SGM HERB FRIEDMAN (Ret.)
Note: Parts of this article were used with permission by Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada to stimulate discussion about the uses of propaganda during war in general and the Cold War in particular. The Ministry of Education, Singapore, requested the use of images from this article as part of Source-based practice questions for History students who are preparing for their Cambridge O-Level Examinations
When one studies early American psychological operations (PSYOP) campaigns we constantly find that one of the complaints is that the personnel was usually drafted or assigned from another specialty such as infantry, armor or artillery. The problem has been met head-on today with American PSYOP troops trained in specialty schools at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and having their own military occupational specialty (MOS) code. It was much more haphazard in WWII and
In this article we will look back six decades and study the career of one Psywarrior who started out as an U.S. Army infantry officer and later requested and was assigned to a PSYOP unit during the Korean War. His son has been kind enough to send me a collection of his wartime orders and documents and we have put this story together from reading the orders and personal correspondence.
Lieutenant Murray Jack Litin
Murray Jack Litin was born in the Bronx,
, on 21 March 1928. He graduated from New York Freeport High Schoolon Long Island and later earned a Bachelor of Science degree from . He did two years in the U.S. Army as a medic from 1945 to 1947, achieved the rank of Private First Class, and then returned home to several civilian jobs in various retail firms while he completed his schooling. During his university time he spent two years in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and did six weeks of field training during his summer vacation. On 28 January 1951 he was appointed an infantry 2nd Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps by direction of the President. Syracuse University had achieved the exalted rank of Butter Bar. In February he was attached to the 305th Infantry Regiment of the 77th (Reserve) Infantry Division. They met on Murray 42nd Streetin New York City, just a bit west of Times Square.
On 18 April 1951 he was recalled to active duty. He was to report to
Fort Jayon Governors Islandfor physical examination. I assume they were going to shoot him up with a dozen vaccines for overseas duty because the orders say; Officers will be hospitalized if necessary from one to three days. On 30 April Litin received an extract explaining that he could be activated for twenty-one months. He was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division at . This call-up in time of national emergency was quite common at that time and I remember many old Reservists telling me Never go into the Reserves kid I did it after WWII and they called me back for three miserable years during the Korean War. Fort Dix, New Jersey
Artists at work Designing a Propaganda leaflet
On 5 June 1951, Litin requested an assignment in Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR). The Department of the Army informed him that there was no need for additional personnel at the moment but his request would be retained. They advised him to read Training Circular 17, The Military Aspects of Psychological Warfare. They also appear to have sent him the PSYWAR Officer Course curriculum, 317 hours that included: Journalism, Radio, Advertising, Publishing, Public relations, International Relations, Diplomatic Service, United States Army Staff and other subject allied to political or psychological warfare. They state that WWII experience in PSYWAR, or service with the Office of War Information or Office of Strategic Services is desirable, as is fluency in one or more foreign languages.
In October 1951, Lt. Litin requested an assignment to the Counter Intelligence Corps at
. He points out that he has a clean record, has an anticipated 18 months to serve, had served in the German prisoner of war camp at Fort Holabird, Maryland , during his first tour, and had completed a voluntary extra-curricular course in intelligence training for ROTC students sponsored by the G-2 (Intelligence), First Army. His request was denied by First Army who pointed out that he just had a few months in the infantry and should have at least one years experience before requesting a transfer. At that time Litin was assigned to the 526th Replacement Company at Fort DuPont, Delaware , as an assistant to the commander. Repo Depots normally are holding companies where troops wait before being assigned a permanent position. For instance, Litin was in charge of transferring a group of enlisted soldiers to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey , on 6 November. I suspect that the young lieutenant hated the job. On 13 November 1951 he was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division. Fort Gordon, Georgia
