The First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group


1st Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Group
Image courtesy of Jonathan Wesley Brungerwood

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The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group Mascot - "The Ganders"

Gudmund Berge was assigned to the graphics Department as a layout artist. He worked with Japanese, Chinese and Korean artists. He won a three-day pass in a contest to design the “Proper Gander” unit symbol above.

Early on the morning of Sunday, 25 June 1950, 93,000 North Korean troops with approximately 100 Russian-made tanks attacked South Korea in an attempt to reunite the peninsula by force. The unprepared forces of South Korea were almost pushed into the sea, and the invading communist forces occupied the capital Seoul and much of South Korea.

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President Harry S. Truman

President Harry S. Truman determined to support the Republic of South Korea militarily and sought United Nations backing. An emergency session of the United Nations Security Council resolved to send troops to Korea. North Korean troops pushed the United Nations Forces into a small defensive perimeter at the tip of the Korean peninsula before American troops, largely from the U.S. and Japan and commanded by General Douglas MacArthur, landed at Inchon and launched a counterattack. Initial success brought the U.N. troops to the Chinese border by late November 1950, but on 29 November, China entered the conflict and pushed the U.N. forces southward. Seoul fell again on 4 January 1951. Another U.N. counteroffensive in February and March drove the North Korean and Chinese troops back to the 38th parallel. Despite much bloody fighting, the battle lines remained stable for another two years. As the fighting moved up and down the peninsula, ravaging the land, there were an estimated three million casualties. Armistice talks began in July 1951 but repeatedly failed to reach agreement. A truce was signed on 27 July 1953 establishing a demilitarized zone along the 38th parallel and creating a framework for a permanent settlement of the war. Talks have continued fruitlessly ever since.

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The C-47 Gooney Bird being loaded with leaflets.

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota was the workhorse of WWII, making its first flight on 23 December 1941. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Douglas aircraft one of four “Tools of Victory” that won World War II for the Allies (together with the atom bomb, the Jeep and the bazooka). I flew on it during the Korean War and we then called it the Gooney Bird. Some are still flying today in small transport businesses. In the photo above, members of the First RB&L load leaflets onto their bird.

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Corporal Raymond J. Krumenacker stands by at the drop door of an
Air Force C-47 looking for Chinese troops to drop leaflets upon

Propaganda was used extensively by both sides during the Korean conflict. Aircraft and artillery delivered United Nations leaflets. B-29 bombers dropped strategic propaganda deep behind the enemy’s rear lines. Front-line tactical propaganda was dropped by light bombers and spotter aircraft, or fired from 105mm howitzers. More than 20 million leaflets a week were prepared and disseminated by United Nations Forces at the height of the conflict.

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A printer loads leaflets into a box for dissemination

All of the leaflets we will show in this article were prepared by the 1st Radio broadcasting and Leaflet Group (1st RB&L Group). The recruitment of staff for the first PSYOP Group to be deployed to Korea is mentioned in a reunion book entitled PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE IN KOREA - 1952 LIFE AND TIMES OF THE FIRST RADIO BROADCASTING AND LEAFLET GROUP - 50 YEARS LATER, Klein, Herguth and McConaughey, RHP Books, 2002:

The Army, to find enlisted men for jobs that required a university degree, set up a special classification and assignment unit at Ft. Myer, in Arlington, Virginia. Towards the end of 1950, orders went out to send all draftees with college degrees to Ft. Myer after they finished basic training to be interviewed for possible special assignments. It was through this process that draftees with experience in journalism, radio, advertising and graphic arts found themselves in the 1st RB&L Group.

History, language, journalism, communications, science, graphic majors and others with special skills were easily identified as having talents that could be applied to the psychological warfare needs of the First RB&L. By the end of January 1951 there were 77 enlisted men assembled.

The draftee period of conscription was 24 months. The Reservist call up was for 21 months. Most of the original Group members started to return home in mid-1952 and by early 1953 all of the original Ft. Riley men were gone. The unit was disbanded in 1954 at the end of the war.

The book also mentions the state of Psywar at that the start of the war (edited for brevity):

The Army started psychological warfare operations immediately after the North Korean invasion in June 1950. It was able to make a tactical leaflet drop on the first day of the war and to begin psywar radio broadcasts the next day out of Tokyo.

The Army was ready with psychological warfare thanks to the presence of two senior officers with World War II experience. One was Colonel J. Woodall Greene who had conducted psywar against Japan. In 1947, he was made head of a Psychological Warfare Section in the Far East Command. He developed contingency plans for various possible outbreaks of hostilities. It was he who was able to organize leaflet operations in Korea and radio broadcasts from Tokyo.

The other driving force was Brigadier General Robert McClure, former chief of psychological warfare in Eisenhower’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF). McClure in October 1942 had taken charge of Psychological Warfare Services for the invasion of North Africa. He then directed psywar operations in Italy, and when assigned to SHAEF took on responsibility for psywar against Germany.

On January 15, 1951, the Army created the Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare and appointed General McClure as its head. General McClure conceived of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group and sought out Lieutenant Colonel Homer Shields to head the Group. Shields had served under McClure in both the Italian and SHAEF operations.

