OWI PACIFIC PSYOP 
SIX DECADES AGO 

SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.) 

Note: Images from this article were used by “The Outlook Magazine,” China’s leading original creative lifestyle magazine in a May, 2014 article on Chinese conflicts entitled “Digging China,”that depicted the propaganda of conflicts and alliances among the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese Nationalist Party, Japan and the United States. Leaflets depicted in this article also appear in the “traveling classroom” display of the Northern Mariana Islands Museum of History and Culture to teach Japanese history throughout the southern islands.

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Cloth OWI Patch

 

Most WWII veterans and historians are familiar with the Office of War Information (OWI). However, little has been written about how these psychological warfare specialists were trained and how they performed their duties in a combat situation. This article will use various OWI papers and training guides and attempt to give the reader an idea of what the OWI taught and how those lessons were used. This article is like a time capsule. It reveals what the United States Office of War Information believed about Japan in 1944 and how it used that information.

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 President Roosevelt

Elmer Davis

President Roosevelt established the United States Office of War Information by his Executive Order 9182 of 13 June 1942. The OWI was charged with conveying information to the world, and empowered to conduct propaganda to foreign nations to contribute to an Allied victory. Propaganda in areas of war were subject to the approval of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). At lower levels, the Theater commander had the power of approval. Elmer Davis, OWI’s first Director said that it was “A war agency, which owes its existence solely to the war, and was established to serve as one of the instruments by which the war will be won.”

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Admiral Nimitz

Admiral Halsey

The use of psychological warfare in the Pacific is an interesting subject and a number of books comment on it. Probably the most concise is You Can't Fight Tanks with Bayonets, Allison B. Gilmore, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1998. Some of her comments are: 

In the war against Japan the theater commanders again defined the form psywar operations would take and determined what agencies would be involved in its conduct.  

Admiral Chester Nimitz employed the services of OWI in the North and Central Pacific areas but did not allow the OSS to operate there. He left the decision of whether these organizations would be permitted to function in the South Pacific to Admiral William Halsey. In March 1943, Nimitz, his operations staff, and an OWI representative attended a series of meetings to discuss the creation of an OWI Pacific command team. The OWI representative later wrote, "There was evidenced a general lack of belief in the worthwhileness of OWI efforts along propaganda lines and covert doubt as to its general usefulness." Yet, he stressed, Nimitz himself was, "not unsympathetic to propaganda warfare . . . and is willing to give us a fair shake in his theater."Halsey, on the other hand, was described as interested only in, "fighting, fighting, fighting, and regards psychological warfare as some impractical plaything of effete civilians."  That impression was apparently correct, for in the end Halsey refused both OWI and OSS clearance to operate under his command. 

OWI did not establish a presence in Nimitz's command until March 1944, when it opened an overseas branch  in Honolulu and began full-scale propaganda activities.

Prior to March 1944, OWI’s Honolulu outpost was devoted to information service. After that date, it began full-scale propaganda activities against the enemy. It brought in presses for printing leaflets and news sheets.It originated and relayed radio messages from its short wave transmitters. During the course of this article we will discuss some of the leaflets that were designed in Honolulu and electronically sent to the island of Saipan where they were printed by OWI staff. Much of this information comes from An American Artist in Tokyo, Michiyo Morioka, The Blakemore Foundation, Seattle, WA.

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Bradford Smith
OWI Chief, Central Pacific Operations

Bradford Smith was the chief of the outpost. He had spent five years as a teacher at St. Paul’s University in Tokyo. Smith led an OWI staff of approximately 90 writers, technicians and specialists. Edward H. MacKay assisted Smith writing leaflets. MacKay had previously worked in Shanghai and Yokohama. Other staff members were Bessie McKim, Clarence Davies, Francis Baker and Bess Ellen Backes. The section’s military members were organized into combat propaganda teams for a given campaign.

Smith took part in a Psychological Warfare Conference in Manila 7-8 May 1945, representing OWI Honolulu. Other participants were from the Sixth, Eighth and Tenth U.S. Armies, the Seventh Fleet, and numerous organizations, both American and British. Smith talked about his unit’s accomplishments. He said that when he arrived in Honolulu he spoke with Admiral Nimitz who wanted OWI kept separate from the Psychological Warfare Branch. He had an Army Colonel named Johnson under Navy command as a Psychological Warfare Officer. Smith controlled leaflet production but both his civilians and Colonel Johnson could write and design their own leaflets. Smith had no tactical leaflets because he had no control over when and where B-29s would drop them. At the time he just printed the leaflets and forwarded them. He mentioned building a printing plant in Saipan that very week and felt it was possible that in the future using Saipan, tactical leaflets could be designed and dropped on specific targets. He mentioned his shortwave radio propaganda in depth and admitted that he let the Office of Strategic Services broadcast a “black” program 30 minutes each week, but he did not believe that it was effective. When asked more about what the OSS was doing in Hawaii he feigned ignorance.

The Honolulu Branch is also discussed in depth in a paper entitled Combat Propaganda against the Japanese in the Central Pacific. Author William H. Vatcher says in part:

OWI Honolulu, like all OWI outposts, operated under policy directives issued from Washington and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of State….All the propaganda facilities of OWI Honolulu: leaflets, radio, publications, consolidation propaganda and equipment for and personnel to operate any desired propaganda service were available to all the armed forces in the Central Pacific theater.

The OWI Leaflet Newsletter dated 1 September 1945 (final issue) adds:

The Honolulu leaflet operation got under way in April of 1944. The first month's production was 360,000; that for March of 1945 was over six million, and the total for the year’s operation was 20,512,900, At this time the Honolulu leaflet production unit was following HQs and expected soon to go into mass production on Saipan. From the first of May to the end of July the combined Saipan-Honolulu production totaled 46,256,000. Of this number, 44,066,000 were produced on Saipan. Honolulu production, for the preceding thirteen months had been 21,352,900. Almost all the leaflets produced on Saipan were earmarked for dropping.by the 21st Bomber Command over the home islands of Japan. The 21st had agreed to drop 100 tons of leaflets a month, or approximately 34,000,000.

The Overseas Branch of the OWI plans, develops, and executes all phases of radio, press, publication, and foreign dissemination of propaganda. The Overseas Branch is divided into Atlantic Operations with headquarters in New York City, and Pacific Operations, with headquarters in San Francisco. The Overseas Branch directs all of its media to four types of targets.

1. In enemy countries, its mission is to destroy morale and destroy their war effort.

2. In enemy-occupied countries, its mission is to keep alive the hope of liberation and stimulate resistance.

3. In neutral countries, its mission is to win the support of the population and convince them of Allied victory.

4. In Allied countries, its mission is to counter enemy propaganda, to raise morale, and to foster a better understanding of the United States. 

Many of the OWI philosophical concepts are found in the classified confidential booklet Psychological Warfare, Part One, December 1944. This 44-page booklet has chapters on Psychological Concepts and Technical Aspects. Other information is found in the course notes of the Far East Training Program of the Outpost Service Bureau, San Francisco, 1944. Finally, I used a number of United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Areas Psychological Warfare booklets and supplements.

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Richard S.R. Hubert

All of this reference material is from the personal files of Richard S.R. Hubert, Chief, Forward Area, U.S. Office of War Information, Central Pacific Operations, based on Saipan, Marianna Islands.

We know quite a bit about Hubert from the files of his daughter. For instance, we know he was a Canadian who spent 20 years in Japan and China and could speak Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. We know that before Japan entered the war he built an organization to rescue French soldiers in Indochina and help them escape to North Africa where they joined the Free French under Charles de Gaulle. He also worked with British Intelligence building a small anti-Nazi and anti-Japanese underground movement in Shanghai, and later worked with the British Ministry of Information. When the Americans needed someone to command their forward OWI base in Saipan, Hubert was selected, even though as a Canadian civilian that was an amazing feat. Of course, he was superbly qualified for the job.

Early in his training he was assigned to attend a three-day training course on psychological operations in Washington DC. His orders state:

The value of this course is in direct proportion to your own alertness. Keep your eyes and ears open, be quick to ask intelligent questions on matters you want developed. This course can be a great opportunity for picking up extra knowledge and for developing important contacts. You will soon be going overseas as a representative of the United States Government; it is up to you to broaden your background in every way…   

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The Bradford Smith Appointment Letter

Some of the classes taught in this particular course were; Historical Survey of Asiatic-American Relations, Asia, Introduction to Psywar, Reproduction Training, Radio Training, and Media of Propaganda. Hubert was being groomed for a major position. This become clear in a letter from Bradford Smith, Chief of Central Pacific Operations dated 20 February 1945. It says in part:

You are hereby designated Chief, Forward Area, Central Pacific Operations…As OWI’s chief representative you will be administratively responsible for the radio station operation on Saipan…You will also be administratively responsible for the leaflet production program.

We realize that the responsibilities assigned to you are more than properly belong to one man. We are sure from your past performance, however, that you will discharge them creditably until such time as it is possible to provide you with needed assistance.

The assignment on which you are being sent is the most important one we have yet undertaken. It is given to you in full faith of your ability to carry it out successfully.

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A Richard Hubert Training Leaflet

Another booklet entitled OWI Leaflet Maneuvers dated 6 October 1944 actually has an example of one of Hubert’s early attempts at preparing a propaganda leaflet. The class was held in San Francisco without benefit of instruction or advice on leaflet technique from anyone with field experience. In other words, eight new OWI agents were tasked with producing five leaflets completely on their own. The leaflets were for use in Burma, New Guinea, the Philippines, Japan and Borneo. The students were assigned an artist named Gene Schnell, a Japanese translator named Sung Soo Whang, and a Davidson Printing Pressman who in this case was Richard Hubert.