Adding the Text to a Propaganda Leaflet
In January 1952, Lt. Litin was recommended for promotion. At that time he was a platoon leader and weapons instructor at
, assigned to Company K of the 47th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division. Since only six months had passed since his recall to active duty, no action was taken on the request. In February Litin passed a course in Training in Military Justice Matters. , Ft.Dix New Jersey
In March 1952, Lt. Litin received orders to attend the three-month officers Infantry Course at
Fort Benning, Georgia(often called the for Boys by the old soldiers). The Benning School would teach the young lieutenant the finer points of his trade. Litin graduates and clears the base on 25 June. He then receives orders for the Third Army 6th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group at Infantry School . He probably got his enthusiasm for propaganda there. While at Bragg he is assigned to special duty with the 10th Special Forces Group. I notice that Colonel Aaron Banks is on the same order, assigned as the Executive Officer of the Fort Bragg, North Carolina . Aaron Banks is considered by many to be the father of the United States Army Special Forces. PSYWAR Center
Hot off the Presses Inspecting the Days Work
In July 1952, Litin was assigned to the twelve-week PSYWAR Officers Course. His orders state that he will report to the Commander of the
after graduation for assignment. He graduates and is promptly assigned to the 2nd Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company of the 6th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group at PSYWAR Center . Fort Bragg
On 22 November 1952, Litin is assigned to the 6217th Replacement Battalion at
. He also accepts the appointment of a Reserve Army officer for an indefinite term. Litin is then assigned to the 3rd Reproduction Company, APO 503, of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, 8239th Army Unit, Fort Lawton, Washington APO500. He has finally reached the war. His assignment appears on Special Order 353, dated 18 December 1952. On 22 December 1952 his new unit reports that he has arrived.
The recruitment of staff for the first PSYOP Group to be deployed to Korea is mentioned in a reunion book entitled Psychological Warfare in Korea - 1952 Life and Times of the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group - 50 years Later, Klein, Herguth and McConaughey, RHP Books, 2002:
The Army, to find enlisted men for jobs that required a university degree, set up a special classification and assignment unit at
Ft. Myer, in . Towards the end of 1950, orders went out to send all draftees with college degrees to Arlington, Virginia after they finished basic training to be interviewed for possible special assignments. It was through this process that draftees with experience in journalism, radio, advertising and graphic arts found themselves in the 1st RB&L Group. Ft. Myer
The unit was formed in
Ft. Riley . It was created by Fifth Army General Order #176, April 1951. The first commander was Lieutenant Colonel Homer E. Shields, former Chief of Psywar section of the Sixth Army Group, and later Executive Officer to General McClure, head of the Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). General McClure personally selected Shields for this post. Kansas
The Group arrived in
, on 6 August 1951. They were headquartered on the 6th floor of Empire House. The enlisted personnel were quartered in the Tokyo, Japan Japanese Government Finance Buildingon B Avenuein the heart of . The Officers were billeted in Officer's Clubs around Tokyo . Tokyo
The group consisted of three companies. Paul Linebarger discusses them in Psychological Warfare, Combat Forces Press,
, 1954. He says: Washington DC
The Headquarters and Headquarters Company contained the command, administrative, supervisory and creative personnel necessary for propaganda operations. The 3rd Reproduction Company contained intricate equipment and skilled personnel capable of producing leaflets and newspapers of varying sizes and multiple color. The 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company was designed to replace or augment other means of broadcasting radio propaganda.
Stephen E. Pease mentions the unit in his Psywar Psychological Warfare in
Korea1950-1953, Stackpole Books, , 1992: Harrisburg, Pa
Upon its arrival in the Far East, the 1st RB&L Group assumed operation of the Voice of the UN Command (VUNC), a propaganda radio station in Japan that had begun broadcasting to Korea on 29 June 1950 When the unit arrived in Japan in August 1951, it was still inexperienced in the aspects of PSYWAR. The training they received in Korean customs, language, and social details was also inadequate for the job. The early emphasis was on quantity, not quality. Later, Korean nationals helped in the design and targeting of the materials. By 1952, the 1st RB&L Group could produce leaflets in 16 languages and dialects.