In April 1952, General McClure created a permanent psychological warfare center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina to provide training equipment, and doctrinal support for all army psychological warfare units, including those in Korea.

Leaflet Operations

North Korean and Chinese soldiers were blanketed with leaflets. With the UN forces enjoying complete air superiority, the Air Force was free to use B-29 bombers to deliver leaflets anywhere in the Korean Peninsula. Close to the front, the Air Force used small, lumbering C-47 transport planes flying at low altitudes to dump leaflets on enemy front line positions. Leaflets were also delivered to frontline troops by artillery shells.

Stephen E. Pease describes these the methods of delivery in Psywar: PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE IN KOREA, 1950-1953 (Stackpole Books, 1992) Pease:

Leaflets were delivered most often by aircraft in a special bomb with a hinged side that blew off after a predetermined amount of time.

The bomb was known as the M16-A1 Cluster Adapter of World War II origin. It held 45,000 four-by-five-inch leaflets or 22,500 five-by-eight-inch leaflets and weighed more than 170 pounds when fully loaded. It was dropped by B-26s, B-29s, and probably by the T-6. The B-29 carried thirty-two such bombs, releasing 1,440,000 leaflets in one load! The bomb carried a time delay separation charge. After release at 15,000 to 25,000 feet, the bomb halves separated at 1,000 to 2,000 feet to concentrate the leaflets over a specific target area.

Leaflets were also dropped in huge reels like overgrown rolls of theater tickets, and in bundles that looked like hay bales, a Korean War development. Early in the war, the bundles were opened in the aircraft and the leaflets dumped out by hand. Gusts of wind often blew them back into the planes. Later, blasting caps with delay fuses were fixed to the bundles so they could be thrown out intact, to be popped open clear of the cargo door.

Leaflets were also delivered by special artillery shells and by hand. The 105 mm howitzer shell held 400 four-by-five-inch leaflets. Usually, an empty smoke shell was used; smoke shells were easily modified in the field into leaflet carriers. The range of the gun limited its use to an area close to the front lines, but it could deliver leaflets with precision and in any weather.

Leaflet design had to take account of the ability of the enemy troops to read. Thanks to universal primary school education instituted by the Japanese, the literacy rate of the North Korean troops was high. However, large numbers of Chinese soldiers could not read, or could read with only a limited vocabulary. Much use of graphics was needed, and care had to be taken to use language that was easily understood.

Was psychological warfare effective?

Leaflets, radio broadcasts, and loudspeakers were credited as a major factor in the heavy increase in prisoners after July 1951, and interrogations of Communist prisoners of war showed that one in three were influenced to surrender by leaflets. Interrogations of civilians in North and South Korea further revealed that UN radio broadcasts reached a considerable audience and stirred some civilian opposition to the Communist regime. One authority has determined that Chinese enlisted men were found the most amenable to UN psychological warfare messages, while the hardcore North Korean officer corps were least inclined to believe or act on such appeals.

By and large, 1st RB&L junior reserve officers and enlisted draftees were left to design leaflet and radio operations without excessive interference and second guessing by the regular senior army officers at the top. This happened not by chance but because psychological warfare in Korea was ably managed. First, the recruitment process worked very well, with well-qualified men being selected both among officers and enlisted men.

Secondly, the officers at the top were very able, and the credit belongs to General McClure. General McClure chose excellent subordinates, including Homer Shields. Very likely the staff selection process for officers and enlisted men was monitored and overseen by McClure himself. General McClure was the right man in the right place, and we had a very credible psywar operation in the Korean War.

The Website EYE mentioned the 1st RB&L Group in its issue of Spring 2002, in the article "Graphic Leaflets Rained Down from the Sky." The article says in part:

On 12 July 1952, American warplanes, following orders from UN Headquarters, Far East Command, Psychological Warfare Section, dropped 50,000 leaflets warning North Korean civilians to leave their homes or die. 'Obey this warning and you will live,' goes the translation of this Korean language flyer. 'Leave this area immediately. Take your families with you. Warn your friends to do the same. If the Communists force you to remain in the danger area, send your women and children to safety.'

How many people heeded this airborne communication is not known. The leaflet was just one of dozens designed to force civilians who were in battle zones - and Chinese military personnel who were fighting in the Korean theatre - to flee, surrender, and otherwise disrupt strategic efforts on the ground.

The goal of this psychological effort during the Korean conflict by the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was threefold: to avoid extensive civilian casualties; to leave doubts about the enemy's ultimate motives; and to encourage defections from the military and militia ranks. Towards this aim, the graphic design was unambiguous and utilitarian. Some flyers with maps highlighted target areas along roads and railway routes, while others showed destroyed facilities under dire headlines such as "You Were Warned." Although raining leaflets may have been less lethal than raining bombs, it was no less frightening to realize that the United Nations' air attacks were inevitable.