Richard and another agent named Vic Glasband designed and wrote the third leaflet targeting the Filipinos to encourage resistance and to urge the overthrow of the Japanese on the Philippine Islands. They used a rather famous 1943 “War Production Board” Manuel Rey Isip image of a fighting Filipino already being used as a patriotic poster on the front, and added a long propaganda text on the back. The poster of course is in full color, the leaflet printed on the Davidson Press is in black and white. Some of the text in Tagalog is:

Filipinos:

It was the dream of Rizal that one day the banner of National Sovereignty would wave over the Philippines

At the very brink of realization the dream of Rizal and the work for freedom of the Filipinos were frustrated by Japanese conquest and occupation…

People of the Philippines, soon you will have the opportunity to join hands with your old friends, General MacArthur, who respects and reveres the noble flame of freedom that burns within the hearts of all Filipinos. Together we will deal a smashing blow to the Japanese and thus assure the liberation of the Philippines.

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Office of Strategic Services Morale Operations Training Leaflets

If I might take just a momentary break in this story about the OWI; I feel that I should add here that the Office of Strategic services also had such training programs and new agents were tested on their ability to produce meaningful leaflets that used specific themes for propaganda. Prospective OSS Morale Operation agents were given a project of a 100-day hypothetical military operation. They were given intelligence for an invasion of Japan and a review of combat operations. This exercise took place after the alleged capture of the cities of Shiogama, Matasushima and Sendai. The three communities would be governed by one administration. The agents also received a set of problems encountered by the occupying military government and were asked to solve them. Above, we see a set of the training leaflets produced by this group of candidates.

Back to the OWI story. The official report on the OWI Saipan operation is found in Richard S. R. Hubert’s “The OWI Saipan Operation,” Official Report to US Information Service, Washington, 1946.It explains some of the background on how the Navy and the civilian propaganda organization came together:

As a result of conversations with Elmer Davis and Secretary of the Navy Forrestal, Admiral Towers wrote a memo in December, 1944, to Admiral Nimitz recommending that the O.W.I. should participate in the production of leaflets from facilities to be provided by O.W.I., and that such a program be instituted in the Pacific Ocean Area. Origination of copy for leaflets was to take place in Honolulu where JICPOA AND O.W.I. facilities were available.

“JICPOA” is the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Area. It consisted of Analysts, cryptologists, and 50 U. S. Army Nisei Military Intelligence Service linguists who helped to translate Japanese documents and sometimes did front-line duty manning PSYOP loudspeakers.

Either by air or radiophoto, finished copy was to be sent forward for production. Decision having been made to establish a leaflet production on Saipan, two Webendorfer high speed presses, specially constructed for this purpose, together with accessory equipment were forwarded to Honolulu to await permission to ship to Saipan. This unit together with personnel was set up for a production on the basis of about nine million leaflets per month. In the event it should have become desirable to originate a leaflet in the forward area, to fit an emergency need, the JICPOA and O.W.I. representatives were to confer in order to make sure that no standing policies were violated.

The assembling of further staff for the Forward Area began with the arrival at Honolulu, in early December 1944, of the Chief, Forward Area, who was to proceed to Saipan as soon as arrangements could be completed for theatre clearance.

The following letter from Admiral Nimitz's Chief of Staff authorized the establishment of a Psychological Warfare Office on Saipan:

“UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET AND PACIFIC OCEAN AREAS,

HEADQUARTERS OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

          Serial: 05236                                                                                                              Feb. 21, 1945                                       Confidential                                                               

From:    Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas.

To:        Island Commander, SAIPAN

Via:        Commander, Forward Area, Central Pacific

Subject:    Advanced section, Psychological Warfare Office, Establishment of.

1. It is desired to establish an advanced section of the Psychological Warfare Office, CINCPAC-CINCPOA, on SAIPAN, and attach its personnel to the Island Command, Saipan, for administrative purposes.

2. This section will be operationally under the supervision and direction of the Psychological Warfare Office, CINCPAC-CINCPOA.

3. The Island Commander, Saipan, is requested to provide the necessary office, working space, and additional facilities which may be required for the operation of the section.

4. The Officer-in-Charge of the Advanced Section, Lieutenant. R. J. Morris, USNR, will act as liaison officer with and will be cognizant of all matters pertaining to the Office of War Information activities and personnel in the Forward Area.

    C. H. McMorris
Chief of Staff

This arrangement remained effective, insofar as the liaison angle was concerned, until August 13, 1945. On which date, apparently because of a dispatch sent by the Commanding General, U.S. Strategical Air Force (General Spaatz) direct to the O.W.I., without going through O.W.I. Liaison, temporarily, at least, responsibility and authorization for psychological warfare was relinquished by the P. W. Officer and became vested in USASTAF and O.W.I.

Simultaneously, the Advance Psychological Warfare Section of CINCPAC was directed by its staff officer to assist USASTAF in every way in the current psychological warfare campaign. Accordingly, all its facilities were made available both to USASTAF and the O.W.I. as of the 13th of August, 1945.  This arrangement was confirmed by the Psychological Warfare Officer in his letter dated August 16, 1945.  Nothing further having been heard in this connection, as of August 13, 1945, O.W.I operated in the Forward Area without liaison.

 

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 General Spaatz

General LeMay

The United States Army Strategic Air Force Pacific (USASTAF) was authorized on 18 July 1945 under General Spaatz on Guam. Spaatz commanded all B-29 bombers in the Pacific. General Curtis LeMay of Strategic Air Command fame soon became his Chief of Staff. We might assume that Washington believed that Spaatz would take the war directly to the Japanese homeland and thus moved the OWI PSYOP liaison from the Navy to the Army Air Force.

The following is a synopsis of the OWI’s beliefs and techniques and is not that of the author. The information is important because with all the modern methods and machinery of psychological operations today, the psywarrior should know the history of his specialty, and be able to determine if any valuable knowledge has been lost since the dark days of WWII.

The OWI believed that the average Japanese soldier had certain characteristics that could be used against him. For instance, it believed that the Japanese had a desire to conform to the group rather than to seek individuality. This made it almost impossible for a Japanese soldier to surrender because he would be stepping outside the bounds of common ideology. The Japanese who fails can atone for his failure through seppuku (ritual suicide). The Banzai charge (where a mass of armed and unarmed Japanese soldiers attack a strong defensive position) therefore is form of seppuku.

The Japanese are preoccupied with fate. He has extremes in emotion. He will cheer when he is told to,  and truly believe the statements of his superiors. When he realizes that he has been lied to he will sink into a deep despair. However, even with a low spirit he will continue to fight because he believes that it is his fate. Even in death, he must act properly and must not disgrace his heritage or his ancestors.

Hubert’s personal papers tell us a little bit more about his operation. He mentions a report written as a guide for the psychological war against Japan:

This report was written by a team of ten anthropologists on the professional level of Margaret Mead, who were actually hired by the OWI to make communication with Japanese civilians deeply professional. OWI leaflets dropped by the millions in B-29 runs over Japanese cities, and the OWI radio broadcasts from Saipan, spoke to Japan of the starvation of its own people, the collapse of Japan’s economy, and of Japan’s military appropriation of civilian governing power. The professional influence of the anthropologists is evident in the changes made to OWI propaganda training manuals as to the text and artwork. They told the Japanese soldiers: “Your officers tell you to end your life rather than surrender. Now you know you are of no further use to the Emperor or your military leaders. Therefore your loyalty is to your family and your obligation is to surrender so you can return to your family and help rebuild the nation.”

Although the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was banned from the area by both the Army and the Navy, it is interesting to see that their Morale Operations (MO) Section had the same beliefs about the Japanese people. The OSS paper entitled “Overall Plan for the pacific area, 1944” says in part:

The Japanese soldier is an MO target wherever he is located. So is the Japanese civilian located in Japan proper. Japanese agents, puppets and the collaborationists on the China coast, in Formosa and the Philippines can also profitably be made the target for subversive activities based on the Pacific theatres. The peoples located in territories occupied by the Japanese can also be stimulated into resistance against the Japanese and are therefore an MO target. ... Psychologically the Japanese people are susceptible to subversive operations. Even the Japanese soldier is subject to effective psychological attack whenever he believes his situation is hopeless. These weaknesses in the psychology of the Japanese should be exploited by subversive operations. Currently there are the following basic vulnerable points in the Japanese psychological make-up: dissention between the branches of the armed forces; political differences, especially concerning the conduct of the war; anxiety over Russia joining the Allies in the Pacific war; fear of Chinese and Russian communism spreading to the Japanese mainland; failure of the greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere to secure complete native cooperation; fear of hostility of the natives of the occupied territory; dissension between Japanese troops of rural and urban backgrounds; class distinctions on the home front and in the armed forces; anxiety among the leaders over the effect of the military defeat of Germany; fear of disease; fear of an air blitz against Japan's principal cities. The hostility toward Japan of certain groups of the native populations in Formosa and the Philippines provides a good target for anti-Japanese rumors and for developing cooperation with the American forces by the use of various subversive methods. These activities could be so directed that they would harass the Japanese and their puppets and would reduce the flow of aid to Japanese troops.

The OSS, of course, dealt with black operations, sabotage and spying. Military leaders in the Pacific were suspicious of them and felt that they were uncontrollable. The OWI, being more civilian in nature, was less liable to go off “half cocked” and embarrass the theater commanders.

How does one motivate the Japanese soldier to surrender? Use his emotions against him. Use psychological operations to lower his spirit and bring him to utter despair, then work on his instinct for self-preservation. Convince him that he has been misled, that the war was wrong, that he cannot win, and that it is worth living to rebuild the new Japan.

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General Nogi Training Leaflet

We seldom get to see the training leaflets that the new PSYOP agents prepared as part of their curriculum. The above leaflet was designed and printed by the outpost training class in San Francisco in 1944 as they prepared for deployment to the Pacific. The purpose of the project was to gain experience in studying military conditions for which leaflets would conceivably be used in the field, and to practice writing and producing leaflets that would deal with hypothetical situations set up by the class.

The student team was made up of an artist, a military liaison, writers, a Japanese translator, a Davidson pressman, an advisor-critic and an elected chief of project. The leaflet above was designed to be used against isolated Japanese troops on New Guinea.

The front of the leaflet depicts General Nogi and a poem:

The tree, the root and the branches all decaying;

What fragrance the camphor tree still sheds.

