SGM HERB FRIEDMAN (Ret.)
The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group Mascot - "The Ganders"
Gudmund Berge was assigned to the graphics Department as a layout artist. He worked with Japanese, Chinese and Korean artists. He won a three-day pass in a contest to design the Proper Gander unit symbol above.
Early on the morning of Sunday, 25 June 1950, 93,000 North Korean troops with approximately 100 Russian-made tanks attacked South Korea in an attempt to reunite the peninsula by force. The unprepared forces of South Korea were almost pushed into the sea, and the invading communist forces occupied the capital Seoul and much of South Korea.
President Harry S. Truman
President Harry S. Truman determined to support the Republic of South Korea militarily and sought United Nations backing. An emergency session of the United Nations Security Council resolved to send troops to Korea. North Korean troops pushed the United Nations Forces into a small defensive perimeter at the tip of the Korean peninsula before American troops, largely from the U.S. and Japan and commanded by General Douglas MacArthur, landed at Inchon and launched a counterattack. Initial success brought the U.N. troops to the Chinese border by late November 1950, but on 29 November, China entered the conflict and pushed the U.N. forces southward. Seoul fell again on 4 January 1951. Another U.N. counteroffensive in February and March drove the North Korean and Chinese troops back to the 38th parallel. Despite much bloody fighting, the battle lines remained stable for another two years. As the fighting moved up and down the peninsula, ravaging the land, there were an estimated three million casualties. Armistice talks began in July 1951 but repeatedly failed to reach agreement. A truce was signed on 27 July 1953 establishing a demilitarized zone along the 38th parallel and creating a framework for a permanent settlement of the war. Talks have continued fruitlessly ever since.
The C-47 Gooney Bird being loaded with leaflets.
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota was the workhorse of WWII, making its first flight on 23 December 1941. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Douglas aircraft one of four Tools of Victory that won World War II for the Allies (together with the atom bomb, the Jeep and the bazooka). I flew on it during the Korean War and we then called it the Gooney Bird. Some are still flying today in small transport businesses. In the photo above, members of the First RB&L load leaflets onto their bird.
Corporal Raymond J. Krumenacker stands by at the drop door of an
Air Force C-47 looking for Chinese troops to drop leaflets upon
Propaganda was used extensively by both sides during the Korean conflict. Aircraft and artillery delivered United Nations leaflets. B-29 bombers dropped strategic propaganda deep behind the enemys rear lines. Front-line tactical propaganda was dropped by light bombers and spotter aircraft, or fired from 105mm howitzers. More than 20 million leaflets a week were prepared and disseminated by United Nations Forces at the height of the conflict.
A printer loads leaflets into a box for dissemination
All of the leaflets we will show in this article were prepared by the 1st Radio broadcasting and Leaflet Group (1st RB&L Group). The recruitment of staff for the first PSYOP Group to be deployed to Korea is mentioned in a reunion book entitled Psychological Warfare in Korea - 1952 Life and Times of the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group - 50 years Later, Klein, Herguth and McConaughey, RHP Books, 2002:
The Army, to find enlisted men for jobs that required a university degree, set up a special classification and assignment unit at Ft. Myer, in Arlington, Virginia. Towards the end of 1950, orders went out to send all draftees with college degrees to Ft. Myer after they finished basic training to be interviewed for possible special assignments. It was through this process that draftees with experience in journalism, radio, advertising and graphic arts found themselves in the 1st RB&L Group.
History, language, journalism, communications, science, graphic majors and others with special skills were easily identified as having talents that could be applied to the psychological warfare needs of the First RB&L. By the end of January 1951 there were 77 enlisted men assembled.
The draftee period of conscription was 24 months. The Reservist call up was for 21 months. Most of the original Group members started to return home in mid-1952 and by early 1953 all of the original Ft. Riley men were gone. The unit was disbanded in 1954 at the end of the war.
The unit was first organized 8 November 1950 in the Regular Army at Fort Riley, Kansas, as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. It was reorganized and redesignated 1 September 1951 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, 8239th Army Unit. So, this unit could be recognized with two different organizational titles. The printing unit of the Group was originally the 303rd PSYOP Company. It was reorganized and redesignated 1 September 1951 as the 3rd Reproduction Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, 8239th Army Unit.
The USNS General A.W. Brewster
By March the unit was 200+ enlisted men and officers. Their training consisted of basic infantry fundamentals, general PSYWAR subjects, and six weeks of specific PSYWAR activities. About this time the unit started publishing their newspaper The Proper Gander. The first issue was 22 March. Some of the wives drove to a nearby farm and actually bought a gander as the units mascot. On what appeared to be a bad omen, on Friday the 13th of April, the unit was alerted for deployment to the Far East. In mid-June the advance party flew to Tokyo. The heavy printing presses were shipped to Japan on 4 July 1951. The entire unit started its deployment on 12 July, soon arrived at San Francisco where they boarded the USNS General Brewster on 18 July
On 6 August 1951 the Unit arrived in Japan. Headquarters and the Radio Section were housed in the former Japanese Government Finance building in Tokyo. Their work would be done at the Empire House, about 20 blocks away. The printers were based in the Far East Command Printing and Publication building outside Yokohama. A second complement of unit members left their Fort Riley, Kansas base on 17 September 1951, eventually sailing to Japan on the USS General John Pope.
They went right to work. By August-September 1951 the Group was producing 13 million leaflets a week. By December they were joined by 45 civilians. On 28 February 1952 they printed their first 4-color leaflet. The radio unit had transmitted 25 million words. They had printed 650 million leaflets.
How many propaganda leaflets were printed by U.N. forces during the Korean War? According the Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces Far East, the total number of leaflets disseminated were 2,460,084,000. Yes, that is two billion. This information was listed in: HQ, USAFFE, SUBJECT: Psychological Warfare Activities, 28 June 1950 through 27 July 1953. In the Report on the Psychological Warfare Conducted By the Eighth Army Units in Korea, 25 June 1950 thru 27 July 1953, Air Operations state that they dropped 1, 411,255,700 leaflets so the rest were probably fired by artillery or disseminated by patrols.
Lieutenant Colonel Homer E. Shields
Veritas, Volume 7, Number 2, 2011
The First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was formed in Ft. Riley Kansas. It was created by Fifth Army General Order #176, April 1951. The first commander was LTC Homer E. Shields, former Chief of Psywar section of the Sixth Army Group, and later executive officer to General McClure, head of the Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). General McClure personally selected Shields for this post.
Klein tells us more about Shields. In 1944 he was appointed Executive Officer of the 7th Army Combat Propaganda Team and served in North Africa, Italy, and Southern France. He was promoted to Chief of the PSYWAR Section of the 6th Army Group. In 1945, he was Executive Officer to General McClure, head of the Psychological Warfare Division at SHAEF.
Coordinating the work of the First RB&L Group was complicated. There was a Headquarters Company in Tokyo where radio programs and leaflet operations were designed and written. There was a printing plant in Yokohama. There were broadcasting stations in Pusan, Taegu and Seoul that required both backup from Tokyo and freedom to carry out individual tasks. Shields managed them all with great efficiency.
Shields was a hand-on type of Commander. When there were problems getting leaflets dropped by the Air Force he went on combat missions in a C-47 and later a B-29 to see how the system could be made more efficient. Both missions ran into trouble and could have ended in his death. In the first mission his plane was struck by lightning, ran into heavy anti-aircraft fire and the wings and propellers started to ice up and the pilot had to do a touch and go before he could safely land.
On the B-29 mission his left outside engine died early and they continued the mission with three engines. They were in heavy cloud cover all the way back and did not see the field until they broke through the clouds at 150 feet altitude and saw the field directly in front of them. That mission was nine hours of terror on three engines flying at about half speed. Shields wrote home:
I was back safe and sound, and never again for me. No more combat missions with the air force. Stay on the ground, thats my motto, but think of those poor guys in the Air Force, they have to do it again and again and again.