Fear was a principal weapon, and every avenue into the psyche was exploited. For example, one graphic leaflet, printed in red and black and showing a photograph of four Chinese soldiers with an X striking out one of them, announces a "secret plan" to eliminate 100 million Chinese. "Will you be one of those sacrificed? One out of every four is to be   killed!" The text explains that famine will take these lives because the Chinese Communists are refusing American food aid.

Comic strips were employed in addition to written warnings. Some illustrated the injustices perpetrated by Communist occupiers. Others were simple instructions on how to surrender to UN troops, who would distribute food and administer medicine. In one leaflet, directed at North Korean forces, a cartoon shows soldiers discussing a UN Safe Conduct Pass, then destroying their rifles and walking towards the nearest UN Forces Headquarters by the open road with upraised hands [Perhaps leaflet 1095 below?]. Another leaflet informs the North Korean soldiers that they are merely clearing a path for Chinese Communist troops and are thus being placed in greater danger than their Chinese allies.

The safe conduct passes, issued in 1951, printed in Korean and English, provide instructions to UN soldiers as to the good treatment guaranteed to any soldier who ceases fighting. Another "Good Treatment" leaflet further promises warm clothing and cigarettes for all. And "you will all be given the opportunity for health-restoring recreation". It is not clear how many hearts and minds these leaflets affected, but it was an inexpensive way to make tactical profit.

The unit was first organized 8 November 1950 in the Regular Army at Fort Riley, Kansas, as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. It was reorganized and redesignated 1 September 1951 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, 8239th Army Unit. So, this unit could be recognized with two different organizational titles. The printing unit of the Group was originally the 303rd PSYOP Company. It was reorganized and redesignated 1 September 1951 as the 3rd Reproduction Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, 8239th Army Unit.

Those early days are also mentioned in an undated and unsigned 10-page document in my files. It says in part:

In the early days of 1951, the groundwork for a Psychological Warfare School was being laid at the Army General School at Ft. Riley, Kansas, an old cavalry post. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel John O. Weaver, the PSYWAR Division of the Army General School was born. By June of 1951, it had not only graduated its first officers' class, but it was also training several PSYWAR troop units. Shortly afterwards, several additional units were also added, and two Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet groups and two Loudspeaker and Leaflet Companies had received assignments to Europe and the Far East Command.

With the advent of the Korean War, military psychological warfare was carried on under the auspices of the United Nations. It is difficult to measure the effect of PSYWAR by land taken, victories won, enemy troops killed, or the number of prisoners captured. Yet, General Mark Clark, the Commander in Chief of the of the United Nations Forces in the Far East, credited PSYWAR with contributing greatly to the war against the Communists in Korea. Speaking in 1952, General Clark revealed that more than 65% of all prisoners taken were "directly influenced" by the intense United Nations propaganda campaign.

Martin J. Manning and Clarence R. Wyatt edited the 2-volume set titled Encyclopedia of Media and Propaganda in Wartime America. The articles featured the various wars that the United States was involved in and I have added a brief part of what was written about the 1st RB&L Group.

The sole tactical psywar U.S. Army unit was the Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company (L&L) stationed at the war's outbreak at Fort Riley, Kansas. By the fall of 1950, the company was in Korea, where it became part of the newly organized Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group (RB&L). Leaflets varying in size from three by five inches to newspaper dimensions were distributed by either aircraft or artillery. At peak production, 20 million leaflets were produced weekly, with more than 2 billion leaflets delivered during the war.

PSYWAR - A Major Weapon

PSYWAR - A Major Weapon is a 15-page information bulletin. It is an official publication of the United States Army Europe. It is dated 30 December 1952. The cover depicts a group of Communists in a bullseye as what might be an American B-25 bomber flies over them dropping leaflets. We also see radio towers and loudspeakers. The bulletin mentions Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet groups:

A Colonel commands the Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group which is authorized 305 officers and men. The new strategic PSYWAR unit consists of three companies: a Group Headquarters and Headquarters Company, a Reproduction Company, and a mobile Radio Broadcasting Company.

The Headquarters Company handles supply and administration for the unit. An Operations Section of the Company has linguists, layout artists, draftsmen and script writers to produce leaflets and posters. Processing the special types of intelligence needed in PSYWAR is the job of an Intelligence Section.

Equipped with the latest type of offset presses, the Reproduction Company prints the output of the Headquarters Company Operations Section. Company personnel are trained to repair and use any press they might capture in an enemy country. Though it is not the unit's main function, the company can help tactical units when they need a big press run.

Each of the three platoons in the Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company is equipped with a mobile, easily-set-up transmitter. Company personnel can fix and operate captured transmitters and other equipment. Each platoon also has a Monitoring Section to screen enemy propaganda broadcasts. A Program Section processes, and schedules scripts prepared by the Headquarters Company Operation Section, and a Radio Section maintains equipment.

The Far Eastern Command Psychological Warfare Operation: Intelligence, produced for the Operations Research Office (ORO) on 28 April 1952 was printed in 250 copies is a study made during the period of August thru December 1951, designed to describe, analyze, and evaluate theater-level psywar intelligence operations in the Far East Command. We see that the Group helped in the collection of Intelligence.