The back of the leaflet is all text:

As you all know, General Nogi led his troops to glorious victory at Port Arthur. His men had superior weapons. They had ample supplies. Their communications were excellent. This was largely due to the sagacity of general Nogi. Yet General Nogi offered to commit seppuku when accused of wasting men. He refrained only when the Meiji Tenno forbade the act.

Compare your situation with the situation at Port Arthur. The Japanese soldiers there were on the offensive, but you – are you not on the defensive? Are not your weapons inferior? Are not your supplies dwindling? Have not your communications been destroyed? Have you not seen your comrades die uselessly?

The Japanese soldiers at Port Arthur died to achieve victory. Yet general Nogi, even in this hour of greatest victory, wept and sought self-effacement. Is it in keeping with the wise decision of general Nogi for officers to continually and blindly subject warriors of Japan to needless slaughter under impossible conditions?

Perhaps the single most interesting thing About General Nogi is that after losing two sons in the Russo-Japanese War, he seems to have felt great guilt at surviving them. In 1912 the Japanese Emperor died. On 13 September 1912 as the body of the Emperor passed his home, both the general and his wife committed hara-kiri, their spirits joining the Emperor’s spirit in service throughout eternity. Nogi is considered a saint in many Japanese households, his home and grave considered a shrine.

I have not found an OWI leaflet mentioning General Nogi, but it was used by General MacArthur’s Army psywar unit Australia. An all-text leaflet targeted Japanese troops in the Philippines but was also suitable for Japanese troops and civilians anywhere. The text of the leaflet coded 20-J-1 is:

What is the conduct of your present military leaders?" Gen. Nogi wished to commit suicide for needlessly sacrificing a large number of men yet Gen. Yamashita took no blame for the glaring blunder committed on Leyte Island, trying instead to shift the blame onto others. "It would seem that the difference between the splendid spirit of Gen. Nogi, and the base attitude of the military leaders to today, represented by Yamashita is like that difference between clouds and mud."

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Leaflet 120

It is interesting to note that a very similar leaflet was prepared by the OWI for use in the field. Black and white leaflet 120 depicts another hero of the Russo-Japanese War, Admiral Togo. The purpose of the leaflet is to weaken the Japanese will to fight to the death.  Text on the front of the leaflet is:

It is the duty of young people whose future is bright to take care of themselves and live to serve the nation.

The back is all text:

Wherever the American forces have advanced, the Japan has not been a match for them. The Americans already control all the South pacific, the Philippines, and Iwo Jima

In such a situation, what should you do? Is it not better to live for the future of Japan than to resist and throw away your young lives foolishly?

Fleet Admiral Togo once said, “You are young and your future is bright. Therefore, it is your duty to take care of yourselves and to live to serve your country.”

Cease useless resistance. For what and for whose benefit are you fighting? Is not the outcome already certain?

Former Premier Koiso said that the productive capacity of Japan was one-fourth of the United States. Your leaders have been telling you that you cannot win a war of production.

Moreover, now, the Soviets have denounced the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Act. Those who desire peace, those who wish to carry out the injunction of Fleet Admiral Togo, cease resistance when the American army lands and come over.

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The OWI has a Sense of Humor
The above cartoon was published in the OWI Restricted Magazine Outpost News

General Propaganda

The OWI defined general propaganda as propaganda not aimed at specific targets like areas to be assaulted or by-passed islands. It is similar to what we call strategic propaganda today. These leaflets are dropped on the Japanese wherever they are as they go about their daily business. This type of propaganda includes newspapers, broadcasts, and leaflets to Japan, occupied China, Korea or Taiwan. The idea was to continually let the enemy see the propaganda so it would start to wear him down like the constant dripping of water on a rock. Reading the same Allied propaganda over and over would eventually lead to independent thought on the part of the finder. “Repetition connotes truth” says the OWI, so the more leaflets dropped the better chance that they will be accepted as truthful.

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Psychological Warfare – CINCPAC – CINCPOA

A good deal of the information and almost all of the leaflets in this article are from a series of naval booklets entitled Psychological Warfare and their various parts and supplements. Many of the OWI propaganda leaflets are pictured and translated in the various booklets.

Codes

Part One of the August 1944 United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas publication Psychological Warfare breaks down the code numbers of the leaflets into categories and explains their themes. I have greatly edited the explanatory paragraphs. I also added some examples of the Leaflet titles in each category to show the reader the general concept of the U.S. propaganda.

a. 100-399. Leaflets bearing these numbers have been prepared for the period of bombardment of an entire tactical area, preliminary to any further action to be taken in that area.

            100. Where is your navy?
            109. Victory in the air?
            116. Open your eyes.

b. 400-499. Leaflets bearing these numbers are designed for that period of intensive bombardment, usually by surface ships, just prior to the invasion.

           405. To the Japanese soldier.
           410. I raise my two hands to live for my country.
           413. Civilians!

c. 500-699. Leaflets bearing these numbers are designed for that phase when the actual landings are made and the main engagement begins.

501. To Japanese officers!
503. You can't fight tanks with bayonets!
512. Full strength instead of 10%.

d. 700-799. Leaflets bearing these numbers should be used when the enemy realizes that our forces will be successful in their attacks.

700. Die for the military caste or live for your home and country.
701. If you commit seppuku.
705. Think it over carefully.

e. 800-999. Leaflets bearing these numbers should be used when resistance has been broken and only mopping-up remains.

808. Are you so determined to die that you won't listen to reason?
809. What are you fighting for?
810. Life-saving guarantee.

The pamphlets for by-passed garrisons are numbered serially from 1000-1099. 

1001. Do you intend to continue to live like a beast in the jungle?
1006. Your island has been isolated and cut off from all aid and supplies.
1009. Instructions for negotiations.

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The OWI Saipan Print Shop Operating
Around the Clock, Saipan, August 1945.

A word or two about the printing facilities in general. The printing team originally consisted of four pressmen, one photographer and one printing production chief. Later, six Navy pressmen from Honolulu joined the team. An attempt was made to run the presses around the clock, but the heat and humidity in the print shop without air-conditioning made this impossible. Japanese prisoners of war joined the group. At first four were trained, later as many as thirty POWs helped with the printing, rolling of the leaflets, and general work. The leaflets were usually rolled into leaflet bombs, but sometimes when rushed the men just stacked them inside the casings. Besides leaflets, Saipan also printed a newspaper entitled Mariana News. The installation of Radiophoto equipment allowed transmission from Honolulu to Saipan and the preparation of Japanese language leaflets and newspaper much more quickly and efficiently. By 1 June 1945, leaflet text and artwork was being regularly transmitted to Saipan. The technicians and printers only needed to clean and “touch up” the copy.

We know something about the OWI operation in Honolulu from An American Artist in Tokyo. The book is a biography of Frances Blakemore (1906-1997). She was a painter and print maker who travelled to Japan in 1935 to teach art and English. Sensing the coming war, she escaped to Honolulu in 1940 and avoided Japanese internment. Her first government job was in the Office of Censorship, but in June 1944, she was transferred to the Office of War Information.

Although it was already late in the war, the OWI in Honolulu played a key role in American propaganda against Japan. It broadcast to the Japanese mainland through a shortwave transmitter on Oahu and later through a long-range station in Saipan. The Honolulu branch prepared war leaflets which were printed on Saipan. Morioka adds:

A million leaflets a day were printed and dropped, as were one million copies a week of the Japanese-language newspaper the Marianas Jiho (Marianas News Review). For its propaganda campaign, the OWI office in Honolulu enlisted Americans who had grown up or lived in Japan, Japanese Americans and some Japanese prisoners-of-war…

Frances was hired as an artist to illustrate war leaflets. With her graphic talent and first-hand knowledge of Japanese customs, she made an ideal artist for the task…Frances was responsible not only for creating eye-catching illustrations, but also for accurately depicting scenes from Japanese life…

Intended to appeal both to emotion and intellect, the veracity of the image and message was paramount to a successful propaganda leaflet. Thus, the finished product was shown to at least ten prisoners of war for “Comments concerning artwork, style, and treatment of theme.” 

Frances Blakemore is thought to have designed about 50 OWI leaflets. In some cases where we depict one of her leaflets we will add a comment from author Morioka.

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OWI leaflet 507

OWI leaflet 507 is a tactical assault leaflet. It is designed to expedite the surrender of Japanese soldiers during the early stages of an assault. The leaflet depicts and American officer talking to two Japanese soldiers. The body language is friendly and the dialogue is intended to make American promises more credible. Text on the back is:

An American officer who speaks Japanese well was talking with two Japanese soldiers who came over to the American forces on Guam. The two soldiers expressed their thanks for the excellent treatment they had received.

"Didn't you know that American troops treat Japanese well?' the officer asked.

The two soldiers shook their heads. "No," they replied. "We were afraid to come over to you. We thought you would kill us. We only came when there was no more hope."

Don't wait until our fierce artillery fire and bombs crush you beyond all hope of recovery. Resistance is futile; come now. You will receive good food, water, and medical treatment. A hot bath and clean bed await you. Don't throw away your life in vain!

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Leaflet 706

This leaflet is designed to induce Japanese soldiers to surrender. The OWI believed that they had a dedication to the nation greater than their dedication to live. The text, therefore, tells them that is they die the nation will cease to exist. The leaflet depicts a factory and a farm on the front and the Diet building in Tokyo on the back. The text is:

WHAT IS A NATION?

Is it the land?

Is it the government?

Is it industry?

Yes, a nation is all these things. But a nation is nothing without people. Without young men to breed children, a nation will soon disappear. You have fought well, but the odds are hopeless. Like others before you, the correct thing in such a case is to enter the American gate so that by living you may help…

Save the Nation

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John L. Burns Jr., OWI Printing Production Chief, sits in front of an enlarged photo of Propaganda Leaflet 706.

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Leaflet 2073

This Frances Blakemore OWI leaflet depicts five Japanese females of differing age from a baby held by her mother to a grandmother. Some of the text is:

Are you going to allow Japan to become a country of only old people, women and children?