The 3rd Reproduction Company at work in Japan
The Printing of leaflets was the responsibility of the 3rd Reproduction Company of the 1st RB&L Group. Leaflets were prepared at the Far East Command Printing and
Publication Centeroutside near a railroad station called Motosumiyoshi. About 250 Americans and 900 Japanese civilian employees worked in the Center. After the leaflets were printed and cut they were rolled and placed inside leaflet bombs by the 3rd Reproduction Company troops. They were then delivered to Tachikawa Air Base to the planes that dropped them on the Chinese or North Korean troops. From August to September 1951 the Group produced about 13 million leaflets a week. By December 1951 the 50-millionth leaflet was produced. Meanwhile, in Yokohama Korea, the leaflet missions were planned and organized by the Operations Officer, Kimpo Air Base, . Seoul
In February 1953, 2nd Lieutenant Litin, now Commander of the 3rd Reproduction Company, received a letter of commendation from his commander:
It is a distinct pleasure for me to commend you for the fine work done in connection with the printing and processing of leaflet 1285.
Despite obstacles of a very trying nature and disruption of normal plant operations you successfully completed a high priority job exhibiting imitative, tenacity, resourcefulness and a high degree of professional capability and pride in the job to be done
This leaflet is interesting because apparently it was a high-priority rush job. Telling Koreans to stay off the roads and flee to the hills does not seem to be a priority. Asking them to help pilots is noble, but not a priority. So, we can assume that it was the partisan message that was important. What do we know about Allied partisans operating behind the lines in
? North Korea
U.S.Army and the CIA bitterly fought for control of clandestine action in North Korea, and eventually agreed to form Combined Command Reconnaissance Activities, (CCRAK). This was a cover name for a classified designation, Covert, Clandestine, and Related Activities Korea, which was intended to be a joint army and CIA operation with the CIA in overall charge, and with the Air Force and Navy supporting the execution of missions. By January 1952, when CCRAK was activated, actual control ended up with the Armys Far Eastern Command Intelligence Section. The CIA promptly formed a new unit, Joint Advisory Commission - Korea (JACK), nominally under CCRAK but in reality operating independently from Yong Do Island, connected by a rugged isthmus to Korea . This smoldering distrust continued throughout the Korean War. Pusan
This leaflet also uses the theme of partisans. Leaflets 1249 and 1250 are almost identical with just a change in color and a minor change in the wording. This leaflet depicts farmers aiding the partisans fight the Communists. The leaflet was printed on 1 December 1952 as part of Plan 52/19 designed to induce the farmers to assist the partisans. The leaflet depicts a South Korean patriot aiming a rifle at a terrified Communist. The back depicts farmers telling the guerrillas of Communist movement and partisans attacking a Communist supply train. Text on the front is:
Farmers of Hwang Hao-Do
The partisan is fighting for your liberation from Communist aggression.
Text on the back is:
Farmers of Hwang Hao-Do
Protect the partisan and he will protect you.
Litin seems to have fitted in well with his new unit and was assigned a number of additional duties, what we used to call onion skins because they were usually the seventh or eight carbon copy of an order typed on very thin paper and almost unreadable. Some of his additional duties were; Unit Fund Custodian, Unit Fund Council, Printing Officer, and Reproduction Officer.
The Units Harris Printing Press
In February 1953, Litin was awarded the MOS of PSYWAR Officer (9305) and promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Two months later his primary MOS was changed to Printing Officer (4360). He requested that his tour in
by extended. He said: Korea
I am particularly anxious to continue in my present assignment as Company Commander and as a reproduction officer as the undersigned is convinced that he is now gaining a unique knowledgeand experience of great value personally to my use in the service. My present assignment not only includes the responsibility of Company Commander but also military printing plant duties, and is providing me with a wealth of knowledge in the field of personnel management, production control, scheduling, and printing plant operation.
It is my earnest desire to remain in my present assignment in order to carry on through the period in which the parts played by psychological warfare and the 3rd Reproduction Company are increasing. I feel that my technical knowledge can best be utilized in my current assignment and will be more benefit to the service under the present conditions existing in this theater.
LEAFLETS FROM THE 1ST RB&L GROUP
Although I have several articles on the Korean War on this website, I will show a few items here that Murray Litin brought home. It would be nice to think that he helped in the design, printing or production of these leaflets. I have selected one or two of the more colorful leaflets from different psychological warfare campaigns.
