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1951 “Red Menace” (R701-12)
Bowman Gum, United States


  • Title: Red Menace
  • ACC No.: R701-12
  • Issued by: Bowman Gum Company
  • No. of Cards: 48
  • Numbering: 1 to 48 on card Backs
  • Dimensions: 2½ × 3⅛ inches
  • Circa: 1951

Overview ¹


During the early 1950s, Bowman Gum's “Red Menace” was one of the most popular and colorful trading card sets of the post World War II era.

As you may recall, this was the “McCarthy” era and the “Scare Years.“ During this era, we all learned how to ”Duck and Cover“ in anticipation of a nuclear attack. The series of cards was a byproduct of this era which saw Communist takeovers in Eastern Europe, the invasion of Korea, Russian A-bomb tests, and the emergence of leftist political movements in Latin America. The artwork for the series was quite spectacular … and graphic.

There were 48 cards in the set, which was issued by Bowman in 1951. Each card measured 2½ × 3⅛. Each card had a subheading, “CHILDREN'S CRUSADE AGAINST COMMUNISM” printed on the Back at the top. The card number, card title, and text were printed below. The cardboard stock on the reverse came in both gray and tan. Every card was issued in both colors. The American Card Catalog reference number for the set is R701-12.

Image Guide ²


5¢ Box and 5¢ Wrapper ³


A very special thanks to Vladislav Kuchta from Prague, Czech Republic for sending us a scans of the R701-12 “Red Menace” 5¢ box and 5¢ Wrapper. Vladislav is a long-time collector of chewing gum wrappers. He has over 100,000 items in his collection.

A Little History and the “Crusader Oath” 4, 5 & 6


When Bowman's “Red Menace” set was issued in 1951, the World was already several years deep into the “Cold War”. Often dated from 1947 to 1991, the “Cold War” was a sustained state of political and military tension between powers in the Western Bloc, dominated by the United States with NATO among its allies, and powers in the Eastern Bloc, dominated by the Soviet Union along with the Warsaw Pact. This began after the success of their temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USSR and the United States as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.

This was the era of “Duck and Cover”. “Duck and Cover” was a suggested method of personal protection against the effects of a nuclear explosion, which the United States government taught to generations of United States school children from the early 1950s until the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s. It was intended to protect them in the event of both an unexpected nuclear attack, which, they were told, might come at any time without warning. Under the conditions of a surprise attack, immediately after they saw a flash they had to stop what they were doing and get on the ground under some cover-such as a table, or at least next to a wall-and assume a prone like position, lying face-down and covering their exposed skin and Back of their heads with their clothes, or if no excess clothes such as a coat was available, to cover the Back of their heads with their hands.

If that wasn't enough stress for everyone, let's throw Sen. Joseph McCarthy into the mix! Joseph Raymond “Joe” McCarthy (11/14/08 - 5/2/1957) was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, his tactics and inability to substantiate his claims led him to be censured by the United States Senate.

The term “McCarthyism”, coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents. So, it was no surprise that the following pledge was printed on the Back of each “Red Menace” 5¢ box.

Join the Children's Crusade Against Communism

Crusader Oath:

I Believe in God, and the God-given freedom of man. I believe in the United States of America and the United Nations. I believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people … I am against any system which enslaves man and makes them merely tools of the State. I pray for the people who must live under such a system. I pray that they may be delivered from oppression. I pledge my faith, loyalty and devotion to the cause of freedom for all mankind.

“Red Menace” Checklist


“Red Menace”
R701-12 Checklist
1Reds Invade South Korea
2MacArthur Heads UN Forces
3Slave Labor
4“Mustangs” Rout Red Planes
5Hill 303
6Landing at Inchon
7Trouble on the Docks
8Bridging a Stream Under Fire
9Police State
10Lieutenant Russell Brown
11Fleeing the Reds
12Heroes of Turkey
13Putting Out Atomic Fire
14Sabres Win Air Battle
15Red Battle Wagon
16Negro GIs Hold Line
17War in Malaya
18General Walton H. Walker
19Atomic Doom
20“Big Mo” in Action
21Mined Harbor
22Alaska Lookout
23Ghost City
24General “Ike” in Command
25Red Rule in Manchuria
26Finns Defend the Country
27Red Guerrillas in Greece
28Berlin Airlift
29Red Riot in Bogotá
30Helicopters in Action
31Case of Cardinal Mindzenty
32UN Counterattack
33Berlin Kidnapping
34“Tiny Tim”
35Visit by Red Police
36Commander in Korea
37Concentration Camp
38“Lightning Joe” Collins
39Soviet Rocket Fighter
40Frontier Patrol
41To the Mines
42Naval Chief
43Huk Raiders
44One-man Stand
45Ambush in Indo-China
46Fighting Marine
47War-maker
48“Doughboy's” General
n/a5¢ “Red Menace” Wrapper
n/a5¢ “Red Menace” Box

References


  1. Benjamin, Christopher, The Sport Americana® Price Guide to the Non-Sports Cards 1930-1960, Number 2, Edgewater Book Company, Cleveland, Ohio, 1993, ISBN 0-937424-66-8, pp. 370
  2. Shupek, John. Card scans via the Skytamer Archive Collection.
  3. Kuchta, Vladislav. R701-12 5¢ Box and 5¢ Wrapper images.
  4. Wikipedia. Cold War.
  5. Wikipedia. Duck and Cover
  6. Wikipedia. Joseph McCarthy

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