Have you ever thought about what might happen to Japan if you continue to fight until all the soldiers die on the battlefield and every Japanese city is burnt down to the ground in air raids? If you keep fighting until the end, Japan will lose young men who should comprise the nucleus of the country and become a country fill of women, children and old people…

Morioka says about the image:

Striking in bright pink and white, the figures’ portrait-like quality instantly captivates the viewer, and the image would have inspired a deep sense of nostalgia in the soldier displaced from home, reminding him of his mother, grandmother, or wife.

Assault Propaganda

Assault propaganda is closer to what we call tactical propaganda today. Its purpose was to lower morale of the enemy, decrease his resistance, create disunity and dissension, and to gain support for Allied causes. It was used for specific targets and the message was sometimes very specific in nature. 

Propaganda for By-passed Garrisons

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Bypassed Garrison Leaflet 1044

During WWII it was the policy of the Navy to bypass well defended islands of no strategic value and let the Japanese defenders “rot on the vine.” The Navy dropped OWI leaflet 1044 along with rubber boats on Wake Island to implement the surender of the trapped troops. Every troop that used the boat to go over to the Americans was one less armed defender on the island. One side of the leaflet has detailed instructions on the use of the rubber boat accompanied by simply explanatory sketches:

1. First, orally inflate the boat using the rubber tube. Attach the rubber tube to the valve on the inside of the boat, turn the valve to the left, and orally inflate slowly. When the boat is completely inflated, turn the valve to the right and leave it in that position. You will then have a fine boat! It takes a healthy person about 15 minutes to inflate the boat orally.

2. When the boat is finished, set out! What about the waves and the wind conditions? Take off your clothes and make a sail out of them.

3. Put your hands through the straps on the two rubber oars and row with them. They will also act as a rudder. The small rubber cup is very handy for bailing out the bilge.

4. When the waves are rough, you can steady the boat by taking hold of the handles on the top. Work them skillfully so that the boat will not turn over. Even though there is a heavy swell, keep courage and go on, humming the song “UMI NO TAMI NARA OTOKO NARA.” You can be sure that the boat will not sink.

5. Directly ahead, you can see lights. That is the rescue ship. If you keep on course until you reach the ship, all will be well.

Note: The American translation may not be exactly right. According to a Japanese source, this is an old traditional Japanese fisherman's song and should have been written UMI NO TAMENARA OTOKO NARA. It does not translate to English well, but means something like, "A brave man will not be afraid of fishing in rough seas."

A second source, a Japanese TV-producer with interest in naval history said that the title was “The Pacific March” and that the lyrics were written in a contest sponsored by a Japanese newspaper with support by the Imperial Navy in 1939. This propaganda song was a success thanks to a good tune.

We are real sea men, even real males
Once we all desired the Black Japan Current of the Pacific
Now the time has come to go their together bravely
Our blood will be burning with great joy.

Regardless of who is correct, it is clear that the OWI had a good understanding of Japanese music and culture and chose a tune that challenged the men to bravely take to the rough seas on the tiny raft.

The other side depicts photographs of rescued Japanese soldiers with explanatory captions.

a. Life line lowered from American ship.

b. Step by step, up the ladder to hope.

c. Having washed away the mud of battle, they breathe a sigh of relief.

Because the Pacific war was an island war and the American military campaign called for many strongly defended islands to be bi-passed, the psychological operations (PSYOP) against the Japanese troops stationed on those islands became a very specialized art. These men were often out of communication with their officers and political cadre, sometimes without food or water, often sick or injured and without medical treatment or drugs. As a result, they were the perfect target for propaganda. Sometimes, these abandoned Japanese troops were on islands where Americans had landed. They were capable of putting up a resistance, even if a weak one. American forces could be better used elsewhere than guarding installations against attack from a few soldiers in the hills. It was important in both cases to convince the Japanese holdout that his war was over and his best action was to come over to the American side. Allied propaganda needed to destroy the Japanese fighting spirit and cause him to quit the fight.  

Themes for Japan Proper

Leaflets for the Japanese homeland are generally somewhat different than those dropped on troops. Because the civilian has been less indoctrinated than the soldier, an appeal will usually have a greater effect. The civilian has more leisure time to reflect on the message than the soldier. Propaganda for the civilian should be aimed at three targets. The first is the “little people,” the farmers, merchants, fisherman, etc. The second target is the students. The final target is the “official” class. The students are the most susceptible to anti-militarist statements. The workers are most susceptible to terrorist themes and citing the lies of their leaders. The officials should be appealed to with the logic of inevitable defeat and the need to save the nation by ending the war.

General Themes Which Proved Effective In Japan

1. Citing the lies of Japanese leaders.

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OWI leaflet 2023

OWI leaflet 2023 is designed to denounce Japan's leaders as liars. It refutes the fantastic claims of Japanese sea victories and the loss of American aircraft carriers. The leaflet depicts a squadron of American SBD Dauntless dive-bombers flying over a fleet of U. S. aircraft carriers. Text on the back is: 

YOUR LEADERS ARE LIARS!

In a 14 October 1944 broadcast, Japanese commentators quoted naval Captain Kurihara's statement that Japanese forces inflicted tremendous damage upon the great American fleet that attacked Formosa, but that America would probably still be able to bomb Japan.

Knowing that Japanese lies about American losses would not affect the actual situation, Captain Kurihara sought deliberately to offer an excuse for future powerful American air raids against Japan.

Those planes are from American aircraft carriers that your leaders said were sunk near Formosa. Our bombs now tell you that not one carrier was sunk off Formosa during October. 

YOUR LEADERS ARE LIARS!

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Dauntless Dive Bombers in Action – 1943

This leaflet appears to have succeeded. A wartime Japanese report by the Foreign Section of the Home Ministry says:

People were anxious about losing the war. They had these leaflets saying, “Your leaders told you a lie, and our planes came from an aircraft carrier that your leaders claimed was sunk off the coast of Formosa.” Many people became doubtful about the information from the Japanese Imperial headquarters.

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OWI Leaflet 2001

This is a very interesting leaflet that depicts a gagged speaker trying to talk on a microphone to the Japanese people. I have seen this in two formats; coded 2001, in a heavy dark yellow paper 8.5 x 6.5 inches; and a thinner pale yellow paper coded 2001A at 8 x 5-inches. The leaflet is meant to encourage a distrust of Japanese reports of the war.

The text quotes Sanji Muto, who was assassinated on 9 March 1934. There is a long text on the back that says in part:

“When I first came to this paper, the Jiji Shimpo, I was shocked to find that, contrary to my expectations, there was actually no freedom of speech…”

If this was so in 1934, how much more is it true now? Why do you not have freedom of speech? Is it because your militarists do not want you to know the truth? If you heard the truth you would know that Japan is losing on every front….

2. Creating dissension and friction (divide and conquer).

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OWI leaflet 2015

OWI leaflet 2015 is designed to cause dissension between the people of Japan and their militarist leaders. The text reminds the people that their leaders cannot protect them from American bombs. The leaflet depicts a worker trying to hold on to his home while a militarist pulls on his leg with a rope. The leaflet is printed in brown ink on a blue paper stock. There is a reprint coded 2015A in plain black ink on white paper. OWI records indicate that 5,700,000 copies of leaflet 2015 were printed. Text on the back is:

No one runs away when his home is about to fall. He will repair the weak spot before it falls.

Japan is facing a national crisis. The rotten portion of the national structure is the Gumbatsu. The recent air raids over Japan have proven the fact that the Gumbatsu have deceived you concerning their strength.

Displace the Gumbatsu. Save yourselves and save the nation.

The word “Gumbatsu” appears in numerous American propaganda leaflets. The Gumbatsu was a coalition of military leaders, elected political leaders, rich industrialists and wealthy landowners who ruled Japan. They are similar to what President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the “Military-Industrial complex” in his famous 1961 speech. Perhaps remembering Japan 16 years earlier, he said: 

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

The Americans were serious. The Gumbatsu is mentioned in the book End of Empire, Chandler, Cribb and Narangoa, NIAS Press, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2016:

On 6 November 1945, the Japanese Gumbatsu monopolies were dissolved. Recognizing the important role they played in Japan’s war effort, General MacArthur ordered that all 17 of Japan’s vertically integrated corporations dissolve their structures. This was the first antitrust law in Japanese history.

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OWI leaflet 2007

This leaflet is intended to cause distrust between the people and the militarists. There are four images on the leaflet; each depicting a freedom that every Japanese citizen should have: the freedom from want, the freedom from fear, the freedom of speech and the freedom from oppression. The above leaflet is on a crème-colored paper; my own specimens are printed in brown on a green paper. The text on the back says in part:

There is only one way to attain the freedoms. Do away with the Gumbatsu who brought about this war and join the free nations.

3. Citing American industrial might and recent military victories.

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Leaflet 2052

This leaflet, entitled “Scenes at an American shipyard” must have terrified the Japanese. It clearly shows them the the United States can built ships faster than the Japanese can sink them. It features seven photographs of American shipyards and ship construction. The text on the front is:

Looking aft on a Liberty Ship being completed. In 1943, 3,000 of these fifteen-thousand ton ships were completed. This year it is changed over to the big “victory” type ship.

A group of workers in a shipyard. They work fifty-six hours a week, eight hours a day, rest only thirty minutes. With the best of equipment and skill they shorten the hours of completion of a ship.

Mass production of oil tankers. Six ships completed in seven days. Building them in parts and assembling them is the secret to the super-speed production of ships.

The text on the back is:

Two new destroyers. On January first of this year, America had 4,867 various types of fighting ships and 80,000 landing boats. A fighting ship is being added to the American Navy every two hours.

A night scene of a shipyard. American shipyards operate day and night. In five years they completed 65,000 ships.

The laying of a keel of 15,000-ton Liberty ship in a shipyard operated by Henry Kaiser. It was completed in 4 1/2 days, thus establishing another record.