Psywar intelligence, for the purposes of this memorandum, consists of whatever intelligence is demonstrably required for the rational conduct of the psywar campaign in the Korean War, as discerned in the campaign's day-to-day operations. Responsibility for providing psywar intelligence in FEC is divided between the Intelligence Division of the Psychological Warfare Section (PWS, GHQ) and the Research and Development Section of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group (R&D Section, 1st RB&L Group). The PWS Intelligence Division conducts the major psywar intelligence operations. R&D functions mainly as a reference service in support of propaganda preparation activities.

The agencies responsible for theater-level psychological warfare in the present phase of the Korean War are the Psychological Warfare Section (PWS), GHQ, FEC, and the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group (1st RB&L Group), 8239th Army Unit, GHQ, FEC. PWS, which is responsible for making policy, formulating plans, and supervising operations, is a special staff section monitored by G-3 and reporting to the Chief of Staff. The 1st RB&L Group, which is responsible for conducting theater-level psywar operations, is formally assigned to Headquarters and Service Command, under the operational control of PWS. Each of these two agencies has its own intelligence unit. A subsidiary or supporting role in FEC psywar intelligence is performed by the Research and Development Section of the 1st RB&L Group.

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The USNS General A.W. Brewster

By March the unit was 200+ enlisted men and officers. Their training consisted of basic infantry fundamentals, general PSYWAR subjects, and six weeks of specific PSYWAR activities. About this time the unit started publishing their newspaper The Proper Gander. The first issue was 22 March. Some of the wives drove to a nearby farm and actually bought a gander as the unit’s mascot. On what appeared to be a bad omen, on Friday the 13th of April, the unit was alerted for deployment to the Far East. In mid-June the advance party flew to Tokyo. The heavy printing presses were shipped to Japan on 4 July 1951. The entire unit started its deployment on 12 July, soon arrived at San Francisco where they boarded the USNS General Brewster on 18 July

An Introduction to Psychological Warfare

Since the United States had not kept up with the concept of psychological warfare since the end of WWII, this small booklet was issued to the troops about 1950 to explain the background of the specialty, the types and duties of units, and the concept of themes such as symbols, emotive words, sociological information, negative propaganda, and dozens more. It had a short introduction to the Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group concept:

The RB & L works at Theater level to wage Military strategic psychological warfare. The reproduction company is a stationary company moving only within Theater headquarters. The three mobile radio platoons can, however, be attached to any combat zone where the need might arise.

On 6 August 1951 the Unit arrived in Japan. Headquarters and the Radio Section were housed in the former Japanese Government Finance building in Tokyo. Their work would be done at the Empire House, about 20 blocks away. The printers were based in the Far East Command Printing and Publication building outside Yokohama. A second complement of unit members left their Fort Riley, Kansas base on 17 September 1951, eventually sailing to Japan on the USS General John Pope.

Major Steve A Fondacaro mentioned the 1st RB&L Group in his 1988 Command and General Staff College Master of Military Art and Science Thesis titled:Strategic Analysis of U.S. Special Operations during the Korean Conflict, 1950-1953. He said in part:

Not until the arrival of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group from Fort Riley in August, 1951, did full-scale strategic operations take place. This unit had the capability for large scale production of newspapers and leaflets, as well as radio broadcasting. It also produced the Voice of the United Nations throughout the conflict.

They went right to work. By August-September 1951 the Group was producing 13 million leaflets a week. By December they were joined by 45 civilians. On 28 February 1952 they printed their first 4-color leaflet. The radio unit had transmitted 25 million words. They had printed 650 million leaflets.

How many propaganda leaflets were printed by U.N. forces during the Korean War? According the Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces Far East, the total number of leaflets disseminated were 2,460,084,000. Yes, that is two billion. This information was listed in: HQ, USAFFE, SUBJECT: Psychological Warfare Activities, 28 June 1950 through 27 July 1953. In the Report on the Psychological Warfare Conducted By the Eighth Army Units in Korea, 25 June 1950 thru 27 July 1953, Air Operations state that they dropped 1, 411,255,700 leaflets so the rest were probably fired by artillery or disseminated by patrols.

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Lieutenant Colonel Homer E. Shields
Veritas, Volume 7, Number 2, 2011

The First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was formed in Ft. Riley Kansas. It was created by Fifth Army General Order #176, April 1951. The first commander was LTC Homer E. Shields, former Chief of Psywar section of the Sixth Army Group, and later executive officer to General McClure, head of the Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). General McClure personally selected Shields for this post.

Klein tells us more about Shields. In 1944 he was appointed Executive Officer of the 7th Army Combat Propaganda Team and served in North Africa, Italy, and Southern France. He was promoted to Chief of the PSYWAR Section of the 6th Army Group. In 1945, he was Executive Officer to General McClure, head of the Psychological Warfare Division at SHAEF.

Coordinating the work of the First RB&L Group was complicated. There was a Headquarters Company in Tokyo where radio programs and leaflet operations were designed and written. There was a printing plant in Yokohama. There were broadcasting stations in Pusan, Taegu and Seoul that required both backup from Tokyo and freedom to carry out individual tasks. Shields managed them all with great efficiency.

