From this distance, Flying Cadet magazine could look like a cynical attempt to profit from World War 2 – specifically a whole generation of patriotic teens who dreamed of proving themselves in the air before the whole thing was over.
On the other hand, at 10¢ per month the short-lived magazine probably did perform a valuable service for US recruiters and their training commands. With its mix of useful information, heroic tales and ‘carefully selected fiction’ (their words, not mine), Flying Cadet delivered basic theory and red blooded propaganda right into the hands of tomorrow’s recruits.
So a boy who dreamed of lining up his gleaming P-51D on a Fw.190 or Ki-43 and studied each issue diligently could have entered theory classes with a working knowledge of navigation, instrumentation, meteorology, bombing, fighter tactics, aircraft recognition and more.
We weren’t there, so we can’t know for sure.
What I can tell you is that the surviving issues are dripping with 1940’s charm and the gee-whiz enthusiasm of a less cynical time.
I could make the point with a useful article on cloud identification or compass declination. But given history was never more black or white, I think we can afford to go crazy with the colour. (And the carefully selected fiction!)
So here’s ‘America Invaded!’, in all its vintage glory. I suspect any similarity to actual events – the Battle of Midway, say – is far from coincidental.
Click each page to read…
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