The launching in an American shipyard of a Liberty Ship named after Sun Yat Sen of China. At a Pacific Coast Shipyard they are turning out at the rate of 19 ships per month.

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OWI Leaflet 403

This leaflet was printed in a bright orange color and meant to show America’s superiority in the air. It has six Japanese newspaper style cartoon panels on the front that depicts the Japanese building a fighter, sending it off to battle, and at the end the aircraft sinking into the Pacific. It makes fun of a Japanese slogan “Even one more plane,” that the militarists used to encourage aircraft production. The text points out that for every plane built by Japan, the United States builds seven. Some of the text is:

Why were the Gumbatsu, knowing the productive capacity of America and England, so stupid as to attack them? On 29 May, Kiyoshi Goko, Cabinet Advisor and President of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said, “Air superiority is the motivating power which leads to victory.”

America has that superiority. Your leaders, against the Emperor’s command, have started this hopeless and useless war. It is to be deeply regretted.

One more plane sent to war means only one more plane destroyed.

4. Terrorizing and threatening death and destruction. 

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OWI Leaflet 404

Like the leaflet above, this theme is the vast American armada on the way to Japan. I don’t find it an attractive leaflet and did not intend to show it. However, the text is interesting and shows that American scholars were trying to use Japanese philosophy and terminology as a weapon. The Japanese used the name “Wild Eagles” for their pilots. This leaflet depicts American B-29 bombers approaching Japan and small sparrows fluttering to earth. It clearly shows that the Japanese eagles are nothing but small helpless birds about to be pushed aside by the American might. Some of the text is:

Your military leaders have spoken with awe of the Dai Toa Kessen Butai, the purpose of which is to repair your losses and drive the Allies from the Pacific. They have tried to impress you with its strength, but stop and think about that strength. It hasn’t checked the American advance at all, has it? Why? Because it’s only a feeble unit compared to our own vast forces. Two sparrows can’t drive off twenty American eagles.

Some General Propaganda Themes

1. Appeals to physical needs like rest, food and medical treatment.

2. Appeals against self-destruction and for self preservation. 

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OWI Leaflet 104

OWI Leaflet 104 meets the theme of convincing Japanese troops that it is better to live and build the nation rather than die a useless death. The leaflet depicts a grave marker and the text, “This soldier helped no one by dying.” There is also a picture of a live soldier and the text, “This living soldier will help to build a new Japan.”

The back is all text:

EVERY JAPANESE MUST CHOOSE ONE OF TWO COURSES. 

1. Death for the Gumbatsu.

2. Life for a new nation.

Those who die for the Gumbatsu die in vain because the Gumbatsu is losing the war.

Those who live preserve themselves for the great responsibility of rebuilding the nation.

There will be no disgrace in living to return to Japan because all who live do so for the same reason. 

This is a leaflet designed by Frances Blakemore. Morioka says about it:

Tall palm trees and fenced in buildings only give a subtle hint that he has surrendered and now lives in an American POW camp. Although contemplative in his pose and facial expression, he is alive and appears healthy, suggesting that surrender is better than death.

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Leaflet 2065

This 1945 OWI leaflet also stresses the theme that death for Japan is foolish and the preservation of life patriotic. It quotes a Japanese sergeant who was a prisoner-of-war and talks about rebuilding the nation after the war. I added this leaflet because of the image; a stark red, black and white scene of a feudal Japanese samurai warrior attempting to fight off modern American aircraft with his sword. The samurai had no fear of death and were famous for their willingness to fight to the bitter end for their feudal lord. The aircraft are painted with “artistic license” and there is no American two-engine aircraft that looks exactly like the one at the left, although the British did have a “Mosquito” that was quite similar. I think it might be a rendition of a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, though it is hard to be sure. The aircraft at right looks a bit like the American Bell P-39 Aeracobras, but I doubt the artist had any specific fighters in mind. Some of the text from the long message on the back is:

The war cannot be won by courage alone. The side with the superior scientific weapons, superior tactics, and superior number of troops will win. To throw away one’s life blindly with the fanaticism of bushido [the warrior’s way] is not real love of country. This is a dog’s death. The practice of bushido now belongs to the feudal period; we should not put away this type of bushido and replace it with the bushido of a new era. We cannot fight on an empty stomach. In the same way, without arms and equipment we cannot win….

This is another Francis Blakemore painting. Morioka says about it:

Frances’s drawing ingeniously juxtaposes the old and the new; a samurai dressed in magnificent armor and mounted on a beautiful black horse thrusts a sword toward a sky crowded with U.S. bombers. The meticulous portrayal of the samurai in his full battle gear contributes to his heroic stature and imbues the image with poignancy. The message is clear: the samurai, the emblem of “old bushido,” is no match for modern warfare, no matter how courageous he may be. It mirrored the actual experience of Japanese troops who were discovering that spiritual strength alone could not fend off an enemy with unlimited material resources and superior weapons.

3. Give face-saving ways for the Japanese to cease resistance. Offer excuses. Blame others for his plight.

The threat of Japanese suicide was very real and the United States produced a great number of leaflets in an attempt to convince the Japanese soldier to live to return home. The Japanese warrior code stated that death in battle brought honor both to individual and to the nation. The preferred method of hara-kiri or seppuku is to stab yourself in the left abdomen and pull the knife across your stomach, disemboweling yourself. This should be done without showing any pain or emotion. Many Japanese would have a friend stand by with a sword and if they wavered their friend would do them the honor of beheading them before they expressed pain and dishonored themselves.

An Office of Strategic Services Interrogation dated 9 June 1944 mentions a Japanese officer explaining to his troops the way they should die rather than be captured in a situation where seppuku was impossible and time was of the essence:

  1. Point your rifle under your chin. Place a stick in the trigger guard. Use both feet to force the stick down.
  2. Release the safety pin of a hand grenade and place it close to your body.
  3. Plunge your bayonet into your body.

It is very interesting to note that although the American propagandists tried to keep Japanese enlisted personnel from killing themselves, they had no reserve about urging Japanese officers to commit seppuku. Eleanor Sparagana says in her doctoral thesis entitled, The Conduct and Consequences of Psychological Warfare: American Psychological Warfare Operations in the War against Japan, 1941-1945:

Not all propaganda directed at the military sounded as compassionate as the anti-suicide appeals. One of the more hard-hearted and devious facets of the campaign consisted of inciting Japanese officers to perform seppuku when they failed in their military mission. The Allied reminded Japanese battle-level officers that, while they committed soldiers to commit hara-kiri instead of surrendering, their senior leaders, including Tojo, often failed to kill themselves after their failures in battle. One leaflet depicted a leader preparing to kill himself while kneeling beside a newspaper that chronicled his failure. Another leaflet pictured the traditional setting for seppuku and insisted: “It is time that the military leaders admitted their failures and obeyed the code which they demand that their followers obey. If they do not take that action the people should demand that they do so.”

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Leaflet 2090

Leaflet 2090 is designed to destroy the people's confidence in the militarists. OWI records indicate that 2,600,000 copies of this leaflet were printed. The front of the leaflet has an illustration of twelve prominent Japanese militarists with a caption above that reads:

Military leaders of Japan. Can you convince the people that you are able to defend the soil, the waters, and the skies of Japan? 

The back of the leaflet depicts President Harry S. Truman and the following text:

Harry S. Truman, President of the United States, asked these questions in a message directed to the people of Japan.  

"Did you not in the past solemnly declare that you would defend Guam, Tinian, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, the last barricade on the way to Tokyo? Did you not promise in the past, that our planes would not violate the skies of Japan? Were you able to keep these promises?

Let me assure you again and again that my country is determined to fight this war to its predestined end and I cannot find any who thinks that our victory will be too hard and too costly to win. 

Your future lies in your own hands. You can choose between a wasteful unclean death for many of your forces, or a peace with honor."

General MacArthur thought that attacking the military leadership of Japan was an excellent theme of propaganda. He said:

Their officer Corps deteriorates as you go up the scale. It is fundamentally based upon a caste and feudal system and does not represent strict professional merit. Therein lies Japan’s weakness…Gripped inexorably by a military hierarchy, that hierarchy is now failing the nation. It has neither the imagination or the foresighted ability to organize Japanese resources for a total war. Defeat now stares Japan in the face. When public opinion realizes that its admirals and generals have failed in the field of actual combat and campaign, the revulsion produced in Japanese thought will be terrific. Therein lies a basis for ultimate hope that the Japanese citizen will cease his almost idolatrous worship of the military that has failed him.

4. Cite the lies of Japanese leaders. Point out that the Japanese spirit is not invincible, and that Americans do possess a fighting spirit.

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OWI leaflet 2044

This leaflet bears 12 photographs that are designed to offer convincing proof to the Japanese that the Americans have a fighting spirit. The photographs depict front line and pre-invasion activities that testify to the strength and spirit of the American fighting man. The front of the leaflet depicts American aircraft, landing barges, calisthenics on an aircraft carrier, an American soldier advancing, a gun emplacement and a troop convoy. The propaganda text is:

Americans also have fighting spirit.

5. Respect for authority and law. Where the Americans have conquered they legally rule and the Japanese should obey their commands.

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Leaflet 2080

This leaflet was prepared to show the Japanese that the Americans are kind and fair rulers and do not mistreat the people they have conquered. The images on the front depicts the conquered people of Germany smiling and laughing and being well-treated and fed by American forces. On the back, two similar photographs depict the Japanese captured on Saipan being fed by the Americans. Some of the text is:

American soldiers are feeding German families with their own Army rations.

Children on Saipan are enjoying their meal under the protection of U.S. forces.

Americans have supplied foodstuff and clothing to millions of people who have been stripped of the materials for their living by the Germans in Europe. On Saipan and other islands of the Pacific many Japanese are protected by the United States armed forces, receiving foodstuff and clothing…Your leaders have lied to you. In order to escape the punishment which is to come down upon their own heads, they have made you believe that the American armed forces would persecute the Japanese people and want you to continue the war in which there is no hope of victory…Our religion requires our kindness and charity…Anyone who persecutes the people of enemy countries will be severely punished according to the law.