Mark R. Jacobson wrote about the Group in his PhD dissertation Minds then hearts: U.S. Political and Psychological Warfare during the Korean War, the Ohio State University, 2005:
Elements of the 1st RB&L first arrived in Korea in June, 1951. In July the soldiers relieved the Psychological Warfare Branch of the Far East Command of its operational functions but the RB&L did not become fully operational until late August 1951. The Army had originally activated the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, was activated at Ft. Riley, Kansas on 7 October, 1950, to serve as the Psychological Warfare Branch of a theater headquarters in order to conduct strategic radio and leaflet operations. In other words, the Group would add to a theaters skeletal PSYWAR staff in order to plan and direct overall PSYWAR efforts and actually conduct the strategic missions.
A Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group, commanded by a Colonel contained about 300 personnel organized into three companies: A Headquarters Company for staff and administration as well as PSYWAR strategy and planning; a Reproduction Company for the development of leaflets, newspapers, and other visual materials; and the heart of the unit, a Mobile Radio Broadcast Company responsible for broadcasting operations. Each of the Mobile Radio Broadcast Companies three platoons had a complete mobile transmitter setup that could be attached to theater elements when more powerful, commercial radio stations were not available for use. Not until 1953 did the Army add a Consolidation Company to the organization, recognizing the need to have units that focused specifically on propaganda directed at civilians in rear or occupied areas under military control.
The United Nations forces delivered tactical and strategic leaflets to target audiences by B-29 bombers, a variety of transport aircraft, artillery shell, and even by hand. At times Far East Command with the assistance of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Loudspeaker Group (1st RB&L) distributed more than 20 million leaflets per week. At the same time the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet (1st L&L) Company focused on the development of surrender leaflets for North Korean and Chinese forces and conducted hundreds of loudspeaker broadcasts to harass Communist forces and convince them to desert, malinger, or surrender. By the end of the war about 2.5 billion leaflets had been distributed by air, artillery, and even by hand.
With the coming of the Korean War, General Robert McClure was named Chief, Psychological Warfare Division. McClure had been a Psywar officer in WWII and was the most experienced man for the job. His accomplishments were mentioned in Colonel Alfred H. Paddocks book U.S. Army Special Warfare - Its Origins.
McClure's primary concern was with FECOM's organization for psychological warfare. He recommended that the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group become the theater operating agency for psychological warfare when it arrived from the United States later in 1951. At this point, in early 1951, the only US psychological warfare unit that the Department of the Army had been able to provide to FECOM was the Tactical Information Detachment, a small unit of a little over 20 personnel. The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group was organized at Fort Riley and shipped to Korea in July 1951.
The 1st RB&L Group was specifically designed to conduct strategic propaganda in direct support of military operations. Strategic propaganda was intended to further long-term strategic aims, and was directed at enemy forces, populations, or enemy-occupied areas. To accomplish these tasks the 1st RB&L Group had the equipment and capability to produce newspapers and leaflets, and to augment or replace other means of broadcasting radio propaganda. The group supervised a radio station network known as the Voice of the United Nations, and often produced more than 200 million propaganda leaflets a week that were disseminated by aircraft or by specially designed artillery shells. The leaflets expressed various themes. Some, for example, offered inducements for enemy soldiers to surrender; others were intended to bolster the morale of Korean civilians by proclaiming U.N. support.
Although the RB&L group was a concept accelerated to meet the requirements of the Korean conflict, it performed functions similar to those deemed necessary to the conduct of psychological warfare in World War II. Both the strategic propaganda concept embodied in the RB&L group and the tactical propaganda idea expressed by the Loudspeaker &Leaflet company were to figure prominently in the psychological warfare.
By April 1952, when the military situation was at a stalemate along the 38th parallel, three different kinds of psychological warfare were underway in Korea. "Strategic" psychological warfare was carried out by the Psychological Warfare Section, General Headquarters, Far East Command, located in Tokyo. The 1st RB&L Group, whose headquarters were also in Tokyo, assisted GHQ FECOM in this endeavor. Leaflet operations blanketed North Korea with the exception of a 40-mile zone due north of the military lines; radio operations covered North and South Korea as well as parts of Manchuria and China. "Tactical" psychological warfare was directed by the Psychological Warfare Division, G-3, of HQ 8th Army, eventually located in Seoul. Assisted by the 1st L&L Company, this division directed leaflet and loudspeaker operations within 40 miles of the military line of contact. "Consolidation" propaganda was carried out by the State Department's US Information Service, based in Pusan. Its printed and visual media operations were confined to that part of Korea under the civil administration of the Republic of Korea government. Radio operations in this area were under the control of field teams of the 1st RB&L Group's Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company.
Organization of the 1st RB&L Group
Veritas, Volume 7, Number 2, 2011
The Group arrived in Tokyo, Japan, on 6 August 1951. They were headquartered on the 6th floor of Empire House. The enlisted personnel were quartered in the Japanese government Finance Building on B Avenue in the heart of Tokyo. The Officers were billeted in Officer's Clubs around Tokyo. The group consisted of three companies.
USASOC Command Historian Charles H. Briscoe, PhD says in Veritas Vol. 7, No. 2, 2011:
Part of being integrated into the FECOM staff meant the 1st RB&L would grow in size. By 4 October 1951 the Psywar Group had been augmented by forty-five civilians, American, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, in the Empire House and Motor Pool.
1st RB&L headquarters - The Empire Building
Veritas, Volume 7, Number 2, 2011
Ten Japanese typists, four illustrators, and five drivers were assigned. The Chinese and Korean drawing styles of Liang Ying Min and Kim Kyo Tek proved more believable to Asian audiences than those of the Americans. This influx of civilians was followed shortly by the arrival of the Group Rear Detachment in mid-Octoberanother seven officers and sixty-three men accompanying the organic equipment. Now, the 1st RB&L had the personnel, printing presses, and mobile radio vans to become fully operational.
Chinese Artist Liang Ying Min at Work
Klein adds that it was believed the Asian illustrators would simply put the finishing touches on the American illustrators work. However, the Chinese and Korean artists were so good, and knew the customs of their people so much better than their American counterparts that they often took the lead in the drawing of the leaflets.
The 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company
Paul Linebarger discusses them in Psychological Warfare, Combat Forces Press, Washington DC, 1954. He says:
The Headquarters and Headquarters Company contained the command, administrative, supervisory and creative personnel necessary for propaganda operations. The 3rd Reproduction Company contained intricate equipment and skilled personnel capable of producing leaflets and newspapers of varying sizes and multiple colors. The 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company was designed to replace or augment other means of broadcasting radio propaganda.
2LT Eddie Deerfield supervised the pre-recording of President Syngman Rhees speeches in Pusan. The bulky tape recorders pictured were also used in the field to collect live interviews and cover significant current events.
VERITAS Vol. 8, No. 1, 2012
Dr. Charles H. Briscoe Mentions this operation in Radio Pusan - The Voice of South Korea in VERITAS Vol. 8, No. 1, 2012. I paraphrase his comments for brevity:
The 1st RB&L was tasked with rebuilding KBS (the Korean Broadcasting System) facility in Pusan. The men selected to do that job were to write and broadcast daily news and commentaries on current events. This was critical because the South Korean President, Syngman Rhee, and his government had returned to Pusan. The radio personnel were to build a transmission capability to deliver Psywar beyond the 38th Parallel into North Korea. The team was dedicated to making Radio Seoul into the Voice of South Korea. The programs were consistent with overall theater policy based on the best available intelligence. Truthful, accurate news was the backbone of American programming. The Free World proclaimed that its Psywar was based on truth while that from the Communist world was built on lies.
By April 1952, Radio Pusan had a staff of forty-four personnel. By late spring 1953, the original 1st RB&L Group had undergone a 90+ percent turnover in personnel and its organic companies (minus the 4th MRBC in Korea) had become assimilated into the Far East Command Psywar staff and Publications Command. The Far East Command Table of Distribution for the 4th MRBC dated 1 May 1953 reduced the Radio Broadcasting Platoons from three to one and the company headquarters to a third of its 1951 strength. Following the Armistice the mission was radio broadcast sustainment and public information instead of Psywar. By April 1953, the network of fixed KBS stations that originated with Pusan had spread throughout the Republic to Taegu, Seoul, Taejon, Mamwon, and Kangnung.
