War Gum: "The Starving Children of China"
War Gum: "The Starving Children of China" (No. 74)
Text on reverse of card: "The war-swept areas of China have been the scenes of terrible suffering, brought about in many cases through a shortage of food. In Shanghai in the late fall of 1937 little children sat on the curbs of tree-lined avenues, waiting for leaves to fall. Hardly a bud or leaf touched the ground before some starving child rushed into the street, umindful of traffic, to pick it up and put it into his food basket! They wandered around gathering small twigs and sometimes broke them from ornamental shrubbery. A nursery of young trees along the railway was completely destroyed for food. Of course even the Chinese child could not long subsist on a diet of twigs and leaves. Thousands have already died of exposure and malnutrition. During a period of only four months over 40,000 bodies were picked up in the streets of Shanghai. About seven-tenths of them were children!
To know the HORRORS OF WAR is to want PEACE. This is one of a series of 240 True Stories of Modern Warfare. Save to get them all. Copyright 1938, Gum, Inc., Phila., Pa."
"Bubble-gum cards emerged from their wrappers, smelling of powdered sugar, in comic-book colors with armies and soldiers, tanks and planes, blood and gore...There was a message on each to justify their acquisition to the parents who provided the pennies: "To know the HORRORS OF WAR is to want PEACE." We kids hardly noticed....
A curious, comic-book war survives on the cards, the dream visions of gum-company copywriters. Whether the scenes were gruesome or glorious, the colors were always as bright as the outlook for victory. The enemy was always vicious and often cowardly, while our side was always brave and fought like heroes."
Stanley Weintraub, "The Bubble Gum Wars," in MHQ
Courtesy of Carl Sheeley