6. The overwhelming might of American arms and their recent victories.

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Leaflet 100

Leaflet 100 depicts a map of the entire western Pacific to include Japan, Australia, part of China and Southeast Asia. Two lines appear on the map, one in red, one in blue. The blue line depicts the furthest advances of the Japanese Empire, while the red line shows the current status of the war with Allied forces moving closer to the home islands. The lines visually prove that the Japanese Navy cannot protect the Empire and that Allied forces are advancing to within striking distance of Japan itself. Some of the demoralizing text is:

WHERE IS YOUR NAVY?

December 7 1941

November 1943 – Beginning of the American offensive!

The Gilbert Islands conquered by America November 20, 1943!

Saipan, Tinian and Guam conquered by America July 1944!

Is Japan next?

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OWI leaflet 514

 

OWI leaflet 514 stresses the American military and industrial might. The leaflet is larger than usual at about 7 x 9.5 inches and printed in a bright red ink. The leaflet depicts a sky full of American aircraft and a sea full of American naval vessels all aimed at Japan. The purpose of the leaflet is to weaken Japanese morale by stressing American industrial and military might. References are made to America’s vast forces of men and equipment, and comments of prisoners of war are quoted generally to support the theme’s contentions. Text on the back is:

Powerful American forces, supported by innumerable planes, tanks, and ships, have already landed on your shores. Resistance against such overwhelming  masses of men and equipment can only be futile. We know your valor, but you can't do the impossible.

As some of your soldiers who, at Tarawa and Saipan, expressed their thanks to us for fine medical treatment, admitted: "You Americans keep pouring in men and Materials. What can we do?" Yes, and this time we have even more than at Tarawa and Saipan.

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OWI Leaflet 515

Leaflet 514 above mentions Saipan and the good treatment afforded to the Japanese who chose to surrender. Leaflet 515 continues along that line and shows the civilians of Saipan and especially a number of children who have surrendered and adds in part:

Japanese Civilians!

On Saipan, in addition to officers and men, 18,125 civilians accepted the generosity of the American forces. These civilians were given food, water, clothing, and medical treatment. You will be treated similarly if you come over to us. Do not believe the false stories that you will be mistreated and killed. If you destroy yourselves, you die in vain!

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Leaflet 2008

This leaflet is designed to convince the Japanese that they cannot win the war and to lower morale and encourage surrender. It reverses the Japanese phrase hakko ichiu (“A world ruled by Japan”) and shows instead that Japan is being attacked from the eight corners of the world. The 5 x 8-inch leaflet gives the reader the true facts of Allied victories in the Pacific. Some of the text is:

HAKKO ICHIU TO JAPAN IS HAKKO ICHIU TO THE WHOLE WORLD

The war in Europe is virtually won. The Allied forces from eight corner of the world will be directed toward Japan’s military clique. From Alaska; from America, From the Central Pacific; from the South Pacific; from Australia; from India; from Europe and from the North Atlantic.

Text on the back mentions recent Allied victories. It mentions the invasion of the Mariana Islands on 11 June 1944, the invasion of the Palau Group on 16 September 1944, and the regular bombing of Japanese forces on the Philippine Islands.

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Leaflet 2102

The American leaflets sometimes depicted soldiers crossing the Pacific toward Japan. PWB leaflet 27-J-1, dropped by MacArthur’s propagandists in the Philippine Islands showed a cartoon of U.S. troops walking from defeated Germany to Japan. This OWI leaflet uses the same general theme but instead of a cartoon, it is a cleverly contrived photograph. Eight American soldiers are seen stepping on the various formerly Japanese-controlled islands on their way to the Japanese homeland with dozens of bombers overhead. The generals had told the Japanese people that each time an island was lost it was “just another island.” Now, the Americans point out that Japan itself is “just another island.” Some of the text is:

JAPAN IS JUST ANOTHER ISLAND

When 25,000 Japanese could not hold Saipan, the militarists said “Saipan is just another island.”

When 24,000 Japanese could not hold Iwo Jima, the militarists said “Iwo Jima is just another island.”

When 120,000 Japanese could not hold Okinawa, the militarists said “Okinawa is just another island.”

Those islands were first visited by aircraft, just as Japan has been blasted by aircraft. The bombings were warnings of the fate about to be visited on those islands.

Remember that Japan too is now just another island, facing the same fate.

7. Appeal to non-Japanese inhabitants, calls for sabotage, and warnings to locals to stay clear of bombing targets.

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Cautions

You must be careful to always give the absolute truth. Any obvious lie or exaggeration will lead to a loss in credibility. Never use the word surrender (kosan or kofuku) or prisoner of war (horyo or foryo) in any propaganda. We must help the Japanese to “save face” and make their surrender palatable. The faces of Japanese prisoners must never be used in propaganda. They would rather die than have it known that they surrendered. No food, medicine or tobacco should be dropped on the Japanese without the permission of the Commander in Chief Pacific.

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OWI Leaflet 810

OWI Leaflets 810 and 811 are both safe conduct passes that instruct the Japanese how to come over to the American side. 810 is designed to affect a rapid surrender of Japanese troops and is entitled “Lifesaving guarantee.” Leaflet 811 is designed to induce the surrender of the war weary, hungry soldiers and civilians through the logical temptation and assurance offered in the promise of good treatment, food, clothing and tobacco, and is entitled “Lifesaving leaflet.” There are some slight changes in the wording. As stated in the preceding paragraph, neither mentions the word surrender. Both are printed with colorful red, white and blue stripes that make them visible for some distance. It was important that the passes be clearly marked because suspicious American soldiers were known to shoot first and ask questions later. Both leaflets have the instructions in English on one side and in Japanese on the other. They are written in very simple Japanese that could be understood by all enemy troops. Leaflet 810 is oversized at 8 x 10 inches, leaflet 811 is more standard at 5 x 8 inches. The text of leaflet 810 is:

The bearer has ceased all resistance. Treat him in accordance with international law. Take him to the nearest commanding officer. C-in-C Allied Forces.

Life Saving Guarantee

1. The American forces will aid all who use this card.

2. Using this, you will receive good treatment.

How to use this card

1. Come slowly toward the American lines with your hands raised high above your head carrying only this card.

2. Come one by one. Do not come in groups.

3. Men must wear only loincloths. We will provide clothing.

4. You must not approach American positions at night.

5. This card may be used by anyone - Japanese or Korean, soldiers or civilians.

6. Those who do not have cards may come to us if they follow the above instructions.

There was an interesting occurrence in regard to instruction number 3. Stars and Stripes of 29 June 1945 reports that an Okinawan woman surrendered to U. S. infantry forces naked, believing that the instructions also applied to her.

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OWI Leaflet 810 used as “Short Snorter”

The invasion of Iwo Jima was a naval affair where the combat forces were U.S. Marines of the V Amphibious Corps. However, the ultimate success of this operation resulted from the cooperation and support of the Army headquarters and commands of the Pacific Ocean Areas. To record the training of the troops and its logistic help to the Navy, the Headquarters, United States Army Forces in the Pacific Ocean Areas, attached an observer element to the Intelligence Section (G2) of the V Corps during the Iwo Jima campaign. They filed a report that detailed the administrative, training, and logistic duties that made the Iwo Jima invasion a success. The Army also had the responsibility of garrisoning Iwo Jima after the Marines took command of the Island.

During wartime it is quite common for combat troops to prepare “short snorters.” These are usually banknotes of a foreign nation they are fighting in. They know that as the years go by and memory fades they will not remember their old comrades, so each man signs the banknote and it is saved for posterity. We show an example of banknote leaflet short snorter 2034 later in this article. In this case it appears that the Office of War Information safe conduct pass 810 was used as a short snorter on Iwo Jima by an American who found it on the ground and had 26 members of his unit sign it. Some of the information on the leaflet is:

IWO JIMA - 19 FEB 0900 - 16 MARCH 1995

Attached to C-2 Section. Fifth Amphibious Corps as G-2 Observer HUSAFPOA

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OWI Leaflet 811

The OWI Propaganda Newspapers

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Hawaii Weekly News #2502

The OWI produced many different newspapers for both the Japanese and their allies and occupied nations. Among other newspapers printed by the OWI on Saipan were the Mariana News and the Korean-language Chosen Weekly News and Chosen Liberty Weekly. It believed that there was a distrust of official news in Japan and that an airborne newspaper, similar in format to Japanese newspapers, would be eagerly read.

The above newspaper was printed as a single sheet, 8 x 11 inches. It depicts The Marines raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Note that this is not the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph. At the time, nobody knew that the Rosenthal picture of the flag-raising would be known around the world. This picture depicts the first flag-raising atop Mount Suribachi, February 23, 1945. The Marines are Hank Hansen (without helmet), Boots Thomas (seated), John Bradley (behind Thomas) Phil Ward (hand visible grasping pole), Jim Michaels (with carbine) and Chuck Lindberg (behind Michaels). The photo was taken by Lou Lowery at 1000, 23 February 1945. Some of the stories in the propaganda newspaper are; Cologne captured by the American First Army, U.S. Ninth Army racing toward Coblenz, the First Army crosses the Rhine River, the Battle for Luzon almost over and the British are nearing Mandalay. 

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The Chosen Liberty Weekly 4500

This Korean-language OWI propaganda newspaper was a slap in the face to the Japanese who had forbidden the use of the Korean language. The above newspaper was printed as a single sheet, 8 x 11 inches. The masthead also depicts a map of Korea. The photograph on the front depicts U.S. Marines landing on Iwo Jima. Other stories are; U.S. carrier-based aircraft strike Tokyo in a surprise two-day raid, U.S. forces recapture Bataan, U.S. submarines sink 25 Japanese vessels, and U.S. troops recapture Corregidor.

