Vol. III No. 8
The Rumor Racket
Rumors are not confined to the ETO. One of the most disastrous rumors of the war occurred in the Southwest Pacific. Starting among Australians, it spread to U.S, troops arriving in New Guinea. According to the rumor, Atabrine, used as a suppressive for malaria, caused sexual impotence. Jungle fighters stopped taking Atabrine. When tablets were placed under the tongue of each soldier in formation by their company commanders, he held them until the CO was out of sight and then spit them out on the ground. As a result some units had almost eighty percent casualties from malaria. This one rumor caused more than five times as many casualties as Jap guns, and almost resulted in a disastrous American defeat. Rumors can be more deadly than bullets.
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