The first leaflet we depict from the Group was printed 28 April 1952 as part of Plan Hold-Up to show the people that the Communist promise of the good life was false. I chose this one because of the image, North Korean soldiers marching into the mouth of a poisonous snake whose body trails back to the Kremlin in
. The text on the banner and snakes body is: Moscow
North Korean Peoples Government
Some of the text on the back is:
To the Korean people and to the Free World the Communists constantly shout: We are helping the Korean people and we are raising their standard of living!
The Communists have refused to allow the International Red Cross to bring desperately needed aid to your suffering families.
The Communists have ruined your families and sold your country to Soviet
The Communists are masters of deception!
This leaflet was printed on 5 May 1952 as part of Plan Hold-Up to show Korean civilians that the UN wants peace, unification and reconciliation in
. The front depicts UN clothes for the needy, health and recreation for youth, uniting broken families and building homes for the homeless. Some of the text is: Korea
Life is Best under the U.N. Flag
While the UN Builds the Communists Destroy.
The UN Champions of Peace! Defenders of Freedom!
The main purpose of the United Nations is to maintain peace throughout the world. The UN has achieved peaceful settlement of differences in Kashmir,
Palestineand . Indonesia
Look around your sons lost to the ruthless Communist army, your crops and individual freedom lost forever. This is only the beginning of your suffering under Communist dictatorship. Join the people of the free world along with your friends. Resist the Communists and build a free and independent
This leaflet was printed on 28 April 1952 for as part of Plan Hold-Up for Chinese troops in
and that is why it is in the 7000 series instead of the 1000 series. I chose it because of the image which depicts a monster with fangs who wears the mask of a friendly Josef Stalin. The title is: Korea
Communists Masters of Deceit
Text on the back says in part:
Chinese Communist leaders constantly shout their slogan: Protect families and defend the nation!
But quietly the Chinese Communists have let in Soviet Russians to enslave
. The heavy industry of Northeast China and the food of China have been moved out by the big noses. The Soviet Russians have dispatched advisors to occupy all the key cities of China and have sent secret agents to control both central and local governments. China
The Communists have ruined your families and sold your country!
The Communists are masters of deception!
This leaflet was prepared as part of Plan Invader on 9 June 1952. to convince the target audience that the war could have been over long ago except for the Communists long range plan for world conquest. The leaflet depicts Communist leaders gleefully applying the torch of aggression to
and its people. Some of the text on the back is: Korea
Examine these facts that Tell the Truth About the Korean War
You know for a fact that two years ago on 25 June 1950 the North Korean Communists ruthlessly attacked the peaceful
. republicof Korea
You know for a fact that the war was nearly over in mid-November 1950 when Communist
Chinainvaded . Korea
You know for a fact that the Communists have consistently blocked efforts to conclude an armistice
This leaflet also exists with Chinese text coded 7152.
This leaflet was printed on 25 June 1952 as part of Plan Fraud, to show that the North Korean Communist regime is corrupt and incompetent. The front depicts Russian and Chinese officials toasting each other while a North Korean woman and her children go hungry. Some of the text on the front and back is:
COMMUNISM MEANS CORRUPTION
Communism breeds corruption, inefficient and incompetent leaders. The facts show this is true.
North Korean Communist officials stuff their purses through bribery and theft of public funds. The exorbitant taxes and forced contributions extracted from the people never become guns, food and medical supplies for North Korean soldiers. Money goes instead into bulging pockets of the Communists
This leaflet was printed on 8 July 1952 as part of Plan Fraud to show that Communism has deprived everyone of their individual freedoms. The image depicts a Korean elder being muffled by a green monstrous object with a hammer and sickle where the face should be. The title is:
Communist hands take your freedom.
The back is all text and says in part:
Communist hands clamp your mouth shut. You cannot speak out against your Communist bosses.
Communist hands chain you to your jobs. You cannot choose where or how long you must work.
Escape the hands that kill freedom!
Oppose Communism: Resist
Birth of leaflet 1195 on the Printing Press
The Leaflets are cut to size for Air-Dropping
The Leaflets are loaded into Propaganda Bombs
British researcher Lee Richards found a number of official U.S. Army photographs showing the development of this leaflet. It is rare to find a sequence like this.