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The Chosen Weekly News 4507

We already show this newspaper above, but this is one of the more historical editions. It depicts President Roosevelt and tells the Koreans of his death at Warm Springs. Notice that the Americans now call the newspaper the Chosen Weekly News instead of the Chosen Liberty Weekly. Perhaps the names were interchangeable. Some of the other stories are: US bomber strikes close 10 Japanese factories; US B-29s are over Tokyo in great strength; American forces occupy Taugen Island in the Ryukyus chain; and US troops land on Jolo Island in the Sulu archipelago.

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Makoto (Truth) 2019

The above newspaper was printed as a single sheet, 8 x 11 inches. It depicts two U.S. Army Air Force B-29 Super Fortresses (Mr. B-San to many Japanese) flying over the mountains of China. Some of the stories are; American bombing raids on Formosa, the D-Day invasion of Europe, American aircraft production, and the surrender of Japanese prisoners on the island of Blak. More interesting, to win the trust of the Japanese there is an article about Yasuo Kuniyoshi winning the first prize in the annual Carnegie Institute exhibition of painting. According to the OWI report Effectiveness of Leaflets, this newspaper leaflet was produced in Hawaii. It is unclear if that means "printed" in Hawaii. Many items produced in Hawaii were sent to Saipan where they were actually printed.

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World’s Weekly News 3501

This Chinese-language newspaper was aimed at people on the mainland, and particularly the occupied areas of China, Formosa and Hainan. It was published as a single sheet, 8 x 11-inches. A literary form of Chinese was used rather than a colloquial form because it was believed that a greater number of Chinese can read the literary style. The newspaper depicts a B-29 Super Fortress flying over Tokyo on the front. Some of the articles are; the Japanese will make China a battlefield for the remainder of the war, B-29s bomb Tokyo again, U.S. strikes Luzon twice in two days and the American Sixth Army just 28 miles from Manila.

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Mariana News 2523

This Japanese-language newspaper was printed to give the Japanese homeland true news of Allied progress on all fronts. It was printed as a single sheet, 8 x 11-inches in size. This may be the most impressive single copy of the newspaper because it depicts Japanese ship under attack by carrier aircraft on the front, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on the back. Some of the other stories are; Japan’s militarists resist peace terms, President Truman announces the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, British fleet attacks Malaya, Kweilin recaptured, and the Japanese routed at Borneo. According to the OWI report Effectiveness of Leaflets, this newspaper leaflet was produced in Saipan.

The OWI Psychological Warfare textbook explains the need for the newspapers:

For Japanese troops in combat areas and in other places as well as the mainland proper, such newspapers will not only be interesting because of the reading matter they provide, but will be effective because they present information which they cannot receive in any other way. It is a general fact that Japanese troops in many areas previously attacked by American forces had little information concerning events other than vague generalizations about “glorious triumphs” passed out to them by their officers. In the homeland such newspaper should prove effective because, although the Japanese civilian does read newspapers and listens to the radio, the picture of the war which is presented to him is far different than the true picture. Thus, this small newspaper is one of the best means of destroying Japanese faith in Japan’s present leaders, for substantially lowering morale, and for presenting the truth.

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Rakkasan News No. 18

Notice that a great number of these newspapers feature the American B-29 Super Fortress heavy bomber.

After the war, Masjiro Kawabushi, Chief of the Foreign Affair Bureau of the Home industry said:

The Mariana News was effective. So was the Rakkasan News [Parachute News, printed by PWB in Manila, not an OWI product]. Newspapers were better than leaflets in results achieved.

For the Japanese, the most disheartening issue of the Mariana News was probably number 2523. This issue featured a large photograph of the Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion and a series of stories of Japanese defeats in every area. For instance, it explains that Japan's militarists have rejected Allied peace terms and as a result, President Harry S. Truman dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Truman says that he only dropped the bomb after Japan rejected the Potsdam peace terms. Russia has declared war on Japan. Molotov states that since Japan has rejected the Potsdam terms, peace overtures are meaningless. The island of Kweilin has been taken by the Americans. The Japanese have been routed in Borneo. Japanese casualties are mounting in the South Pacific front and the Japanese have suffered tremendous losses in Burma. It is no wonder that after reading such news the Japanese were ready to surrender.

Presentation of our Message

The small propaganda newspaper is one of the best means for destroying Japanese faith in Japan’s present leaders, for lowering morale, and for presenting the truth. A leaflet is written, translated, and checked by language officers. Each leaflet is shown to at least ten Japanese prisoners for consideration and comment. In addition to leaflets we use recordings and broadcasts. A three-minute or five-minute recording may express an idea more extensively and more urgently than can be done on a leaflet.

 

Besides broadcasting the “Voice of America” from Saipan, the radio also served as a rescue beacon for injured B-29 bombers. In one week, four B-29s used the radio beam to find their way home. By the end of April 1945, 20 B-29s were saved. The cost of one B-29 bomber was more than the entire radio section’s material and labor. 

OWI Activities 

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The Saipan OWI offices were built by the Navy Seabees.
Notice the open leaflet bomb in front of the desk.

The Honolulu branch of the OWI cooperates fully with CINCPAC – CINCPOA. Weekly directives and special guidance are received from Washington coordinating the propaganda in all theaters. The OWI is the official voice of the U. S. Government in overseas radio. The OWI has a powerful short-wave transmitter on Oahu. It often transmits programs that originate in San Francisco. A long-wave station is on Saipan that can broadcast to the Japanese homeland.

The OWI Leaflet Newsletter adds more about the radio operations:

The new Saipan and Honolulu transmitters began operating on December 26, 1944. The first evidence Tokyo gave of knowledge of them was given on a Tokyo Home Service broadcast January 1, 1945. This was the announcement: “Please turn off your radio as soon as this broadcast is over. Please do this to save some electric power and to keep radio sets in service-longer. With ‘Let’s turn off the radio as soon as the broadcast is over,’ as a watchword please carry out the request from tonight without fail. Please remember this.”

The aim seems to have been, quite apart from the announced one of avoiding wear and tear on radio sets, to get all of them turned off at the time the OWI transmitters were at their highest peak of efficiency.

Technical Aspects 

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Loading the Leaflet Bomb

Propaganda is the means by which warfare is directed against the mind and will of the enemy. Although there are more effective means, hand dropping leaflets over the enemy is still a viable option. Low-flying artillery spotter planes are very effective in this mission. Five-hundred leaflets are tied in a bundle, Four bundles are made into a package. One man can open a hatch and throw out a package without assistance. When anti-aircraft fire is present, low flying leaflet dropping is impractical. If the aircraft cannot fly safely below 3000 feet, then a leaflet bomb should be used.   

 

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155mm Howitzer Leaflet Shell

 

There is no leaflet shell. However, the standard American 105mm Base Ejection smoke shell (M2 and M2-A1) and the British “25 pounder” Base Ejection smoke shell have been found suitable for propaganda distribution. The shells should burst directly over the enemy position. Leaflets have been found to have the greatest effect on enemy morale if used immediately after a heavy artillery concentration. They should be primarily surrender or safe conduct leaflets.

 

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The British 25-Pounder Leaflet Shell 

 

Leaflet shell cases should be clearly marked with a large letter “P.” The letter should is red if the propaganda leaflets are for use against troops, white if the leaflets are for use against civilians. Leaflets are normally rolled at the printing plant, but they can be rolled in the field. The number of leaflets that can be inserted varies between 175 and 300 depending on the quality of paper used. With a light breeze and the leaflets leaving the shell at a height of 300 to 400 feet, the area covered by the leaflets s approximately 150 yards in diameter. The maximum range with the TM 54 fuse is 8,300 yards. The maximum range with the TM 67 fuse is 12,000 yards.

 

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Example of Shell Blast Crinkled safe conduct leaflet fired at German troops

Ejection usually results in crinkling, tearing and scorching of the leaflets but the percentage is so small that it is not enough to detract from the effectiveness of the shell as a method of distribution.

 

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The M-15 and M-16 Leaflet Bombs

No bomb has been devised solely for the purpose of distributing propaganda leaflets. One can modify the M-26 Flare Case into the “bomb, leaflet 100-pound size T1,” the M-15 Adapter Cluster Case into the “bomb, leaflet 100-pound size T2,” or the M-16 Adapter Cluster Case into the “bomb, leaflet 500-pound size T3.”  The bombs should burst from 700-1000 feet above enemy occupied areas. The weight of the M-26 loaded with leaflets is approximately 65 pounds. The leaflets must be rolled to completely fill the casing. If the leaflets are 5 x 8 inches, the M-26 case (T1 bomb) can hold approximately 10,500 leaflets. The fuse should be set to cause a discharge at approximately 1,000 feet above and upwind of the target. If the leaflets are 5 x 8 inches, the M-15 case (T2 bomb) can hold approximately 7,500 leaflets and weights approximately 55 pounds. The M16 case (T3 bomb) filled with leaflets weighs approximately 175 pounds and will hold about 30,000 leaflets.

In regard to the leaflets and bombs, perhaps we should stop here for a moment and study some of the problems faced by the new propaganda outfit trying to get started on Saipan. The comments are by Lieutenant Robert Morris, the Navy officer on Admiral Nimitz’s staff in charge of the entire project. I have edited his comments for brevity:

I met only one OSS agent in the forward area, a pleasant fellow whose work consisted of spinning some “black” propaganda messages over the transmitter which the OWI maintained on Saipan. The OWI, on the other hand, was all over the place. It had a large office in Honolulu…printing presses, great supplies of precious paper, loudspeakers, public address systems and various other field devices…

In the first days of 1945, I devoted my energies toward setting up a working unit on Saipan. We had two language officers, a yeoman striker and three gunner’s mates. The OWI at the time had about six technicians operating its Saipan radio transmitter. With the establishment of our advanced unit, the staff was more than doubled, including a printer and three assistants.

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Navy Seabees Build the OWI Headquarters on Saipan – 1944

Convincing American forces of the merit of our mission turned out to be a major headache. It was struggle to get the island command to consent to our establishing ourselves there. It was a struggle to get a Quonset hut. It was a struggle to get personnel to assist us. It was a struggle to locate suitable bomb cases for the leaflets, and to convince the air forces to carry the leaflets.

