The film “Hemp For Victory”
and the reality of Library censorship in the United States
“(they) . . asked every agency they could think of about the film and were met with the same answer, typified by this response from John Van Calcar of the Agricultural, Stabilization, and Conservation Service:And who was to say that he was wrong? After all every library index and catalog they were able to obtain simply carried no references to the film, none-what-so-ever. They even went so far as to go to the Library of Congress (Washington DC) to see what they could find there. But again, nothing. In frustration, they were just about to give up when one of the searchers got an idea. Instead of looking only through current library indexes, he inquired if the Library of Congress had any older indexes, one’s from the 1940’s or 50’s. To which the librarian (the unsung hero of this story), tells them yes, and after being shown where they were, they had no trouble locating the film. Yes it did exist and there it was all along. . . the story then goes on to tell about how (with the catalog’s stated information) they were finally able to obtain (maybe) the last copy of the film still in existence.“We contacted the Washington DC office of the Department of Agriculture and also the Federal Audio Center and have been unable to locate any film with the title “Hemp for Victory” that was produced by any department of the federal government.”
BooneNewsRepublican1943-02-03p2So obviously, according to this and other newspaper accounts at the time, such a film did in fact exist. AND upon closer examination the article (actually a promo write-up in exchange for buying advertising), reveals the following:
HEMP FILM TO BE SHOWN HERE
“. . . A real opportunity for those Boone county farmers who have signed government contracts to grow hemp this year for the war, to learn vividly all the stages connected with the crop ---from the planting of the seed to the delivery to the processing mill—will be afforded Friday and Saturday. Feb 5 and 6. at the Rialto theatre in Boone.
A government-produced motion picture entitled “Hemp For Victory” will be shown at the Rialto on those two days, C. E. Judd, county extension director, announced this week.
“I feel this would be an excellent opportunity for those who have contracted to grow the crop to see exactly all the work involved and learn the steps from the planting to the actual use of the hemp as rope in the war,” Judd said.
’The picture runs 14 minutes, and is a most complete and comprehensive visual ‘text book’ on the subject of hemp growing. I urge every farmer planning to grow hemp to see this picture if he can do so,” Judd added.
How much seed to sow, how to put the crop in, how to determine when it is ready for harvest, how to use the different types of harvesting machinery, the turning and “retting process" which the hemp must undergo after being cut . . . these are some of the vitally important things which will be shown in this U. S. Department of Agriculture film, S. N. Fangman, manager of the Rialto pointed out. . . “
“ . . to learn vividly all the stages connected with the crop— from the planting of the seed to the delivery to the processing mill . . an excellent opportunity for those who have contracted to grow the crop to see exactly all the work involved and learn the steps from the planting to the actual use of the hemp as rope in the war, . . . How much seed to sow, how to put the crop in, how to determine when it is read y for harvest, how to use the different types of harvesting machinery, the turning and “retting process" which the hemp must undergo after being cut ”This is probably the most important point to note, because IF THE FILM had been a Hoax, one put together by the unwashed hippie many years after the war in order to embarrass the government, then why does its content match exactly what was being said about it back during the war? Or for that matter if it was a hoax, then why didn’t the U.S.D.A. denounce it as such? After all, isn’t it against the law to claim that you’re the U.S. Government (as the film does) if you’re not? The reason is obviously because the film that was eventually found (maybe the very last copy then in existence) is authentic.
“Sir: The Narcotic Bureau of this Department has been advised that your Department has issued some bulletins, evidently for the information of farmers, which give information upon the manner of cultivating within this country the opium poppy and Cannabis sativa.This internal memo, which referenced a 1935 ‘Dept. of Agriculture’ publication entitled, “Drug Plants Under Cultivation” (Bulletin No. 663), had numerous pages devoted to the growth of Medical Cannabis (at the time a recognized established medicine). However, later on that year, the U.S.D.A reworded the bulletin’s contents, in effect, removing all references to Cannabis. --- aka CENSORSHIP. A situation, which as the example below shows, still follows it to this very day:
May I request to be advised whether any such publications have been issued within the past several years? This Department, through its Narcotic Bureau, has sought to discourage at least under present conditions of supply, and respectfully urges that, in the interest of securing adequate control of the drugs derived from these plants, that no bulletin which may encourage such cultivation be issued. “
USDA Whistleblower Claims Censorship Of Pesticide Research Additionally the U.S.D.A., (recalling that the original purpose for our Marihuana laws was to keep blacks/browns in their place) has a long established history of racial discrimination – a history that it is still following to this very day.