Former radio sportscaster Yun Chul Sung became the
Voice of Philosophy commentator for Radio Pusan.
Yun Chul Sung, a well-known sports commentator, regained his star status shortly after Radio Pusan began broadcasting again. While his English was poor, Sung spoke Korean with a deep, melodious voice. He got the most fan mail.
The 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was involved in regular broadcasting and also broadcast fake bomb warning announcements as part of Plan Hoax for Radio Seoul. Here is an example:
We interrupt this program to bring a special bomb warning to the citizens of Sinchon [a North Korean rail and highway crossroads].
This is URGENT.
United Nations bombers will destroy Communist war supplies, industries, and military targets in your town tonight. Ill repeat that. United Nations bombers will be over tonight to destroy military targets. Leave Sinchon now. Seek shelter! Get out of the danger area! The United Nations wants to save your life. The UN Air Force seeks only to destroy the war materials of the Communist aggressors. Dont be destroyed with them! Leave Sinchon now!
The Radio Company had three platoons, each with a complete mobile transmitter that could be attached to more powerful theater elements. In 1953, a Consolidation Company was added to the group when it became clear that there was a need to prepare propaganda specifically aimed at civilians in the rear or in occupied areas under Allied control.
Charles H. Briscoe writes about the Group in Veritas, Volume 7, No. 1, 2011. He says that the Headquarters Company was based in Tokyo, Japan, with the strength of 19 officers, three warrant officers and 111 enlisted personnel.
A Four-Color Experiment by the 3rd Reproduction Company
U.S. Army Private Charles R. Gaush was a photo-lithographer assigned to the 3rd Reproduction Company, 8239th Army Unit, 1st Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Group. He was deployed to Japan in early 1953. He told me about a very difficult printing job his unit did producing a four-color leaflet for Korea. He said:
We did a 5.5 x 8.5-inch job which included a four-color printing from a painting done at HQ in Tokyo. The Harris LTV is a single-color press, so if you want two or more colors, you have to run the sheets as many times as you have colors. My point is that our unit was not equipped to do four-color halftones both because of the difficult photolithography and the printing. However, we had a very smart Section Chief named Master Sergeant William E Stewart and he was anxious to try running it through four times in perfect alignment. We did it and the leaflet turned out perfect and was disseminated. Another problem we had with printing multicolored leaflets was due to the rapid humidity changes which varied the size of the sheets between colors. It was very difficult to keep the image in register. Sometimes it would be a week or so before the pressmen could get to the next color. We managed to turn those leaflets out because of our dedicated men and leaders.
Far East Command PSYWAR Section
Veritas, Volume 7, Number 2, 2011
The Printing of leaflets was the responsibility of the 3rd Reproduction Company of the 1st RB&L Group. Leaflets were prepared at the Far East Command Printing and Publication Center outside Yokohama near a railroad station called "Motosumiyoshi." About 250 Americans and 900 Japanese civilian employees worked in the Center. After the leaflets were printed and cut they were rolled and placed inside leaflet bombs by the 3rd Reproduction Company troops. They were then delivered to Tachikawa air base to the planes that dropped them on the Chinese or North Korean troops. From August to September 1951 the Group produced about 13 million leaflets a week. By December 1951 the 50-millionth leaflet was produced. Meanwhile, in Korea, the leaflet missions were planned and organized by the Operations Officer, Kimpo Air Base, Seoul. Its strength was three officers and 54 enlisted personnel. They were tasked with leaflet production and were authorized cameras, lithographic plates, printing presses and the use of USAF aircraft to include C-47s, C-46s, B-26s and B-29s.
Dr. Charles H. Briscoe mentions the 3rd Reproduction Company in an article titled HARRIS PRESSES & PSYWAR LEAFLETS - The 3rd Reproduction Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Group, 1951-1953 in Veritas, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2011:
By early September 1951, the 3rd Reproduction Company was handling the entire G-2 Psywar mission by itself 28 December 1951 was an auspicious day for G-2 Psywar when the billionth leaflet was dropped in Korea. It marked eighteen months of Psywar leaflet activity that began 27 June 1950. However, since its arrival on 6 August 1951, the 1st RB&L had written, illustrated, and produced 50 percent of that total. More significantly, over two hundred different leaflets had been prepared by the Ganders. Included was a stepped-up effort to explain UN humanitarian assistance to the Korean people that began on 1 December 1951. A hundred million simple leaflets in four colors, barely calling card size, had plugged the UN as the guardian of world peace for fourteen days. Another full court press raised the weekly leaflet high score to 65,907,000 dropped between 26 December 1951 and 1 January 1952.
3rd Repro offset print men working in the Far East Command Print & Publications Center
produce 1st RB&L propaganda leaflets on Webendorfer Offset Lithographic 11 x 22 inch presses.
A 3rd Repro pressman operates a Harris LTV press at the Motosumiyoshi facility, April 1952.
(Photo courtesy of Veritas magazine)
In mid-January 1952, the 3rd Reproduction Company was attached to the 8234th AU, the new designation for the Far East Command Print & Publications Center. The 1st RB&L became the 8239th AU.
Klein talks about the Reproduction Company:
Counting the men in 3rd Repro and the staff of the center, there were about 250 or so American military and civilian personnel and about 900 Japanese employees. The artwork and finished product was done by the guys in Tokyo and then sent to 3rd Repro for reproduction and distribution. After the leaflets were printed and cut they would be assembled in rolls to fit on shelves in a cylinder-shaped bomb. Third Repro men would load the bombs on a vehicle and deliver them to Tachikawa Airbase.
First Lieutenant Marvin R. Warshaw (Ret.) was the wartime commander of the Leaflet Company of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. He said:
Fort Riley at the time was headquarters for the Adjutant Generals Publishing and Printing Department. I recruited a staff for my printing company by going to the department, and offering promotions to anyone applying for transfer to my outfit.
As commanding officer of the printing company, I worked with a civilian from a printing press making company; together he and I designed a mobile printing press, sitting on a steel bed that could be jacked up and leveled in the field.
I asked a B-29 squadron leader for permission to modify an empty 500 pound finned bomb casing by cutting the casing in half vertically, and having five shelves welded into half of the casing, so that when the casing was closed and held together by a proximity fuse, the shelves each covered the entire interior diameter of the casing. We used these bombs by inserting what we called leaflet pies curled up and held together by a piece of string.
The Fourth Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company was based in Tokyo, Pusan and Seoul. It consisted of 16 officers and 99 enlisted personnel. It was authorized various mobile radio broadcasting systems to transmit Psywar messages in the field in a variety of languages and dialects.
A Korean Worker loads a Leaflet Artillery Shell for his American Allies
Alfred H. Paddock Jr., lists the duties in greater detail in U.S. Army Special Warfare, University Press of Kansas, 2002:
The 1st RB&L Group was specifically designed to conduct strategic propaganda in direct support of military operations. Directed at enemy forces, populations, or enemy-occupied areas, strategic propaganda was intended to further long-term aims. The Group supervised a radio station network known as the Voice of the United Nations and often produced more than 200 million leaflets a week disseminated by aircraft or by specially designed artillery shells.
The spring 2002 issue of Eye Magazine featured an article titled Graphic Leaflets Rained Down from the Sky. It said in part:
The goal of this psychological effort during the Korean conflict by the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was threefold: to avoid extensive civilian casualties; to leave doubts about the enemys ultimate motives; and to encourage defections from the military and militia ranks. Towards this aim, the graphic design was unambiguous and utilitarian. Some flyers with maps highlighted target areas along roads and railway routes, while others showed destroyed facilities under dire headlines such as You Were Warned. Although raining leaflets may have been less lethal than raining bombs, it was no less frightening to realize that the United Nations air attacks were inevitable.
