Survival in adverse conditions is never an easy task, but it has certainly become easier since the invention of the Internet. These days, if you're looking for tips on any sort of survival skill, they're only a Google search away. Even if you're miles from civilization, you may be able to access the web via your smartphone, and find thousands of sites packed with survival information. However, previous generations didn't have these luxuries. They had to learn to survive through word of mouth, books, and occasionally instructional films.

WWII jungle survival film 3

The U.S. Military produced a number of films over the years to educate soldiers and other personnel on how to survive. It's interesting to take a step back in time, and watch these films to understand how survival skills were viewed in the 1940s.

The following video, known as “Land and Live in the Jungle”, was produced by the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1944. It was intended to educate flight crews about the realities of jungle survival, using a dramatization to tell the story. Check it out:

Of course, a lot has changed in the last 70 years, so we don't agree with all of the advice given in this film. Here are some points we'd like to correct:

  • Benzedrine was then included in medical kits as a stimulant and bronchodilator. We now know it to be a powerful amphetamine with psychoactive and addictive properties.
  • Burning ticks to remove them is not a good idea, as it may increase the likelihood of infection. The proper method is to use tweezers and slowly pull away from the skin.
  • Not all plants and fruits are edible. For example, eating a Manchineel fruit could kill you. It's best to avoid eating unfamiliar plants unless absolutely necessary.
  • Navigating using a watch and the sun isn't necessarily unreliable if done correctly. However, there may be better methods in the tropical jungle, such as constructing a DIY compass.

Nevertheless, many of the tips in this video are still valid today, showing that key survival skills remain relevant across generations.


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