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Birch, John

Look at Westbrook Pegler.
From: Mark Landis (
Subject: Re: Help - info on two Dylan songs
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 00:52:32 -0800

Paul McEvoy wrote:
> Steve ( wrote:
> : I need info about the following:
> : - Dylan wrote a song about a right-wing US organisation founded to combat
> : communism. The org was named sfter an American Intelligence officer who
> : was reputedly the first casualty of the Cold War. What was the name of
> : the organisation and the song?
> Is this Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues? If it is not, could someone
> explain where the name of the John Birch society came from?

This is essentially correct. John Birch was a Baptist missionary in
China before World War II. He barely escaped capture by the Japanese
when the War began, and while hiding out, stumbled across Captain James
Doolittle and some of his men (the "Flying Tigers"). He led them to
safety, and then signed up with Claire Chennault, US commander of the
American Volunteer Forces in China, to provide intelligence against the
Japanese. This he did quite effectively for the next few years. On a
mission to free American prisoners in August 1945, he ran across
Communist Chinese guerillas. He refused to surrender his gun and got
into an argument with the guerilla leader, who had him shot and
bayoneted to death. Because Birch died a few days after V-J Day (the
official end of World War II), Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch
Society, viewed him as the first casualty of the Cold War.

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