Fear was a principal weapon, and every avenue into the psyche was exploited. For example, one graphic leaflet, printed in red and black and showing a photograph of four Chinese soldiers with an X striking out one of them, announces a secret plan to eliminate 100 million Chinese. Will you be one of those sacrificed? One out of every four is to be killed! The text explains that famine will take these lives because the Chinese Communists are refusing American food aid.
Comic strips were employed in addition to written warnings. Some illustrated the injustices perpetrated by Communist occupiers. Others were simple instructions on how to surrender to UN troops, who would distribute food and administer medicine. In one leaflet, directed at North Korean forces, a cartoon shows soldiers discussing a UN Safe Conduct Pass, then destroying their rifles and walking towards the nearest UN Forces Headquarters by the open road with upraised hands. Another leaflet informs the North Korean soldiers that they are merely clearing a path for Chinese Communist troops, and are thus being placed in greater danger than their Chinese allies.
The safe conduct passes, issued in 1951, printed in Korean and English; provide instructions to UN soldiers as to the good treatment guaranteed to any soldier who ceases fighting. Another Good Treatment leaflet further promises warm clothing and cigarettes for all. And you will all be given the opportunity for health-restoring recreation. It is not clear how many hearts and minds these leaflets affected, but it was an inexpensive way to make tactical profit.
Two graphic artists of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Radio Group draw leaflets in Tokyo, 1951
The Text Section compiled the text used on leaflets
prepared by the 1st Radio Broadcast and Leaflet Group
National Archives Photo
The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group Symbol
1st Radio Broadcast and Leaflet Group Korean War Christmas card
Every PSYOP unit has a printing section they can print such items as calendars, stationery pads, menus and of course, Christmas cards. This Christmas card from the main American PSYOP unit in Korea features their mascot the Proper Gander on the front. The gander is in front of a microphone, representing the Radio Broadcasting section and surrounded by falling paper representing the leaflet section. Inside the card here were four little Korean dolls, three women and one a goose in Korean garb. The text on the inside was:
Weve thought and thought and thought of how to make you surrender. Weve tried it in Chinese and weve tried it in Korean; but every time we come out with MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Charles Scalion in Korea 1951
The majority of the leaflets we will depict in this article are the personal collection of Charles Scalion. I have added some leaflets from my own collection to give a more rounded view of the work of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. On 27 September 1923, Scalion enlisted in the U.S. Army in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By 1941 he was a staff sergeant. In 1942 he served as a Recruiting and Enlistment Officer in Baltimore, where he administered the oath to all enlistees. On 3 July 1947, he was promoted to major. He resigned his commission after WWII. During the Korean War, Scalion reenlisted as a Master Sergeant. Scalion was assigned to the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, where he worked as a printer for propaganda to be dropped behind enemy lines as a part of psychological warfare. His oldest son, Charles A. Scalion, also served in the Korean War as a member of the United States Air Force.
I was sent these leaflets by Mrs. Amie Dryer, a teacher at Calvert High School in Calvert County, Maryland. She asked me to credit Mr. Jim Scalion (the son of Major Charles Scalion), for providing artifacts, conversation, emails, and sharing his fathers story.
My intention is to select about two dozen leaflets that display a good mix of themes, images and color to show the scope of the propaganda printed by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. Remember that the U.S. Army was starting from scratch and learning as it went along. The Group was very imaginative and produced a great number of really interesting and colorful leaflets.
In the July-August 2002 issue of The Greybeards, the official publication of the Korean War Veterans Association, Lieutenant Eddie Deerfield (retired) says:
But what of the prime targetthe Red soldier fording the Yalu ... marching down Koreas tortured roads ... holed up in a hillside along the Imjin? He has no radio, and even if he did he would be severely punished for listening to such capitalist heresy. The United Nations other kind of air war hits him toowith leaflets. Exhorting him to surrender; telling him and the local populace about the free world beyond the Iron Curtain; warning against the minions of Moscow; and driving home some 70 other themes the UN has blanketed his path from Manchuria to the foxholes with more than one and one-half billion leaflets!
During an average week, Japan-based bombers drop 5,000,000 leaflets in rear areas near the Chinese border, reminding the newly arrived volunteer of the traditional US-Chinese friendship, explaining the United Nations organization and playing on relatively mild themes in the same vein. But as he moves south, the leaflets increase in both intensity and language. By the time he reaches the front, he is all but smothered by a deluge of paper proclaiming the falsity of the Russian peace proposals, warning of skull-duggery among Communist masters, pounding away at homesickness and always urging surrender. More than 15,000,000 such front-line messages flutter down each week.
In addition, leaflets are stuffed into artillery shells and fired across the lines at pin-point targets. If a division Commander needs a leaflet in a hurry, hes likely to call Eighth Armys small but prolific printing plant. The real long-range results of Uncle Sams war of ideas are intangible. They cant be run up on an adding machine or drawn on a chart. They defy measurement.
This 1951 threatening leaflet depicts a lone North Korean soldier facing tanks and what appears to be F-86 Sabrejet fighters, their air scoops enlarged to appear like giant hungry mouths. The same leaflet was printed in Chinese and coded 7049. The text on the front is in the form of a question:
Now! The Choice is Yours! Life or Death?
The text on the back is:
North Korean Officers and Men
You have been committed to a suicidal attack by your Communist leaders. You have the opportunity to come over to the UN side. The choice is yours, Life or Death?
I like this leaflet because it is very Biblical, using the Prodigal Son as is theme. On one side a Korean soldier surrenders to the United Nations and is treated like a son returning home. On the other side, at the end of the war he returns home as a civilian and is welcomed by his family. This leaflet was also printed in a Chinese language version coded 7055. Some of the text is:
United Nations Forces do not discriminate against the North Korean soldiers who come to the U. N. side.
Whether you are a Communist Party member or an ordinary soldier, you can expect the same treatment promised by the United Nations.
A good father does not discriminate between his sons. A troubled and defeated son is always welcome in the house of his father.
This July 1951 leaflet targets North Korean soldiers and depicts a mass of them dead on the battlefield. The title of this leaflet is Mass Casualties.
The text on front is:
A Mountain of North Korean Dead
To Your Communist Leaders Your Lives Have No More Value Than Sandbags.
The text on back is:
The total Communist Troop Casualties to date are 1,060,526. Dont let your name become a number on this casualty list tomorrow. The reverse side of the leaflet contains Communist Killed-in-Action figures for one week in May 1951. During that seven-day period Communist soldiers were killed at an average of 10,172 per day for a cumulative total of 1,060,526 dead since the wars beginning in June 1950.
Surrender leaflets are among the most popular of all the propaganda leaflets. This 1951 leaflet is in the form of a four panel cartoon, telling the enemy the way to come over to the South Koreans and Americans. There is a Safe conduct pass on back along with the instructions: Follow the picture instructions on the reverse side to insure safe arrival behind UN lines. Food, medical care and good treatment await you. This same leaflet was printed in the Chinese language coded 7076. The title of the leaflet is Methods of Surrender.
At the top right panel a North Koran soldier reads a U.N. safe conduct pass.
The second panel at bottom right shows a North Korean soldier destroying his rifle and the text: Destroy or Bury Your Weapons. Come Over the Open Roads Only.
The top left panel depicts a North Korean soldier surrendering while another helps a wounded comrade and the text: Hold Your Hands High over Your Head. Bring Your Wounded Brothers with You.
The bottom left panel depicts the three POWs living happily in a warm room and the text:
You will receive food, medical treatment and humane treatment.
This 13 December 1951 leaflet depicts a Korean woman and her children kneeling in the snow. She has an empty food bowl and clearly she and her children are starving. This leaflet was part of Plan Deadline, an attempt to get the stalled peace discussion started again. The text on the front is:
WHILE THE COMMUNISTS STALL
The text on the back is:
Now that winter is here what will happen to this homeless woman and her children?
WHERE WILL THEY FIND FOOD AND WARMTH?