Shields was a hand-on type of Commander. When there were problems getting leaflets dropped by the Air Force he went on combat missions in a C-47 and later a B-29 to see how the system could be made more efficient. Both missions ran into trouble and could have ended in his death. In the first mission his plane was struck by lightning, ran into heavy anti-aircraft fire and the wings and propellers started to ice up and the pilot had to do a “touch and go” before he could safely land.

On the B-29 mission his left outside engine died early and they continued the mission with three engines. They were in heavy cloud cover all the way back and did not see the field until they broke through the clouds at 150 feet altitude and saw the field directly in front of them. That mission was nine hours of terror on three engines flying at about half speed. Shields wrote home:

I was back safe and sound, and never again for me. No more combat missions with the air force. Stay on the ground, that’s my motto, but think of those poor guys in the Air Force, they have to do it again and again and again.

Mark R. Jacobson wrote about the Group in his PhD dissertation Minds then hearts: U.S. Political and Psychological Warfare during the Korean War, the Ohio State University, 2005:

Elements of the 1st RB&L first arrived in Korea in June, 1951. In July the soldiers relieved the Psychological Warfare Branch of the Far East Command of its operational functions but the RB&L did not become fully operational until late August 1951. The Army had originally activated the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, was activated at Ft. Riley, Kansas on 7 October, 1950, to serve as the “Psychological Warfare Branch” of a theater headquarters in order to conduct strategic radio and leaflet operations. In other words, the Group would add to a theater’s skeletal PSYWAR staff in order to plan and direct overall PSYWAR efforts and actually conduct the strategic missions.

A Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group, commanded by a Colonel contained about 300 personnel organized into three companies: A Headquarters Company for staff and administration as well as PSYWAR strategy and planning; a Reproduction Company for the development of leaflets, newspapers, and other visual materials; and the heart of the unit, a Mobile Radio Broadcast Company responsible for broadcasting operations. Each of the Mobile Radio Broadcast Companies’ three platoons had a complete mobile transmitter setup that could be attached to theater elements when more powerful, commercial radio stations were not available for use. Not until 1953 did the Army add a Consolidation Company to the organization, recognizing the need to have units that focused specifically on propaganda directed at civilians in rear or occupied areas under military control.

The United Nations forces delivered tactical and strategic leaflets to target audiences by B-29 bombers, a variety of transport aircraft, artillery shell, and even by hand. At times Far East Command with the assistance of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Loudspeaker Group (1st RB&L) distributed more than 20 million leaflets per week. At the same time the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet (1st L&L) Company focused on the development of surrender leaflets for North Korean and Chinese forces and conducted hundreds of loudspeaker broadcasts to harass Communist forces and convince them to desert, malinger, or surrender. By the end of the war about 2.5 billion leaflets had been distributed by air, artillery, and even by hand.

With the coming of the Korean War, General Robert McClure was named Chief, Psychological Warfare Division. McClure had been a Psywar officer in WWII and was the most experienced man for the job. His accomplishments were mentioned in Colonel Alfred H. Paddock’s book U.S. Army Special Warfare - Its Origins.

McClure's primary concern was with FECOM's organization for psychological warfare. He recommended that the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group become the theater operating agency for psychological warfare when it arrived from the United States later in 1951. At this point, in early 1951, the only US psychological warfare unit that the Department of the Army had been able to provide to FECOM was the Tactical Information Detachment, a small unit of a little over 20 personnel. The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group was organized at Fort Riley and shipped to Korea in July 1951.

The 1st RB&L Group was specifically designed to conduct strategic propaganda in direct support of military operations. Strategic propaganda was intended to further long-term strategic aims, and was directed at enemy forces, populations, or enemy-occupied areas. To accomplish these tasks the 1st RB&L Group had the equipment and capability to produce newspapers and leaflets, and to augment or replace other means of broadcasting radio propaganda. The group supervised a radio station network known as the Voice of the United Nations, and often produced more than 200 million propaganda leaflets a week that were disseminated by aircraft or by specially designed artillery shells. The leaflets expressed various themes. Some, for example, offered inducements for enemy soldiers to surrender; others were intended to bolster the morale of Korean civilians by proclaiming U.N. support.

Although the RB&L group was a concept accelerated to meet the requirements of the Korean conflict, it performed functions similar to those deemed necessary to the conduct of psychological warfare in World War II. Both the strategic propaganda concept embodied in the RB&L group and the tactical propaganda idea expressed by the Loudspeaker &Leaflet company were to figure prominently in the psychological warfare.

By April 1952, when the military situation was at a stalemate along the 38th parallel, three different kinds of psychological warfare were underway in Korea. "Strategic" psychological warfare was carried out by the Psychological Warfare Section, General Headquarters, Far East Command, located in Tokyo. The 1st RB&L Group, whose headquarters were also in Tokyo, assisted GHQ FECOM in this endeavor. Leaflet operations blanketed North Korea with the exception of a 40-mile zone due north of the military lines; radio operations covered North and South Korea as well as parts of Manchuria and China. "Tactical" psychological warfare was directed by the Psychological Warfare Division, G-3, of HQ 8th Army, eventually located in Seoul. Assisted by the 1st L&L Company, this division directed leaflet and loudspeaker operations within 40 miles of the military line of contact. "Consolidation" propaganda was carried out by the State Department's US Information Service, based in Pusan. Its printed and visual media operations were confined to that part of Korea under the civil administration of the Republic of Korea government. Radio operations in this area were under the control of field teams of the 1st RB&L Group's Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company.

