OWI Leaflets for Thailand
SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
The Flag of Thailand
The Office of War Information produced a prodigious number of leaflets for Thailand in 1945, a county occupied by Japan and apparently a satisfied puppet of the Japanese Government. Thailand had been independent for a very long time and it was thought by most Americans that their collaboration with Japan was simply a survival tactic. The codes for U.S. leaflets aimed at Thailand are CTA, CTF, CTM, CTN, and CTP. Others may exist. In general, the last letter "A" indicates an appeal, the letter "M" indicates a morale leaflet, the letter "N" indicates a newspaper, and the letter "P" indicates a pictorial publication. This is just a very short report written as a link to the larger OWI article so we will give a few examples but go into no great detail.
The British used an S code because of the historical name Siam. Their codes for leaflets were SS, SSB, and SSN.
The leafleting of Thailand is mentioned by Edward M. Young in B-24 Liberator Units of the CBI:
The 493rd Bomber Squadron had remained at Pandaveswar flying combat missions. From June to August the unit flew over much of Thailand dropping propaganda leaflets on major cities and town Initially these leaflet-dropping missions were combined with diversionary bombing raids on Japanese airfields in Thailand, but the raids were soon dropped. Usually an element of three aircraft would take off at dawn to fly deep into Thailand to drop leaflets from low altitude, even flying directly over Bangkok in broad daylight. The 493rds final mission was on 3 September 1945 when four aircraft dropped leaflets on 17 Thai towns.
OWI Leaflet CTA-36
Leaflet CTA-36 dated April 1945 depicts the Bangkok Railway station and warns the Thais to keep away from it. It says in part:
A Friendly Warning from the Americans
People of Bangkok,
Everyone knows that the railway services of Thailand are well-developed. The Thais may well be proud of their fine transportation system, the hub of railway transportation in Southeast Asia.
Unfortunately, the Japanese are taking advantage of Thailands railways. The Japanese have made military targets out of your trains and stations
For your own safety we ask you to stay away from these Japanese military installations, including railways. One who works for the Japanese delays the day of Thailands liberation and may himself be harmed by the falling bombs.
OWI Leaflet CTA-37 Thai Air Rescue
This 4-page leaflet is one of many that the OWI printed to appeal to the Thai people to help Allied pilots and protect them from the Japanese. It is not unlike a blood chit. The first page shows a pilot parachuting down. On the second page a friendly Thai shows him where to go. The last page depicts the symbol of the U.S. Air Force. Some of the text is:
The Americans are your Friends
Please help them if they are in danger.
Our purpose in flying over your land and attacking every Japanese military target is to drive the Japanese out of your land, so that you may become free and independent again.
The Japanese will not be able to stay long in your land. When they are gone we will repay any help you extend to us. Americans do not forget those who help
OWI leaflet CTA-38 dated Leaflet CTA-39 dated 12 May 1945 encourages the people to plant staple crops in preparation for the post liberation period. It says in part:
Plan for the Future
Allied victories in the Pacific and Burma are making it impossible for the Japanese invaders to take your crops and ship them back to Japan
Therefore, it is time for the people of Thailand to plant staple crops. In this way you will provide your countrys need after the Japanese are driven out. These crops will be of special value: Cotton, rice and oil seeds.
OWI Leaflet CTM-38
Leaflet CTM-38 dated 15 May 1945 is a morale leaflet and depicts a Japanese soldier striking a Buddhist monk in the face. Some of the text is:
The Japanese profess to be Buddhists.
But this Happened in Burma
In yasagyo, north of Pakokku, at the Tahate Taik Kyaundaik monastery, there are two monks named U Kaythaya and U Wisara, who are greatly venerated by the people. When the Japanese came to this place, they went to the monastery and accused the monks of hiding parts of a motor vehicle. The Japanese soldiers slapped the faces of the two monks. This incident was witnessed by several monks and novices
OWI Leaflet CTM-39
This morale leaflet dropped in 1945 depicts an American soldier striding from Europe to Asia with swarms of Allied aircraft overhead. Similar leaflets were dropped on Japan and all the countries occupied by Japan. In almost all cases the text on the front is:
JAPAN IS NEXT!
Some of the usual text on the back is:
UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER IS JAPANS ONLY CHOICE
Germany has surrendered unconditionally. The war is over in Europe. Therefore, Japan alone must face the full might of the United Nations.
On 8 May President Truman of America issued a statement making it clear that war will be pressed against Japan until she too surrenders unconditionally. Here is what President Truman said:
Our blows will not cease until Japanese military and naval forces lay down their arms in unconditional surrender
Leaflet CTP-1 Thai Pictorial Liberation
This air-dropped pictorial newsletter was dropped regularly by the Americans to keep the Thai people updated on the status of the war. This first issue was dropped over Bangkok and other cities and was dated 1 April 1945. The front of the newspaper depicts two B-29 Super fortress bombers. The caption next to the photograph is:
These B-29 bombers are the largest warplanes in the world. They are 141 feet in size.
The text of the main article is:
Giant B-29 bombers attack from Bangkok to Tokyo. America's giant new air weapons, the B-29 bombers, are heavily attacking Japanese military places throughout Asia. Because the Japanese use Thailand as a military base, the B-29s have bombed Japanese targets in Bangkok. They have also caused great damage to Singapore, Rangoon and Penang.
No target is too distant for these bombers. Japan itself has been attacked time after time. Great damage has been visited on the capitol city of Tokyo. The B-29s have also dropped many bombs on the Japanese cities of Nagoya, Sasebo, Ywata, Omura and Nagasaki. The dockyards, naval bases, aircraft factories, steel mills and other war installations were damaged at these places.
The bombings will be greatly intensified as production of the B-29s is being increased day by day.
Leaflet CTP-12 Thai Pictorial
The lead page on this 1 August 1945 issue depicts United States Navy battleships bombarding the coast of Japan. The news story says in part:
The Naval Attacks on Japan
These are the ships and the guns which recently smashed coastal cities on Japans home islands. The battleships, both American and British, are the most powerful in the world. The guns, which you see firing in these photographs, are 16-inch, and fire shells weighing several tons
Other articles in the newsletter tell of the Americans building an airbase on Okinawa, thousands of American troops leaving Europe to fight the Japanese now that Germany has surrendered, and a 600-plane B-29 raid on Japan.
This is just a very brief look at American leaflets to Thailand. In the future I may go into more depth, but this is really just to give the readers a taste of the subject. Readers who want to discuss this subject in more depth are encouraged to write to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org