Because Communist officials continue to stall at the peace talks they force thousands of innocent Korean women and children to face death this winter.
YOUR WIFE, MOTHER, OR CHILDREN MAY BE AMONG THEM.
This 22 October 1951 leaflet is in honor of United Nations Day. It depicts masses of Korean people around a United Nations flag. This leaflet was also printed in Chinese coded 7101. The text on the back is:
Over the world, United Nations day is being celebrated with great rejoicing, for its noble principles were born out of the hearts and minds of freedom loving men.
The 24 November 1951 leaflet is in the form of a bomb warning. The front depicts bombs falling on a munitions factory. The back shows Allied propaganda leaflets being suppressed by North Korean Security Forces while civilians are forced to work at gunpoint. The text on the front is:
SAVE YOUR LIFE
The text on the back says in part:
COMMUNIST POLICE KEEP CIVILIANS FROM READING UNITED NATIONS BOMB WARNINGS
COMMUNIST POLICE ARE TO BLAME FOR NEEDLESS SUFFERING
Although it must destroy communist militants and their installations, the United Nations Command seeks to keep civilians from harm. Many warnings are given to civilians to warn them.
Stay away from military factories
Stay away from airfields
Stay away from entrenchments
Stay away from soldiers
Stay off railroads
Stay off main highways and crossroads
The letter A attached to the code of this leaflet is interesting. It means it is an alternate version, usually this would indicate a minor change in text, a correction, or a second printing, though that would usually be signified with a R. In this case we know that the original 1136 was dated 12 December 1951. This alternate version above is dated 6 February 1952. The leaflet is a morale leaflet intended to depress the soldiers and remind them of their family at home. Its official title was: Think of your family. It depicts four female members of a North Korean family. This was part of a UN campaign called: Plan Deadline that claimed the communists were stalling at the peace table and troops were dying for nothing. A very short message on the back blames the Soviet Union for the continuance of the war. On the front, the daughter asks:
This is a handsome leaflet showing people from all the various Armies helping the Republic of Korea looking at a map of the world while their flags wave in the background. They are united in peace. The back has the flag of the United Nations and text. The leaflet is dated 16 February 1952. It is titled The Nature of the United Nations and explains the might of the United Nations forces. The text on the front is:
The United Nations Protectors of Peace
Some of the long message on the back is:
The United Nations is friendly toward all democratic and peaceful nations until a government resorts to force and bloodshed to overpower a neighbor nation. When this happens, the United Nations defends that nation against aggression. That is why the United Nations fights in Korea today, and will continue to fight until the oppression and bloodshed caused by the Communists are stopped
The text goes on the mention all of the nations fighting to protect the Republic of Korea.
The front of this leaflet depicts a six-panel cartoon showing North Korean soldiers finding a leaflet and deciding to defect to the United Nations. This is one of several leaflet found in a bright orange that would stand out in the field or on the snow and with the title Story of an Escape. This is story number 2 dated 20 March 1952. It has an asterisk in the code number that indicates it was requested by the U.S. Eighth Army. The text on the front is:
DONT FIGHT FOR THE RUSSIANS, KOREA NEED YOU!
Look, United Nations leaflets. This is a letter from former soldiers of the North Korean 45th Division.
What they say is true. I have wanted to go over to the UN lines for some time now. This letter convinces me. Are you with me?
By leaving at night we will not be seen.
Now that we are near the UN lines we will hide here until morning and then bury our weapons.
See, I told you we would make it safely.
The back of the leaflet is the letter sent from former members of the 45th North Korean Division.
This 9 April 1952 leaflet depicts a Communist thug-like soldier moving forward with an entire town burning behind him. The leaflet was part of Plan Fraud. Plan Fraud was designed to convince the target audience that Soviet control of Korea is the aim of the North Korean leaders and that the alleged reforms in China are not real and that the Chinese Communists have deprived people of their individual freedoms. The campaign ran from April 1952 to June 1952. The text on front is:
Communist Aggression Writes the Korean Tragedy
The text on back is:
Communism Divide by Hate, Conquer by Force. Oppose Communism, Resist Russia!
This 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group leaflet dated 17 June 1952 depicts a North Korean soldier being strangled by a Communist snake. It claims that the USSR wants to control North Korea. Some of the text is:
THE COMMUNIST AGGRESSIVE WAR STRANGLES THE PEOPLE TO DEATH
The Korean Communists deceive you when they say they want a free, united, independent Korea. They are really attempting to make all Korea a slave state of Soviet Russia by force. This is what they mean by unification. Korean communists, obediently following instructions from their Russian masters, obstructed every prewar effort of the Republic of Korea and the United Nations to unify Korea by peaceful means. On 25 June 1950, the North Korean army attacked the Republic of Korea beginning a war that for two years has brought nothing but destruction, suffering and death
The theme that the Communists will exploit all of Korea for their own purposes is shown in the leaflet from the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group dated 6 August 1952. The leaflet depicts Mao Tse Tung hoarding all of Korea's industry while Kim Il Sung acts as his puppet. The text on the front of the leaflet states:
Warriors of the North Korean Peoples Army
Do you know the Puppet Kim Il Sung has sold your beloved country to the Chinese?
The text on the back of the leaflet says in part:
Brave North Korean Soldiers
Do you know that the hated Chinese now control all of North Koreas government, industry, railroads, economy and people? Nearly 700,000 Chinese soldiers now occupy your beloved country. Your families are filled with misery, terror and poverty. Has the CCF brought you victory? Or has it brought suffering, death and enslavement? What is the future of the North Korean people who now live under the brutal heel of the CCF? Soldiers, beware of your real enemy the CCF! Korea is for the Koreans!
This leaflet depicts Mao standing with a rifle as chained and enslaved Koreans walk past. The text on the back is:
The Chinese Army is enslaving Korea in the good name of Korean aid. Red China is driving you to death with the so-called Aid.
The RB&L Group was not afraid of showing very violent scenes. Some of their images are quite shocking. This leaflet depicts a snake wearing a North Korean Army cap squeezing a civilian on the front and a 3-panel cartoon of Communist troops taking all the food from a farmer on the back. It was printed on 25 November 1952 in the Korean language. The same image was printed just a few days earlier as 1243. The text on the front is:
THE COMMUNIST SQUEEZE
The text on the back is:
Agricultural instructors Propagandists Self-defense squad
Cell chairman Appraisal committee and Peoples committee.
He gets a Hero certificate. Farmers of Hwang Hao
Do, dont work for the Communists! Hide your grain!
When Christian nations fight each other they often use Christmas scenes and themes because they know it causes nostalgia and depression. This 27 January 1953 leaflet uses the Lunar New Year as a theme. We see a lonely North Korean soldier shivering in the snow. The text on the front is:
1953 LUNAR NEW YEAR OFFICERS AND SOLDIER OF NORTH KOREA
Kim Il Sung brought you as present for the Lunar New Year:
Sorrow instead of smiles, strain instead of repose, and terror instead of hope!
The soldiers wife and children are shivering on the back of the leaflet:
To the people of North Korea. It is the Communists who force you to spend such a miserable Lunar New Year. The Communists are your enemies. Support those who fight Communists!
Sex is a very popular theme in psychological warfare. This leaflet dated 19 January 1953 depicts a Communist Chinese soldier in the process of raping a Korean woman. Text to the right of the vignette is:
SAVE YOUR WIVES AND SISTERS FROM THE EVIL HANDS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNISTS!
The text on the back says in part:
Front line soldiers and officers often lay awake thinking of their dear ones at home especially of their beautiful wives.
But Lee Won Sop, platoon leader of the 50th regiment, 15th Division, saw a terrible scene involving one of those wives. He wants you to know about it and the heartbreaking tears that he felt.
When Lee went back to the rear for training, he was asked to carry a message to Private Kangs wife.
When he reached Kangs house, he heard a woman screaming.
Lee peeped through the window and saw a Communist Chinese soldier trying to rape Kangs wife.
At that moment, Lee realized that the true enemy of Korea is the Chinese Communist forces.