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Organization of the 1st RB&L Group
Veritas, Volume 7, Number 2, 2011

The Group arrived in Tokyo, Japan, on 6 August 1951. They were headquartered on the 6th floor of Empire House. The enlisted personnel were quartered in the Japanese government Finance Building on B Avenue in the heart of Tokyo. The Officers were billeted in Officer's Clubs around Tokyo. The group consisted of three companies.

USASOC Command Historian Charles H. Briscoe, PhD says in Veritas Vol. 7, No. 2, 2011:

Part of being integrated into the FECOM staff meant the 1st RB&L would grow in size. By 4 October 1951 the Psywar Group had been augmented by forty-five civilians, American, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, in the Empire House and Motor Pool.

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1st RB&L headquarters - The Empire Building
Veritas, Volume 7, Number 2, 2011

Ten Japanese typists, four illustrators, and five drivers were assigned. The Chinese and Korean drawing styles of Liang Ying Min and Kim Kyo Tek proved more believable to Asian audiences than those of the Americans. This influx of civilians was followed shortly by the arrival of the Group Rear Detachment in mid-October—another seven officers and sixty-three men accompanying the organic equipment. Now, the 1st RB&L had the personnel, printing presses, and mobile radio vans to become fully operational.

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Chinese Artist Liang Ying Min at Work

Klein adds that it was believed the Asian illustrators would simply put the finishing touches on the American illustrator’s work. However, the Chinese and Korean artists were so good, and knew the customs of their people so much better than their American counterparts that they often took the lead in the drawing of the leaflets.

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The 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company

Paul Linebarger discusses them in Psychological Warfare, Combat Forces Press, Washington DC, 1954. He says:

The Headquarters and Headquarters Company contained the command, administrative, supervisory and creative personnel necessary for propaganda operations. The 3rd Reproduction Company contained intricate equipment and skilled personnel capable of producing leaflets and newspapers of varying sizes and multiple colors. The 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company was designed to replace or augment other means of broadcasting radio propaganda.

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2LT Eddie Deerfield supervised the pre-recording of President Syngman Rhee’s speeches in Pusan. The bulky tape recorders pictured were also used in the field to collect live interviews and cover significant current events.

VERITAS Vol. 8, No. 1, 2012

Dr. Charles H. Briscoe Mentions this operation in “Radio Pusan - The Voice of South Korea” in VERITAS Vol. 8, No. 1, 2012. I paraphrase his comments for brevity:

The 1st RB&L was tasked with rebuilding KBS (the Korean Broadcasting System) facility in Pusan. The men selected to do that job were to write and broadcast daily news and commentaries on current events. This was critical because the South Korean President, Syngman Rhee, and his government had returned to Pusan. The radio personnel were to build a transmission capability to deliver Psywar beyond the 38th Parallel into North Korea. The team was dedicated to making Radio Seoul into the “Voice of South Korea.” The programs were consistent with overall theater policy based on the best available intelligence. Truthful, accurate news was the backbone of American programming. The Free World proclaimed that its Psywar was based on truth while that from the Communist world was built on lies.

By April 1952, Radio Pusan had a staff of forty-four personnel. By late spring 1953, the original 1st RB&L Group had undergone a 90+ percent turnover in personnel and its organic companies (minus the 4th MRBC in Korea) had become assimilated into the Far East Command Psywar staff and Publications Command. The Far East Command Table of Distribution for the 4th MRBC dated 1 May 1953 reduced the Radio Broadcasting Platoons from three to one and the company headquarters to a third of its 1951 strength. Following the Armistice the mission was radio broadcast sustainment and public information instead of Psywar. By April 1953, the network of fixed KBS stations that originated with Pusan had spread throughout the Republic to Taegu, Seoul, Taejon, Mamwon, and Kangnung.


In 2022, about 10 years after I wrote this article, Dr. Jared M. Tracy, Deputy Command Historian for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command wrote a book titled VICTORY THROUGH INFLUENCE, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, that discussed the history of Psychological Operations in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War. The book mentions the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group and I have cut down a 32-page chapter to just under 700 words and edited for brevity:

The 1st RBL provided senior U.S. and Republic of Korea officials with a vehicle to advance military objectives and promote democratic, anti-Communist ideas. On 16 November 1950. The Army approved the activation of the 1st RB&L Group at Ft. Riley, Kansas. The 1st RB&L had a Headquarters, the 3rd Reproduction Company, and the 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company. Initially thought to be heading for Europe the 1st RB&L learned of its actual destination on 13 April 1951. From May to July, the main body continued preparing for deployment. It received new equipment, such as a Harris 17 x 22-inch press capable of 5,500 impressions an hour. The main body arrived in Japan on 6 August 1951. The group had a three-pronged mission: "conduct strategic propaganda operations in direct support of military operations;" "support the national worldwide propaganda effort;" and "provide operational support, when required to tactical operations in the theater of operations."