“A senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a whistleblower complaint on Wednesday accusing the federal agency of suppressing research . . . more“
The Real Farm Subsidy Scandal?But most damning of all, although a little known fact, the D.E.A. itself (then known as the ‘Bureau of Chemistry’) was at one time a part of, and under the control of, the ‘Department Of Agriculture.’ In fact, as the following reference shows, it may have been the first to start putting out Reefer Madness propaganda, and this was way before Harry Anslinger came on the scene. The following example is considered by many students of Reefer-Madness-ology as being classic:
USDA’s Legacy of Racial Discrimination. 
“The true scandal is that farm subsidies still overwhelmingly flow to white farmers – despite decades of U.S. Department of Agriculture discrimination that ultimately resulted in a landmark civil rights settlement. . . [than making reference to the Pigford v. Glickman court action] . . . .For many years, the USDA systematically favored white farmers by denying or delaying loans to Black farmers. As a result, the number of Black farmers fell from a peak of nearly 1 million in 1910 to about 36,000 today. . . . more”
1914 - Report of investigation in the State of Texas, particularly along the Mexican border, of the traffic in, and consumption of the drug generally known as "Indian hemp," or cannabis indica : known in Mexico and states bordering on the Rio Grande River as "Marihuana, " sometimes also referred to as "Rosa Maria, " or "Juanita." Author: Smith, R. Publication: Washington : Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Chemistry, - Year: 1917 - Description: 86 leaves ; 28 cm.So it appears that the Bureau of Agriculture, as a governmental agency:
“. . The United States government denied ever having made such a film. It must be a hoax, was the general consensus. Jack Herer and other activists asked every agency they could think of about the film and were met with the same answer, typified by this response from John Van Calcar of the Agricultural, Stabilization, and Conservation Service:In other words, we’re not just talking about an omission in an index catalog, but about literally going out collecting, destroying, etc. . . . all traces of a film, that was now of extreme embarrassment. Actions that by definition had to have been done deliberately and with the full intent of censorship.“We contacted the Washington DC office of the Department of Agriculture and also the Federal Audio Center and have been unable to locate any film with the title “Hemp for Victory” that was produced by any department of the federal government.”
Hemp for Victory...which (lets face it) doesn’t rhyme very well with what the narcotics police were telling us just a few months before the war. Where were the half-naked girls jumping out of fifth story windows, the bestial murders, . . .etc? Again, this just wasn’t what our police had been telling us just a few short months before. But to address this question, our government just didn’t have much choice. Our website -- www.ReeferMadnessMuseum.org/IndustrialHemp/HempForVictoryPage01.htm - we feel does a good job of addressing this issue. And while it’s a long read, it’s also fascinating as it goes into Hemp’s economic and military significance towards the war effort, and it had a lot more to do with it than just rope. For our purposes here, it is enough to know that during those early days of the war, America was facing an up-hill battle with defeat a real possibility.
“Long ago when these ancient Grecian temples were new, hemp was already old in the service of mankind. For thousands of years, even then, this plant had been grown for cordage and cloth in China and elsewhere in the East. For centuries prior to about 1850 all the ships that sailed the western seas were rigged with hempen rope and sails.
For the sailor, no less than the hangman, hemp was indispensable.
A 44-gun frigate like our cherished Old Ironsides took over 60 tons of hemp for rigging, including an anchor cable 25 inches in circumference. The Conestoga wagons and prairie schooners of pioneer days were covered with hemp canvas. Indeed the very word canvas comes from the Arabic word for hemp. In those days hemp was an important crop in Kentucky and Missouri. Then came cheaper imported fibers for cordage, like jute, sisal and Manila hemp, and the culture of hemp in America declined.
But now with Philippine and East Indian sources of hemp in the hands of the Japanese, and shipment of jute from India curtailed, American hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as of our Industry. In 1942, patriotic farmers at the government’s request planted 36,000 acres of seed hemp, an increase of several thousand percent. The goal for 1943 is 50,000 acres of seed hemp. “
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