North Korean people and soldiers! The Chinese Communist dogs, by meddling in the Korean War, not only prolong the war and kill your blood brothers, but they also rape your women while Korean men fight at the front.
I like this 16 April 1953 leaflet because it uses sex as a general theme. On one side we see a lovely Korean girl. On the other side a North Korean Political Commissar lectures his men and raises two fingers on one hand and one finger on the other hand. Some of the text on both sides is:
At present in North Korea there are two women for every man. As the war continues, the proportion of women will increase and the proportion of men will decrease!
The Communists bribe your soldiers by promising them each two women! The Communists treat women like merchandise. The Communists try to undermine the high standards of Korean morals!
When I read the text and how we mention the evil Commissar promising his men two girls, I cannot help but think of the Jan and Dean 1966 song Surf City. They were bragging about two girls for every boy. The lyrics of that song include:
And we're goin' to Surf City, 'cause it's two to one
You know we're goin' to Surf City, gonna have some fun
You know we're goin' to Surf City, 'cause it's two to one
You know we're goin' to Surf City, gonna have some fun, now
Two girls for every boy
This 24 April 1953 leaflet is divisive and tries to cause dissension among the Chinese and North Korean troops. The leaflet depicts a reluctant North Korean bride being chained to a clownish looking Chinese man with Mao as Best Man. The brides father is Kim Il Sung. The text on front and back is:
KIM IL SUNG ADOPTING A SON-IN-LAW
THE BRIDEGROOM OF THE NORTH KOREAN BRIDE IS A COMMUNIST CHINESE
NEW SON-IN-LAWS MAGIC
COMMUNIST CHINA, THE ADOPTED SON-IN-LAW
TWIRLS NORTH KOREA AROUND HIS LITTLE FINGER!
This 21 May 1953 leaflet is divisive and that tells Korean farmers that their land is being confiscated and given to Chinese farmers. The front of the leaflet depicts Communist Chinese soldiers evicting North Korean farmers from their land and replacing them with Chinese farmers. The text is:
ROBBERS HAVE COME AND NORTH KOREAN OWNERS ARE BEING CHASED OUT!
On the back there is a smaller image of the Chinese farmers tilling the land once owned by the North Koreans. A Chinese flag waves over the Korean farmland. The text is:
People call Kim Il Sung a traitor, but who would believe that he actually sold out North Korea so completely?
Now the dirty Chinese have flooded into Whang Hodo Peninsula and other areas, and the farmers who worked the land for generations have been evicted. Should you farmers of North Korea be driven off the land by the dirty Chinese?
DOWN WITH THE BANDIT KIM AND HIS TRAITOROUS GANG!
GIVE FOOD TO THE PARTISANS AND FIGHT TO PROTECT YOUR HOMES!
This July 1953 leaflet depicts a Russian soldier dragging a Korean boy away from his mother. The text on the front is:
Your children are being taken away to Soviet Russia, Red China and many other foreign lands. Korean families are being broken up and Korean culture is being destroyed.
This July 1953 leaflet is a very attractive scene of a Korean family having a picnic; Designed to invoke nostalgia and to alienate affection on the part of the NK soldiers and civilians for their Communist Masters. The title of the leaflet is Homesickness. (Jul 53). The text on the front is:
If you were not forced to fight an aggressive war for your Communist Masters, you could be enjoying such a peaceful scene in a free and united Korea.
Whenever the United States goes to war there are certain psychological warfare weapons that you expect to see. There will be leaflets and posters of course, radio broadcasts, loudspeaker broadcasts and newspapers. In some wars there are so many newspapers that I give them their own section. Since this article is about a specific unit there will just be four so I will treat them like regular leaflets. I should mention that the Eighth Army G3 published a newspaper called The Parachute News. Why is a newspaper important? Most adults are used to getting all their news from a paper. They might or might not pick up leaflets, but since they are away from home and have no idea what is happening the world they will almost surely pick up a newspaper to catch up on the news. This Korean-language newspaper is titled the Free World Weekly Digest. My files indicate that it was airdropped by the UN on the enemy weekly from about February 1952 to December 1952. There was also a Chinese-language version with code numbers in the 5,000 series. Besides the news, the paper featured photographs and a cartoon strip. I had many issues to choose from but picked this 9 June 1952 issue because at the upper left it depicts President Harry Truman shaking hands with General Eisenhower who a candidate for the presidency in 1952. At the lower left it depicts Greek Army troops arriving in Korea to fight the Communists. Some of the other stories in this newspaper are:
Protest against forced repatriation of prisoners
Canadian troops arrive in Korea
Armistice news summary
War news summary
This is one of the most amazing and colorful leaflets of the wear and shows the ability to design and use different colors by the members of the 1st RB&L Group. I have seldom seen a leaflet so intricate with so many different images on a single sheet. The Korean-language leaflet was dated 7 October 1952 and was in honor of United Nations Day. The UN was founded 24 October 1945. The front features the Republic of Korea flag and those of 53 nations that have helped to defend the country against the Communist invasion. On the back of the leaflet are photographs of soldiers from 17 nations that are engaged in the Korean Police Action. The text on the front of the leaflet is:
United Nations Freedoms Forum
Founded 24 October 1945
The text on the back of the leaflet is:
Soldiers of the Free Fighting Nations
The United Nations Foe of Communist slavery!
53 United Nations have condemned Communist aggression against the Republic of Korea. 16 United Nations actively support the Republic of Koreas Army fighting to protect Korea. 50 nations aid the Republic of Korea with supplies.
RESIST COMMUNIST SLAVERY
The Harris LTV 35 x 45 inch stream-fed offset multi-lithographic press, the most advanced printing machine of its time, could print paper with four different colors without reloading paper between colors or changing photo lithographic plates. Because the 1st L&L was already in Korea, a Harris tech rep came there to uncrate it, assemble the press inside a 2 ˝ ton truck van, and train the press men. (Photo courtesy of Veritas magazine)
Dr. Briscoe mentions the intricate printing and color and says in part:
The 3rd Reproduction Company had just received the "Cadillac" model of printing presses from the States This state-of-the-art printing machine was the 35" x 45" Harris LTV Stream-Fed Multi-Lithograph press, capable of printing four-color leaflets in a single run. The older 17" x 22" Webendorfer Lithograph presses required separate print runs as each color was layered onto a paper product. This was tedious, demanding, and time-consuming because separate lithograph plates had to be "cut" for each color in the design. Print men had to fastidiously align the paper between color runs. The leaflet "test run" combined the UN flag with the national colors of the fifty-four member states.
I mention above the importance of newspaper for spreading information during wartime. This newspaper is the Rehabilitation News. This Korean-language newspaper issue is Number 4, dated 29 May 1952. Rehabilitation is an odd word and I wondered if it meant the rehabilitation of the wounded soldiers of the war, but it actually refers to the rehabilitation of the Republic of Korea. The one-sheet newspaper has two photographs on the front and three on the back. My files indicate that the paper was airdropped over the enemy at least from April 1952 to February 1953. I see 19 issues. There are probably more, but that is all I show in my limited files. This issue has a number of major stories and I shall just mention the titles:
United Nations World Health Organization works to improve health standards.
The Republic of Korea and the United Nations work together for improved Korean health care.
Republic of Korea medics wage fight against sickness and disease.