Ordnance experts had improvised a leaflet bomb…The bomb was unsatisfactory in many respects, principally in that it did not carry enough leaflets. The bomb case model was also obsolete, and there were not enough cases in the theater to supply a fraction of our needs. There was always a shortage of paper. We also needed people to wrap the leaflets into rolls to be inserted in the bomb cases.

We found that the Navy had a 500-pound butterfly bomb case in their ammunition dumps. It was 5-6 times as large as the bomb case we had been using. Whenever I discovered them I was off at once to persuade the officer in charge of the ammunition depot of the merit of our project. Somehow we always managed to have enough bomb cases to keep the leaflets falling. The personnel problem was solved by using Japanese prisoners to perform the labor. The rolling of leaflets into circular coils of exact dimensions to fit snugly into the bomb case called for exacting and rather extensive labor. The Japanese prisoners assigned to us numbered 12 and we kept them busy all day.

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The OWI PV-1 "Polly" Aircraft

A PV-1 aircraft with a special loud speaker system providing audible speech from 6,000 feet altitude was available for day or night harassment of Japanese troops if atmospheric condition were right. The loudspeakers were located just aft of the rear exit.

Four PV-1s were built, but only one was sent to the Pacific. It had a Navy crew of three officers; a pilot, co-pilot and a propaganda officer to handle the sound gear. In early embarrassing tests the loudspeakers failed from 2,000 feet and later blew a fuse. The aircraft was finally sent to the Marshall Islands.  On 15 February 1945, Polly made its initial 15-minute broadcast over Wotje Atoll at an altitude of 4,500 feet. The aircraft played “My Blue Heaven” and “Red River Valley” and broadcast a “hopelessness” message that had been recorded in Hawaii by a Japanese prisoner-of-war. It took heavy fire and lost an engine. About the middle of April, Polly left the Marshall islands and deployed to Okinawa. Immediately after the Okinawa campaign Polly was replaced by four PB4Y2s Privateers, the Navy version of the Army B-24 Liberator.

A few days after the Japanese surrender the new loudspeaker aircraft flew over Tokyo and played the song, “I Surrender Dear.”

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Loudspeaker Team

The loudspeaker is the most effective method of reaching troops in the jungle and in caves. Loud speakers can be mounted on jeeps, trucks, tanks and small crafts. It is suggested that the most powerful reproducers be used. The louder the better since sound is absorbed in the jungle. In some cases personnel 300 yards away could not hear the speakers in the jungle.

Of course, the Japanese concept of enemy loudspeaker messages and leaflets is different than that of the Americans. Master Sergeant John Blair talks about the Guadalcanal battle in an article entitled “A Japanese Guadalcanal Dairy.”

On 16 January 1943, a Japanese soldier reports:

I heard one of the enemy talking busily in Japanese over a loud speaker. He was probably telling us to come out. What fools the enemy are! The Japanese Army will stick it out to the end. This position must be defended with our lives.

A day later on 17 January 1943 we find the entry:

According to the enemy broadcast, today they are going to attack our position. However, we have no fear. I went to the battalion headquarters in the morning and saw enemy propaganda sheets which were found in First Lieutenant Kasahara's area. The writing was very poor.

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A Japanese POW Broadcasts to his Comrades in the Jungle - 1945

On the Island of Saipan an American Army Technical Sergeant holds a microphone as a Japanese
prisoner-of-war tells his hidden comrades of the good treatment he has received at the hands of the Americans

Now that we know the philosophy and tools of the OWI, we need to study exactly how the system worked. The following data is gleaned from a number of lectures the students received during their training.

The OWI separates propaganda into two priorities. The first is the American story, the people, their aims, their actions and how they are contributing to the war effort. The second is to always tell the truth. Constant repetition of the truth is the OWI way of news and information broadcasts. The OWI had no broadcast capability until November 1942, when the government officially took over by contractual agreement the short wave stations throughout the country. The OWI obtained station KGEI in San Francisco at that time. However, using commercial radio, as part of the old Coordinator of Information (COI) organization, they first broadcast on 8 December 1941 in Japanese.

The OWI was formed primarily to eliminate confusion and chaos, which came from a number of different wartime agencies competing for radio time and space in newspapers. A single agency was needed to bring order to the overseas propaganda campaign. Robert Sherwood became the head of the Overseas Branch. The function of the Outpost people was different in different areas. In neutral countries, they are purely informational. In Allied countries, their duties were informational and psychological warfare. In the Pacific Theater of Operations, there was an office in Honolulu and in Sidney, Australia. A radio station broadcast from Brisbane. The OWI used the Australian transmitters to broadcast to the Philippines. There was an office in Chungking, China.

Inside the organization, propaganda analysis takes the product of enemy radio and turns it into material the OWI can use. Propaganda analysis deals primarily with the enemy' radio output, Some 80,000 words a day are broadcast from Japan and Japanese controlled stations and are monitored by us. Operations Intelligence prepares long-range material. One of the Pacific problems is the sixteen-hour time difference between San Francisco and the target cities in the Orient like Tokyo. That means that most of the programs are taped here and broadcast during enemy peak hours. Some foreign language speakers are easier to find than others. Good Japanese and Burmese readers are difficult to locate, Thai readers are almost impossible. Broadcasts are also made in Chinese, French, Dutch and Malay. In some cases, we hire people with almost no skills simply because they speak the languages. We record most of the Japanese programs in Denver where the agency has a number of Japanese employees.

How do we produce a radio program? The Contact Department finds various notables and takes opinions or quotes from them that will appear on the show. The Special Events Department goes to newsworthy events and records them. Radio writers in the Features Unit combine the stories to produce a radio tape that is shipped to the Outposts in foreign countries. The Outpost programs are mostly regularly programmed. The radio shows are saved for six months since they might be used more than once. There are 15 radio studios producing records. The OWI also “borrows” from regular commercial broadcasting. Washington sets the editorial policy, and all shows are censored by the Navy. The OWI produces about 850 programs a week.

Apparently the American propaganda broadcasts were not effective. A post-war OWI survey of the Japanese asked:

During the war did you ever hear about any anti-Japanese radio broadcasts? What did you think of them? What did you hear about them?

Research indicated that only 2 percent of those questioned said that they had personally heard an American propaganda broadcast. The reason is simple. Short-wave listening was barred in Japan and all such sets had been taken in by the police. The Saipan radio, operating long-wave, while audible in some localities, was as a rule effectively jammed by Japanese stations. The same informants asserted that it had no effect on ordinary citizens. One added:

One or two people may have heard the program, but very few.

The same point was made by a Christian minister in Kyoto:

Since all the short-wave sets in Japan were confiscated by the government and the former possessors severely punished, the Japanese people had no way to hear the broadcasts from America. I believe only a few officials had sets powerful enough to get the broadcasts from overseas.

The Japanese seem not to have feared the American radio to any great extent. They did monitor San Francisco and Hawaii, but made no special effort to study them in any depth. Sukehido Kabayama of the Foreign Office believed that Japan had almost completely jammed Saipan radio. He believed that some small areas of Japan might be able to pick up Saipan radio on occasion, but in general the transmissions were believed to be blocked. The official belief was that Allied radio had no effect on the Japanese people prior to Guadalcanal. After the fall of Saipan, the Japanese began to believe that the war could be lost.

Kabayama thought that the best propaganda radio came from New Delhi and Chungking. The American Hawaii radio broadcasts lacked appeal in that statements contained too much challenge and not enough persuasion. One interesting point made was that because of the speed with which the results of bomb raids were broadcast and the disruption of Japanese communications, the government sometimes heard of the results of raids from San Francisco before they were notified by local authorities.

George Mitiushio of the English Section of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation said that KGEI from San Francisco was considered the most important American radio station. However, the Foreign Office rarely let them hear the American broadcasts and as a result they had no idea what the enemy was saying. He also downplayed Radio Saipan saying, "It came in infrequently because of the jamming."

Most OWI agents scheduled for overseas duty were first sent to the University of California where they were given a course in history, regional geography, and racial customs. They were taught various forms of propaganda, and just as we teach today, they were told that, “The best media for propaganda is the human voice. The closer you get to the people you want to convince, the better it is.” The OWI did not censor itself. It simply worked under certain guidelines. As mentioned earlier, the U. S. Navy was in charge of censoring OWI output. One lecturer mentions that he is so programmed not to use the word “radar” that he even has difficulty in mentioning it to the students. If you have been trained never to point a weapon at a human in training, you will understand his difficulty. Even knowing that the weapon is empty, the old taboos kick in.

The OWI coordinated their propaganda with the British. It traded information with the British ministry of Information in exchange for their material. That makes sense because the Allies needed to present a unified message that could not be misinterpreted. An example is a case where the British are asking partisans to rise up while the United States is telling them to lay low until an invasion. Plans came in the form of a Central Directive, a main central policy document approved by a Washington board made up of representatives from the OWI, State, War and Navy Departments, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There is also guidance. An example is the treatment of the Emperor of Japan. The guidance was that the Emperor was a historic institution and it does no good to insult him. The best way to create difficulty for Japan was to spread the idea that the Emperor had been betrayed by the military clique and fooled into leading his nation into war. Another concept was not to argue with the enemy. If we went on the defensive, that meant that the enemy was on the offensive. Our propagandists were not to get into a shouting match with the Japanese.

In Military Review, March-April 2005, Dr. Montgomery McFate discusses the WWII PSYOP treatment of Emperor Hirohito in an article entitled “Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their Curious Relationship.” He says in part:

In 1943, Benedict became the head of the Basic Analysis Section of the Bureau of Overseas Intelligence of the Office of War Information. Benedict also undertook research on Japanese personality and culture, the effect of which cannot be overstated. Near the end of the war, senior military leaders and U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were convinced the Japanese were “culturally incapable of surrender” and would fight to the last man. Benedict and other OWI anthropologists were asked to study the view of the emperor in Japanese society. The ensuing OWI position papers convinced Roosevelt to leave the emperor out of the conditions of surrender (rather than demanding unconditional surrender as he did of dictators Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini).

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