This leaflet was printed on 3 October 1952 as part of Plan Fraud. I chose it because of the image, which shows Josef Stalin replacing Buddha in a temple. A hammer and sickle is on his chest and he holds a knife and a fork. One wonders if our propagandists forgot that they Koreans eat with chop sticks. A figure labeled Kim il Sung sacrifices
and the People to the alter while behind Stalins head the word Communism is carved. Text down the left side is: North Korea
You are being Deceived
The back is all text and says in part:
Why must your leaders bow to Russian masters?
Because in their own greed they have sold themselves to a foreign power.
Because they have sold your soldiers to the Communists as cannon fodder to be wasted for Communist gain...
North Koreans You are being deceived Be alert Resist Communist slavery
This leaflet was prepared on 20 September 1952 as part of Plan Good Fellow, depicting the good treatment that prisoners of War received from the United Nations. There are three photographs on both the front and back showing North Korean POWs taking part in sporting or entertainment activities. Some of the text is:
Dear People of
, North Korea
I am sending this message to my family, friends and countrymen so you will know about my life in a UN POW camp in the
. My comrades and I are safe, well cared for and happy. We enjoy ourselves in many ways. Republicof Korea
We spend much time in sports.
We often get together and sing.
Sometimes we play chess.
This leaflet simply offers the North Korean soldier survival. Once again, the asterisk after the number means the leaflet was requested by EUSAK. In this black and white production a blanketed Korean soldier sits alone in icy wind and snow. The title of the leaflet is Cold? The leaflet was printed on 4 February 1953. The text on the front is:
Do you want to perish?
The back is all text, white characters on a black background:
To save your life, escape to the United Nations or to the rear NOW!
TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE!
Because this leaflet has no vignette I would usually not depict it. However it is interesting because it comes directly from
Far EastCommand and it is a call by General MacArthur for the Communists to surrender. The leaflet is in Korean on one side and English on the other. It is undated. The old MacArthur arrogance shows through in the demand for surrender. Some of the text is:
To: The Commander-in-Chief of the North Korean Forces,
The early and total defeat and complete destruction of your armed forces and war making potential is now inevitable...I, as the United Nations Commander-in-Chief, call upon you and the forces under your command, in whatever part of Korea situated, forthwith to lay down your arms and cease hostilities under such military supervision as I may direct
I shall anticipate your early decision upon this opportunity to avoid the further useless shedding of blood and destruction of property.
General of the Army,
United Nations Forces
This leaflet was requested by the Eighth U.S. Army
in October 1952. The front of the leaflet has six panels that show a successful escape from the Communist forces. The back tells of an escape at night. Some of the text is: Korea
WE ESCAPED DEATH
Read this actual account of a Communist Chinese Forces squad leader who not only saved his own life but the lives of his men as well. This account will show you how you too can escape death.
Most of my men were slaughtered. The rest were very tired. Why must my comrades die? For what?
Then came the order for my tired squad to return to the battle. I protested and was threatened with punishment.
My men fight? They have had enough of this hopeless futile war.
I realized how wrong I was to have joined the Communists. How wrong I was to have led these men into battle. I called them together. Where are we going? they asked. To Safety, I replied.
We managed to move near the UN lines and waited until dawn. Two of us had saved UN Safe Conduct leaflets.
Displaying our leaflets, my men and I approached a UN soldier. Why couldnt we have done this sooner?
U.S.Eighth Army (EUSAK) printed this leaflet on 9 April 1953. I added it because I thought the deep blue color was impressive. It shows a North Korean soldier standing to accept criticism from his Communist leader. The text is: Korea
Criticism and Self-Criticism is mental Torture!
You Suffer from Unbearable Loss of Face!
Blame the Communists!
Self criticism is one of the key tenets of the Communist guerrilla philosophy. An example came to light a decade later during the
War when the Viet Cong Oath of Honor stated: Viet Nam
I swear to indulge in self-criticism
Self-criticism was a way for the Communist cadre to mold and lead the soldiers using peer pressure to make them conform. However, it is clear that soldiers taking part in self-criticism were not happy. It was said that they would rather be beaten then suffer the loss of face of being berated before their comrades.