This is the third newspaper in this collection. It is the Free World News, Issue 4, dated 16 June 1952. It is the first newspaper that added a bit of color. The paper calls itself a tri-weekly news-digest. Some of the stories on page one:
Civilians warned to stay away from military targets
United Nations Greek troops arrive at Pusan
Political cartoon The Aggression Dance
Armistice news summary
War news summary
This is the fourth newspaper and the first one in Chinese. This paper is Free World Weekly Digest, issue 67, dated 16 June 1952. This Chinese-language newspaper seems to have been heavily printed and I found record of at least 93 issues in my files. As we said earlier, the Korean language leaflets are coded in the 2000s while the Chinese are coded in the 5000s. This issue has three photographs in all and a cartoon strip. The two pictures on the front depict Canadian solders teasing one of their own about his handlebar mustache, and soldiers from Colombia, South America, arriving in Korea. The main stories are:
English cabinet members visit Korean front
Communist extort Chinese families
Armistice news summary
War news summary
Two years of blood
The "R" on this leaflet means that it was considered good enough to reprint and drop on the enemy more than once. The asterisk found at the end of the number indicates that it was requested by Eighth Army PSYOP. The leaflet was called Tank Support and dated 28 January 1952. On the front an American tank climbs a hill supported by infantry troops while firing its cannon and machine gun at the Chinese enemy. The back shows Chinese troops being slaughtered out in the open with artillery explosions all around. The text on the front is:
Yes. The UN soldier never attacks without tanks!
The text on the back is:
No. Your leaders cant produce tanks and the Russians will not provide them!
DONT SMASH YOUR BODY AGAINST THE STEEL!
ESCAPE TO THE UN LINES AND SAFETY
Lost or injured limbs
I want to take a brief break here and point out two anti-morale leaflets in the 7000 series aimed at the Chinese that depict a soldier’s worse nightmares, losing a body part in the war. I will just show the front of the next two leaflets.
This leaflet depicts a Chinese soldier in tears as he inspects his blackened feet, sees frostbite and knows he will lose his toes and perhaps his feet to the cold Korean winter. The text on the front is:
This soldier cannot continue fighting
This Chinese soldier has lost his hands, either to the cold or enemy fire. He thinks about lifting his child again, but knows that can never happen. The text on the front is:
If the heads of the Soviet Communist party had only agreed to end the war…
I’d probably be able to hold my child with two hands
This leaflet was part of Plan Dragon. Plan Dragon used the theme of nostalgia and longing for home during the lunar New Year holiday season of 1952. This leaflet is dated 14 January 1952. During the lunar holiday season, leaflets were designed to make soldiers think of home while other leaflets targeted civilians in order to encourage dissatisfaction with their husbands and sons continued military duty. Operations culminated during the lunar New Years holiday. This campaign ran from 19 January 1952 to 27 January 1952. This leaflet depicts a lone Chinese soldier sitting in the snow and thinking of himself lying dead in that same snow. Crows on his body are a symbol of death. The leaflet tells him that his most valuable possession is his life, and yet one shot can put him out like a candle. The text ends with:
Why waste it needlessly? To be alive next New Year, come over to the United Nations lines. Your safety and well-being are guaranteed by the Geneva Convention.
Elliot Harris mentions a problem with Chinese perception in The Un-American Weapon, Psychological Warfare, which might indicate that this leaflet would not work well on the Chinese. He says:
The Chinese did not appear to identify symbols in the way U.N. leaflets had intended. Leaflets using the picture-in-a-balloon technique to indicate the subjects thoughts or dreams were completely alien to the Chinese. One leaflet with three balloon scenes was interpreted to be four unconnected pictures.
This 4 March 1952 Chinese-language leaflet bears a portrait of Dr. Sun Yat Sen the first president of the Republic of China; and the first leader of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party of China), and calls him: Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the Father of China. At the lower right there is a United Nations symbol. The leaflet commemorates the death of the great Chinese leader and comments on the way the Soviet Union has used and has ruined China. Some of the text is:
The Communists run China as Russia directs
This week is the anniversary of the death of one of the Worlds greatest men Sun Yat Sen. When he died he left the Chinese people three great principals. They must never die:
The Communists run China as Russia directs. This is not national independence.
The Communists deny the people any effective voice in government. This is not Democracy.
The Communists rob the people of their leisure, their food and their personal freedom. This is not improvement of the peoples livelihood.
The Communists are destroying the three principals of the people.
This leaflet was designed to convince soldiers and civilians of North Korea that the war could have been over long ago except for the communists' long range plan for world conquest. The 9 June 1952 leaflet depicts three communist leaders who are gleefully applying the torch of aggression to North Korean soldiers. The back of the leaflet depicts dead North Korean soldiers. The text on the back is:
Examine These Facts That Tell the Truth About the Korean War
You know for a fact that two years ago (25 June 1950) the North Korean Communist ruthlessly attacked the peaceful Republic of Korea.
You know for a fact that the war was nearly over (mid-November 1950). And you know that your soldiers were forced to fight in Korea to prevent the Soviet Russians from losing face since they had nearly lost control of North Korea.
You know for a fact that the United Nations never intended to cross the Yalu. The Chinese Communists were assured of this, so your leaders lied when they said the soldiers fight to defend China.
You know for a fact that Communist aggression in Korea is another part of a long range communist plan for world conquest by force.
You know for a fact that the Communists' two year old war has brought nothing but suffering, misery and death to countless thousands of people.
You know for a fact that the Communists have constantly blocked efforts to conclude an armistice.
You know for a fact that since the Communists started this war and now realize they cannot win, it is their responsibility to end it - Now, to prevent more needless bloodshed!
This 26 June 1952 leaflet depicts a Chinese soldier reading a paper, a letter on the floor beside him. It is designed to discredit the Chinese communists because of their disastrous reforms. The newspaper says More paper reforms and the letter begins Dear Son. Some of the text is:
Here at home, things are not going well. Consistently the Communists talk about reform; but conditions in China are now worse than ever. The Communist reforms are only empty paper ones. In Canton, over 200,000 are out of work. On the street we see rags and starvation. Political and self-criticism meetings take many hours away from our work; factory production lags because of the Communist lack of technical skill. Purges and mass execution rob us of our scholars and professional men. On paper, the Communists call this mass murder a reform; but it is how they install their own people who know loyalty only to the Russians
This 6 August 1952 leaflet is printed on a cardboard instead of the usual paper. On the front it depicts a Commissar forcing Chinese soldiers into a wall of fire. On the back, Chinese soldiers run toward the UN flag to surrender. EUSAK PSYWAR requested this leaflet. The text on the front and back is:
Comrades if you hesitate and wait
You leaders will force you to an instant death
Comrades- if you want liberty and happiness
Lay down your arms and come over to the UN side.
This 9 August 1952 leaflet was designed to show that the Communist Chinese are helping to enslave Korea and stalling at the peace table, while the UN is working toward peaceful reunification and Korean freedom. The leaflet above depicts the Korean people in chains watched by an armed Communist soldier with the hammer and sickle symbol. The leaflet was prepared on 9 August 1952. Some of the text is:
AID FOR SLAVERY
Chinese soldiers! Your leaders say they send you into battle to aid Korea. But Koreans want unification of their country and peace, not death and destruction. It is your communist leaders, puppets of Russia, who want death and destruction in Korea. Why? They want to enslave Korea. To put freedom loving people in chains they know they must kill and destroy.
CHINESE SOLDIERS! YOU ARE AIDING KOREA INTO SLAVERY?
This is a small, square, blue leaflet but I think the image is powerful. It depicts a Chinese soldier trying to return to his family but chained to the war by the Chinese communists. The asterisk * means it was requested by the Eighth Army. This 25 August 1952 leaflet attacks the Chinese Armys practice of indefinite service and no leaves. The back depicts a Chinese mother looking at a tomb marked Chinese war dead. The text on the front is:
WHEN WILL YOU SEE YOUR BELOVED HOMELAND AGAIN?
The text on the back says in part in the form of a jingle:
The Communists have driven the people into a great distress.
They have forced you to join the Army to come to Korea
As you are confined in the Army year after year,
You can never go back to see your parents, wife and children.
You lead a pitiful life like a horse or ox.
You will have grievances if you die on a foreign soil.
Resist Communism at once.
So as to regain your freedom to see the blue sky. [Chinese term for Freedom].