The 1st RB&L wrote and printed its first leaflet on 16-17 August. In the first month of operations, the group produced 13,000,000 leaflets a week. On 13 August, the Group assumed responsibility for writing programs for the 10-station Korean Broadcasting System. On 23 January 1952, the Far East Command ordered most of the 4th MRBC from Japan to Korea. Attached to the 4th MRBC were Nationalist Chinese and Korean civilians who helped develop, record, and broadcast Chinese and Korean language programs.

There were several named plans used in Korea, meant to point out certain facts or flaws in the Communist system or tactics. They bore names such as Patriot, United, Mist, Strike, Patriot, Fraud, Goodfellow, etc. Since I have written an article on that subject all the comments on these various special campaigns will be found in that article.

The 86,584,000 leaflets disseminated during the month of August 1952 backed Plans Fraud, Strike, Deadlock, Liberator, Goodfellow and other themes. In September, 95 million leaflets and various printed products promoted the usual plans. Among other campaigns, radio broadcasts supported Plan Parley, which portrayed China as a Russian puppet in light of recent talks between the two nations.

I have not mentioned specific radio broadcasts in this short synopsis because there are far too many to list. However, I will add one paragraph here on just one month's programs.

Radio programs in October backed Plans Fraud, Strike, Deadlock, Parley, Contrast and Hardships of Winter. Chinese language programs that month included Another Winter, They see the Light, Red Sail, and Drain on China. Programs in Korean included The Vital Choice, Divide and Conquer, Who in Korea, The Uninvited, and Two Years of The United Nations Civil Assistance Corps Korea. A Korean tape team visited two prisoner-of-war camps, collecting 161 minutes of audio recording and 11 reels of footage. Out of this came 34 usable cuts highlighting United Nations Humanitarianism, efforts toward peace, agricultural initiatives, good treatment of POWs, as well as Soviet exploitation on other nations and Korean nationalism.

The 1st RB&L disseminated 989,550, 900 leaflets in 1952. On 27 April, launched a major new campaign called Plan Moolah, bolstered by radio broadcasts and the "$100,000 leaflet" in Korean Chinese and Russian. General Clark offered $50,000 to any pilot who turned in his "modern, complete, combat type jet aircraft in flyable condition to UN forces" and a $50,000 bonus to the first person to do so.

Theater PSYWAR elements had produced and disseminated an enormous amount of material between 28 June 1950 and 27 July 1953, including some 2.2 billion leaflets. The ceasefire ended PSYWAR at the front and over North Korea. PSYOP still occurred in UN-controlled areas targeting such audiences as civilians, lingering Communist guerrillas, and prisoners-of-war.

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Former radio sportscaster Yun Chul Sung became the
"Voice of Philosophy" commentator for Radio Pusan.

Yun Chul Sung, a well-known sports commentator, regained his 'star' status shortly after Radio Pusan began broadcasting again. While his English was poor, Sung spoke Korean with a deep, melodious voice. He got the most fan mail.

The 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was involved in regular broadcasting and also broadcast fake bomb warning announcements as part of Plan Hoax for Radio Seoul. Here is an example:

We interrupt this program to bring a special bomb warning to the citizens of Sinchon [a North Korean rail and highway crossroads].

This is URGENT.

United Nations bombers will destroy Communist war supplies, industries, and military targets in your town tonight. I’ll repeat that. United Nations bombers will be over tonight to destroy military targets. Leave Sinchon now. Seek shelter! Get out of the danger area! The United Nations wants to save your life. The UN Air Force seeks only to destroy the war materials of the Communist aggressors. Don’t be destroyed with them! Leave Sinchon now!

The Radio Company had three platoons, each with a complete mobile transmitter that could be attached to more powerful theater elements. In 1953, a Consolidation Company was added to the group when it became clear that there was a need to prepare propaganda specifically aimed at civilians in the rear or in occupied areas under Allied control.

Charles H. Briscoe writes about the Group in Veritas, Volume 7, No. 1, 2011. He says that the Headquarters Company was based in Tokyo, Japan, with the strength of 19 officers, three warrant officers and 111 enlisted personnel.

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A Four-Color Experiment by the 3rd Reproduction Company

U.S. Army Private Charles R. Gaush was a photo-lithographer assigned to the 3rd Reproduction Company, 8239th Army Unit, 1st Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Group. He was deployed to Japan in early 1953. He told me about a very difficult printing job his unit did producing a four-color leaflet for Korea. He said:

We did a 5.5 x 8.5-inch job which included a four-color printing from a painting done at HQ in Tokyo. The Harris LTV is a single-color press, so if you want two or more colors, you have to run the sheets as many times as you have colors. My point is that our unit was not equipped to do four-color halftones both because of the difficult photolithography and the printing. However, we had a very smart Section Chief named Master Sergeant William E Stewart and he was anxious to try running it through four times in perfect alignment. We did it and the leaflet turned out perfect and was disseminated. Another problem we had with printing multicolored leaflets was due to the rapid humidity changes which varied the size of the sheets between colors. It was very difficult to keep the image in register. Sometimes it would be a week or so before the pressmen could get to the next color. We managed to turn those leaflets out because of our dedicated men and leaders.