I added this leaflet, printed on 16 January 1953 by the
Eighth Army, because it is part of Plan Divide, designed to foster dissention between the Chinese and the Russians. It depicts Russian Premier Josef Stalin on the front and the text: U.S.
WARRIORS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST FORCES
BEHOLD THE MURDEROUS SYMBOL AND CRAFTY FACE OF YOUR BETRAYER!
The back depicts dead Chinese in the snow and some of the following text:
Warriors of the Chinese Communist Forces!
Look about you! Many of your comrades are gone, killed in useless attacks.
Because Stalin and the Russian Communists have forced you into this war. Because they care nothing for dead Chinese soldiers
Leaflet Newspaper 2129
There was one leaflet newspaper in the material that Litin brought back. It is a copy of the weekly Free World Weekly Digest for 8 April 1953. This paper was dropped regularly on North Korean civilians and the North Korean Army and contained photographs, cartoons and various news stories. The above newspaper is issue number 108.
On 29 April 1953, Lieutenant Litin received orders to return home. The Army was ready to send him back to civilian life. The North Korean Communists had returned to the
Panmunjompeace talks three days earlier and it looked like the war might be over. In fact, fighting flared up again and it was July before the war was actually over. I should point out that no peace treaty has ever been signed so technically the United Statesis still at war with . At the same time, Congress never officially declared war so the whole flare up was usually called a Police Action doing the shooting phase of what I personally believe meets all the qualification for a war. The bottom line is, North Korea was coming home. He cleared his base on 1 May 1953 and was sent to the Camp Drake Replacement Depot to await his paperwork. Murray
He was to return to the continental
United Statesand report to . Orders dated 2 June 1953 send Litin back to Camp Stoneman, California , for release from active duty. His orders show that he sailed on the USNS General Randall from Camp Kilmer, New Jersey Yokohama, Japanwith the destination of . His orders show that he was leaving the 3rd Reproduction Company (8239 Army Unit). San Francisco, California
1st Lieutenant Murray Litin kept involved in the Army after his second tour. He was called up for annual active duty training (ADT) in August 1957. At that time he was assigned to the 354th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion in the Bronx,
with Headquarters at New York 529 West 42nd Street, New York City. Other orders show during the time he was with the 354th he acted as Propaganda Platoon Leader, Chief of the Printed media Section, and Battalion S4 (Supply).
Murray Litin was promoted to the rank of Captain while a member of the Army Reserves. His awards and decorations include the World War Two Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, The Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal (Korea), the Korean War Service Medal and a Korean Presidential Unit Citation. United States
I have a series of lesson plans that he prepared in 1956 to teach his men the finer points of PSYOP. One class on his old Reproduction Company goes into great depth but I will just quote a few lines:
The Reproduction Company of the Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group is responsible for the reproduction of leaflets and other printed material in support of Group operations. It supports not only strategic but tactical propaganda operations. It prints both strategic leaflets and air-drop newspapers for air delivery and tactical leaflets which are sent to the front lines for artillery delivery.
The Reproduction Company consists of three officers and fifty-four enlisted men. The Company has two components. Company Headquarters, which consists of two officers and five enlisted men. Reproduction Platoon, which consists of one officer and forty nine enlisted men and is broken down into four sections; Platoon Headquarters, Camera and Plate Section, Press Section and Processing Section.
The Reproduction Company is stationary and only moves when Headquarters moves. The Reproduction Platoon operates in the field, setting up and operating its presses and other equipment in vehicles.
Murray Litin passed away in July, 2003. He was survived by his wife, Estelle Litin; a son, Dr. Russell Litin; a daughter, Lisa Litin Kruger; and four grandchildren.
This is just a short article I wrote to honor Lieutenant Murray Litin whose son had his papers but wondered what they all meant. Russ Litin said to me, Looking at this stuff makes me wish I had asked my father about his service while he was alive. To Russ the pile of flaking orders and documents in military terminology were incomprehensible. I looked at them and saw clear as a bell the entire military history of a man. It was like looking at a soldiers chest full of badges and ribbons immediately knowing where he had been and what he had done. It is a soldier thing. It was a great pleasure to put it together and write this story.
Comments are encouraged. Please contact the author at Sgmbert@hotmail.com..
End 23 May 2009