Communism Splits

Published: 1966
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Announcer: In 1966, the split widened between Communism’s two giants, Russia and Mainland China. Both countries publicly expressed their discontent by walking out of official ceremonies in protest over each other's policies and statements. The split divided the entire Communist world, making it necessary for the West to readjust its thinking and military defense plans.

Red China alone passed through a period of turmoil not seen since its founding. A purge of high-ranking Communist officials such as Peking Mayor Peng Zhen, the promotion of others such as Lin Piao to the number-two spot in the hierarchy of power behind Chairman Mao Tse-tung and the formation of the Red Guard all evidenced the great internal struggle waged behind the Bamboo Curtain.

The Red Guard, sort of an organized, State-thinking mass of young people, surged through the streets of China’s major cities bent on destroying all signs of Western influence. They clutched their Mao books and screamed insults at traditional Chinese.

Correspondent Ralph Yardley picked up this information in the Bamboo Curtain listening post of Hong Kong.

Ralph Yardley: "The Red Guards made their first influence on August 18th at a huge mass rally in Peking. Since then, the undisciplined gangs of teenagers have been on a revolutionary rampage aimed at wiping out all signs of what the Communists call 'bourgeois culture'. There are reports of bloodshed in some cities. Now, the Communist Party leaders have warned the Red Guards to slow down. They directed the youthful bands to establish more responsible leadership and to discipline themselves like soldiers. The signs are that the Red Guards are complying with the Party’s orders."

Announcer: China also exploded two nuclear bombs during the year. One device was carried on the head of a missile, indicating that China was progressing more rapidly than earlier expected in its development of long-range missiles and nuclear capability.

China's support of North Vietnam and its belligerent attitude on peace talks to settle the war were the principle reasons that conflict raged throughout the year. The President could not make the war popular in Congress, but he was given all he asked for and more in the way of military appropriations to fight it. As many Congressmen explained, there was no other course.

On domestic issues, the 89th Congress was very productive. President Johnson swelled with pride over its accomplishments.

President Lyndon B. Johnson: "When the historians of tomorrow write of today, they will say of the 89th in my judgment, 'This was the great Congress.'"

Announcer: The first session of the 89th accomplished most of the work; the second, however, became one of discontent. In 1965, Congress stamped its approval on one controversial piece of legislation after another. In 1966, Congressmen became annoyed with the President’s demands and refused to be coerced into decisions which could return to haunt its members up for reelection at the end of the year. President Johnson was defeated on two major bills, the 1966 Civil Rights Bill and repeal of Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, the so-called state right-to-work laws.

Most observers agreed with President Johnson that the 89th Congress will go down in history as a great Congress. Despite the pressure of the Vietnam War, much was done without putting the country into a wartime economy, and concern for the war will play a dominating role when the 90th Congress meets in 1967 to draft new legislation.

One unrelated item Congress may have to consider concerns an incident with America’s space activities. A Watsonville, California man, John Caches, scratched his grandson’s name on the Surveyor I spacecraft and then announced to the world after its moon landing.

John Caches: "I, John Caches, do hereby lay claim to that part of the earth satellite, the moon, which is within the radius of ten miles in all directions from the spot where Surveyor I landed on the Ocean of Storms, Oceanus Procellarum."

Announcer: Mr. Caches added that he plans to charge Americans $1 and all foreign nationals $1 million per person to visit his portion of the moon … that is, if no laws are passed prohibiting private citizens from claiming land on celestial bodies.

And that’s 1966 in Review.