This 8 September 1952 leaflet depicts and unhappy Chinese soldier looking at the Moon and seeing his mothers face. The back shows the mother praying before a table decorated for the Moon Festival. The theme is nostalgia and homesickness. The text on the front is:
The Moon is bright and I am far from home
The is a poem of three stanzas. It says in part:
The Moon is especially bright on the 15th of the 8th month
Every home is eating moon cakes
The thousand vicious communists
Have forced us to join the army and die in Korea
In WWII we talked about the poor weapons of the Japanese, their low calibers and the tendency to break down. This leaflet points out the unreliability of the soviet rifle used by the Chinese and Korean soldiers. The front of this 30 September 1952 leaflet depicts a Russian rifle with the text both in Korean and Chinese:
Old Russian Weapons Bring Death!
Escape! Don't Die for Russia!
The back of the leaflet is a cartoon strip illustrating how weapons are obtained and showing their faults. It depicts the Soviets giving arms to Mao Tse-tung who in turn gives it to a young Chinese soldier and forces him to fight in the war. You see the soldier having trouble with the Russian rifle and in the next panel he is getting shot at. Finally in the last panel you see a happier Chinese soldier as he surrenders to UN Forces holding a safe conduct pass.
1. Stalin: Take these old guns. They are no longer any good.
2. Mao: Take this old gun and invade Korea.
3. Soldier: The gun is heavy!
4. Soldier: It jams! It won't shoot!
5. Soldier: It misfires!
6. Don't die! Throw down your obsolete weapons! Surrender for UN protection!
7203 No Steel Pot for the Chinese
Leaflet coded 7203 was produced by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group on 15 October 1952 and entitled The Communist Cap of Death. It targeted Chinese communist forces in Korea. One side shows a skull wearing a Communist soft cap with shrapnel passing through it. The other side shows a United Nations soldier with shrapnel bouncing off his helmet. The text argues that the Communist leadership doesn't care about the lives of its soldiers, while The United Nations protects its men. The importance of having a helmet becomes painfully obvious on this two-sided leaflet.
The blue side with the United Nations soldier reads:
The United Nations helmets save their soldiers. The United Nations always takes care of their soldiers. The United Nations has the most sophisticated weapons for their soldiers. There is no United Nations soldier without a helmet. The United Nations General is not like the Communist boss who has prepared only for his own personal safety. The United Nations Commander doesn't waste his soldiers for his own personal benefit. Why do you waste your life for a horrible boss who won't even give you a helmet? Save your life. It is well known that the Communist troops are on the run.
The red side reads:
Save your life, desert! The Communists don't even give you a helmet. They only give you a "bunk hat". It cannot protect you from a bullet. Your boss doesn't care if you die. He doesn't have to worry; he isn't fighting in the field. Your bosses just reap the benefits of your sacrifice. Don't waste your life for the son of a bitch. Why do you waste your life for your boss? Save your skin.
Leaflet 7203 was written in Chinese for the members of the Chinese Volunteer Army. The same leaflet was written for the North Korean troops in the Korean Language coded 1227.
We depicted a leaflet using rape as a theme above. Here is another one. Whereas the earlier leaflet featured a Chinese rapist, this 19 January 1953 leaflet features a Russian rapist. The image depicts a school girl (identified by her bag being labeled "book bag" and her book labeled "High school," being raped by a horrific looking Soviet soldier while two other soldiers hold another poor woman prisoner while they wait their turn. It seeks to divide the Chinese from their Russian allies. The text is in part:
Don't forget the shame inflicted upon the Chinese people during the Soviet advance into Northeast China during the autumn of 1945. Even Chinese mothers and sisters did not escape! Russia is still walking boldly there. Against continued Soviet aggression:
GUARD YOUR HOMES AND PROTECT YOUR COUNTRY.
This is a rather striking leaflet in a dark blue color depicting a freezing Chinese soldier in an icy wind. The title of the leaflet is Cold. As always, the asterisk tells us that the leaflet was requested by the PSYWAR people of the Eighth Army. The leaflet is dated 4 February 1953. It is a morale leaflet aimed at telling the freezing Chinese troops that they can survive by surrendering. There is a small message for any Korean that finds this leaflet: This is a United Nations message to the Chinese forces. Post it for them to see. The text on the front is:
Soon You May Freeze to Death!
The back is all text:
Save your Life Now!
Escape to the United Nations or to the Rear!
TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE!
This is a full-color leaflet of a beautiful Chinese woman meditating among the flowers budding on a tree. The back is blank. The leaflet is called Russias War, is dated 20 May 1953, and targets the Chinese troops in Korea. The text on the front is in a formal Chinese and below each line is a phonetic version:
Members of the Chinese Volunteer Forces:
She meditates with the blossoms alone because you were forced to volunteer to fight Russias war in Korea.
Off to the side there is a message for any Korean finder of the leaflet:
This is a message for the Chinese Communist Forces from the United Nations. Post it where they can see it.
What I particularly like about this leaflet, the style and the color, is that it will be used again in the Vietnam War where their TET New Year is celebrated with spring flowers, and many American anti-Communist leaflets depicted pretty girls with flowers.
As I mention above, here is a leaflet prepared by the U.S. 8th PSYOP Battalion in 1969 in Vietnam. Notice the similarity. The propaganda leaflet printed 16 years after the Korean one above features a beautiful Vietnamese maiden holding flowering branches. At the lower left is the Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) emblem in full color. The text is:
Happy New Year
This is a very late leaflet dated 5 June 1953. This is the first in a series called Think. It tried to further the Chinese soldiers resentment of the USSR. The front of the leaflet depicts a lonely mother and father looking at an empty food bowl in their home. The text is:
CHINA IS HUNGRY! THINK!
If the Communists had not transported so much food to Soviet Russia in exchange for obsolete weapons to fight an aggressive war for Russia, the people of China would not be hungry and without food.
BLAME RUSSIA FOR THEIR HUNGER!
The back of the leaflet says Think three times with the font larger each time.
Think! Think! Think!
Philip Lin was a civilian employee of the 8239th Army Unit in Tokyo from 1951 to 1955. During the Korean War, the 1st Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Group was also known as the 8239th Army Unit. Lin left behind several posters from his days as a Chief in the Graphics division of the 8239th, and later in support of public relations and propaganda for Okinawa and Korea, that his son Raymond sent to us so that they could be documented. This poster is more in the form of a public service announcement to the Korean people than anti-Communist wartime propaganda.
This poster depicts a son or husband chained to a skull which represents drugs while his family looks down on him with sorrow and pity. The text is:
DON'T BE A DRUG ADDICT
The vice of using drugs ruins the nation and people.
The cost of this vice is the suffering family, poverty and the divided family.
The Korean Civil Assistance Command in cooperation with the Ministries of Health,
Internal Affairs, Defense, and Society
The eye-balls of the skull have the words:
Yours for the asking
In order to keep their artistic and printing skills sharp, PSYOP units take part in training exercises and war games where the print leaflets just as they would in an actual war. The leaflets below were printed by the 3rd Reproduction Company of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group during a March 1955 exercise. In wartime the enemy is often starving and cut off from its supplies. A PSYOP unit will use this perceived weakness to tell the enemy that good food is waiting for him as soon as he surrenders. The front of the leaflet depicts a cup of coffee and a hot dinner. The back features a steaming cup of coffee and the text:
How are you coming on food? Not very much to eat in the woods this time of the year, is there? You need more food to survive in the open. You cant possibly get any. We promise you good hot food if you come over to our side.
Lithographed as a training mission of the 3rd Reproduction Company
1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion, Ft. Bragg, N.C.
NO MORE WATER?
The front of this leaflet depicts an empty water canteen. The back is all text on the silhouette of an empty canteen. The text on the back is:
No matter how resourceful you may be, you cannot survive without water. You every move puts you in jeopardy. You must hide like a hunted animal. And like an animal, you must seek your water in streams and stagnant pools.
BUT YOU NEVER SAW AN ANIMAL WITH DYSENTERY, DID YOU? THATS A MANS DISEASE!
This ends our short look at the leaflets of the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group during the Korean War. I have a hundred more leaflets but I tried to give a mix of themes and colors. Readers wishing to talk about these leaflets or comment on any specific one are encouraged to write to the author at email@example.com.