only of Red power. The overwhelming mass of people is against communism in each Red country, including Red China and Red Russia. The only means by which these people can be discouraged from overthrowing their despots is by convincing them that they stand all alone; that the free world has accepted communism as inevitable.
American students, professors, and businessmen who wander through Red countries, in the eyes of the people there, confirm the Communist propaganda line that there is no hope; that the free world, especially America, the symbol of the free world, has given in to the Reds. That was the Communist purpose at the much-publicized Banding Conference, when the Asian and African countries met. The broadcasts to the people of China by the Peking regime stressed that all this proved that the outside world had recognized that Red China is here to stay. Any time an American student walks down a street in Red China, he is conveying one message to the silenced people who see him, and that is, “Don’t look to the outside world, don’t look to America, for help in your hour of need. We have let you down. We are betraying you.” There is no hate so fierce as the hate of a friend who feels he has been betrayed, and that is the theme of the whole world Communist propaganda program today; to convince the people inside communism, who hate it, that we have betrayed them, while convincing the people outside of the Communist world, principally in America, that there is a future for what they call, in their doubletalk, coexistence.
MR. ARENS: What is your reaction to the suggestions which we now hear from many quarters that the United States of America through its leaders sit down at a conference table with Kruschev and his associates and work out an agreement or agreements or some kind to solve this impasse?
MR. HUNTER; You can always sit down around a green table with the Communists and negotiate anything you wish, so long as it does not require actual concessions by the Communist world, but requires only concessions by ourselves. That has been the uninterrupted record of such negotiations with the Reds.
MR. ARENS: What, in your judgment, would be the result of another summit meeting?
MR. HUNTER: The same as with all such meetings in the past, only on an aggravated scale. We had a Geneva Conference. The results were broadcast throughout Asia as a stunning defeat for the free world. The results in actual conquest, the taking over of non-Communist areas by the Communists, were visible to anyone who compared maps. The Geneva Conference was a surrender. Its “spirit of Geneva,” which Prime Minister Nehru holds forth as the pattern to be followed by us in the future, meant no more than piecemeal surrender. The Reds will always give up something that is a paper promise, no matter what, in exchange for something tangible. We still accept paper promises as equivalent to what is tangible. So long as we continue in that delusion, such conferences serve only the purpose of continued chiseling away of parts of the free world.
MR. HUNTER: They include, first of all, the penetration of our leadership circles by softening up and creating a defeatist state of mind. This includes penetration of our educational circles by a similar state of mind, in addition to one other thing – the long-range perspective of the professor who is above anything that is happening here and now, and considers himself as an objective spectator in a long, long vista of history. I see primarily, as part of this softening up process in America, the liquidation of our attitudes on what we used to recognize as right and wrong, what we used to accept as absolute moral standards. We now confuse moral standards with the sophistication of dialectical materialism, with a Communist crackpot theology which teaches that everything changes, and that what is right or wrong, good or bad, changes as well. So nothing they say is really good or bad. There is no such thing as truth or a lie; and any belief we actually held was simply our being unsophisticated. They don’t say this in so many words, except to those who are already indoctrinated in communism. What they do say to the rest of us is to be objective; and then they twist that word “objective” into meaning what they mean by dialectical materialism.
MR. ARENS: What is the mechanism in the United States?
MR. HUNTER: We are again talking of the obvious, except that it is obvious on so bold and broad a scale that we “just can’t believe it.” How often I hear that soporific phrase. The mechanism in the United States operates in exactly the same way as elsewhere.
In Korea, we persisted in talking of just a Korean war. The Communists never talked of just a Korean war; they talked of an all-Asia war. The advantage they derived from this was decisive. Whereas the British were dealing simply with a Malaya war, and the French with an Indochina war, and the Americans with a Korean war, the Communists were dealing with one front and one war, and moved their propaganda and fighting forces around according to the need. The United States has a Communist Party, and those who say that this is a weak party simply because it doesn’t have millions of members are deceiving themselves. This committee has produced volumes and volumes which prove the existence of fifteen or twenty thousand hardshell Communists in the United States, with a knot of hard-core Communist leaders. A huge, bulky party would not achieve the results they can. A small, powerfully knit element that can manipulate the non-Communist elements in the population is located in our nerve centers, where they can first paralyze us, and then defeat us.
MR. HUNTER: It is superficially a joke; but behind the façade are the real Communist operators. They know exactly what they are doing, and they adapt exactly what they are doing to the requirements and strategy of world communism. The Communist Party of America is simply one of the fingers on the two hands of world communism, and operates just as obediently to the mind of communism.
I had engaged in intensive research directly related to this word “brainwashing,” because I wanted to know exactly the content of the word. I found it was a strategy for the conquest of the world by communism, that it was not merely another tactic, but was the framework for the entire activity of the Communist hierarchy.
More from Edward Hunter:
“Brainwashing is a system of befogging the brain so a person can be seduced into acceptance of what otherwise would be abhorrent to him. He loses touch with reality. Facts and fancy whirl round and change places…. However, in order to prevent people from recognizing the inherent evils in brainwashing, the Reds pretend that it is only another name for something already very familiar and of unquestioned respect, such as education or reform.” Edward Hunter, Brainwashing (New York: Pyramid Books, 1956), pages 185-186)
“This was war! Some called it psychological warfare. A better name would be brain warfare. The only difference was that formerly weapons were aimed principally at bodies, to incapacitate and destroy them, whereas now they were aimed mainly at minds, so subvert and control them. In brain warfare ultimate victory lay in the conquest of attitudes and feelings.” (p. 47)
“The Reds wanted people to believe that it could be described by some familiar expression such as education, public relations, persuasion – or by some misleading term like mind reform and re-education.” (p. 5)
“Even when he stands by himself, the truly indoctrinated communist must be part of the collectively. He must be incapable of hearing opposing ideas and facts, no matter how convincing or how forcibly they bombard his senses. A trustworthy communist must react in an automatic manner without any force being applied. Only then is he the ‘new Soviet man’ that Lenin foresaw.” (184)
“Brainwashing was made up of two processes.
- One is the conditioning, or softening-up, process primarily for control purposes.
- The other is an indoctrination or persuasion process for conversion purposes.” (182)
“[Conditioning and indoctrination] operate strictly within the ‘practical’ framework of dialectical materialism, which recognizes only power. They want to make sure that their followers will not grab the first opportunity to turn against them. That is the dilemma they have been unable to solve short of creating a ‘new Soviet man’ with the instinctive obedience of the termite instead of a free will which is subject to reasoning faculties and is therefore never ‘reliable’.” (183)
“The methods used to make ‘learning’ and confession palatable and workable are borrowed freely from … evangelism, psychiatry and science. The language and ideals of each other these fields were taken over and given new meanings and new interpretations in accordance with communist need. Brainwashing is a combination of this fake evangelism and quack psychiatry in a setting of false science.” (202)
“The only real guarantee for this was to grab a baby from its cradle and then to keep it all its life from the slightest contact with outside ideas or places, so a subversive word can never enter its ego.” (184)
“The achievement of this submission is the immediate short-range objective of brainwashing. The man does not have to be a true believer so long as he is convinced that he has no alternative to following Red instructions. Hope — the prospect of any alternative in life, no matter how slim — must be wiped out of his mind entirely before communism can fell safe with him.” (184)
“The hopelessness-inevitability line permeates communist strategy everywhere.” (196)
“The Party’s own name is one of its most striking examples of double-talk. Communism is sheer power system, gang rule with modern appliances. So long as the individual submits unquestioningly, he is what is referred to as a “disciplined Party member.” (184)