Decades after I first spoke to the now Dr. Gaush, he wrote again to tell me about some mistakes that had been made. These are common when there is a rush to get a leaflet out for some tactical reason and the text and image is not studied in detail. He said:

One was a leaflet that depicted a hungry Korean girl holding an empty rice bowl. The leaflet was printed and distributed which resulted in a flurry of objections. The bowl was drawn by a Japanese artist who inadvertently drew a Japanese bowl instead of a Korean bowl which is different, further alienating the Koreans against the Japanese.  As it was explained to me, the Japanese bowls have a flat bottom while the Korean bowls have a round bottom.

Another incident was a 16 x 20" poster drawn after the war for instructing the population on how to obtain potable water. The copy came to the camera section, and I refused to shoot it since the copy contained the word "portable" water. I informed my non-com superiors and the commander about the error, but they were skeptical. They asked me if I would talk to HQ about it and I said yes. The result was that the copy was withdrawn and returned with the corrections.

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Far East Command PSYWAR Section
Veritas, Volume 7, Number 2, 2011

The Printing of leaflets was the responsibility of the 3rd Reproduction Company of the 1st RB&L Group. Leaflets were prepared at the Far East Command Printing and Publication Center outside Yokohama near a railroad station called "Motosumiyoshi." About 250 Americans and 900 Japanese civilian employees worked in the Center. After the leaflets were printed and cut they were rolled and placed inside leaflet bombs by the 3rd Reproduction Company troops. They were then delivered to Tachikawa air base to the planes that dropped them on the Chinese or North Korean troops. From August to September 1951 the Group produced about 13 million leaflets a week. By December 1951 the 50-millionth leaflet was produced. Meanwhile, in Korea, the leaflet missions were planned and organized by the Operations Officer, Kimpo Air Base, Seoul. Its strength was three officers and 54 enlisted personnel. They were tasked with leaflet production and were authorized cameras, lithographic plates, printing presses and the use of USAF aircraft to include C-47s, C-46s, B-26s and B-29s.

Dr. Charles H. Briscoe mentions the 3rd Reproduction Company in an article titled “HARRIS PRESSES & PSYWAR LEAFLETS - The 3rd Reproduction Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Group, 1951-1953” in Veritas, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2011:

By early September 1951, the 3rd Reproduction Company was handling the entire G-2 Psywar mission by itself… 28 December 1951 was an auspicious day for G-2 Psywar when the billionth leaflet was dropped in Korea. It marked eighteen months of Psywar leaflet activity that began 27 June 1950. However, since its arrival on 6 August 1951, the 1st RB&L had written, illustrated, and produced 50 percent of that total. More significantly, over two hundred different leaflets had been prepared by the “Ganders.” Included was a stepped-up effort to explain UN humanitarian assistance to the Korean people that began on 1 December 1951. A hundred million simple leaflets in four colors, barely calling card size, had “plugged the UN as the guardian of world peace” for fourteen days. Another “full court press” raised the weekly leaflet “high score” to 65,907,000 dropped between 26 December 1951 and 1 January 1952.

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3rd Repro offset print men working in the Far East Command Print & Publications Center
produce 1st RB&L propaganda leaflets on Webendorfer Offset Lithographic 11 x 22 inch presses.

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A 3rd Repro pressman operates a Harris LTV press at the Motosumiyoshi facility, April 1952.
(Photo courtesy of Veritas magazine)

In mid-January 1952, the 3rd Reproduction Company was attached to the 8234th AU, the new designation for the Far East Command Print & Publications Center. The 1st RB&L became the 8239th AU.

Klein talks about the Reproduction Company:

Counting the men in 3rd Repro and the staff of the center, there were about 250 or so American military and civilian personnel and about 900 Japanese employees. The artwork and finished product was done by the guys in Tokyo and then sent to 3rd Repro for reproduction and distribution. After the leaflets were printed and cut they would be assembled in rolls to fit on shelves in a cylinder-shaped bomb. Third Repro men would load the bombs on a vehicle and deliver them to Tachikawa Airbase.

First Lieutenant Marvin R. Warshaw (Ret.) was the wartime commander of the Leaflet Company of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. He said:

Fort Riley at the time was headquarters for the Adjutant General’s Publishing and Printing Department. I recruited a staff for my printing company by going to the department, and offering promotions to anyone applying for transfer to my outfit.

As commanding officer of the printing company, I worked with a civilian from a printing press making company; together he and I designed a mobile printing press, sitting on a steel bed that could be jacked up and leveled in the field.

I asked a B-29 squadron leader for permission to modify an empty 500 pound finned bomb casing by cutting the casing in half vertically, and having five shelves welded into half of the casing, so that when the casing was closed and held together by a proximity fuse, the shelves each covered the entire interior diameter of the casing. We used these bombs by inserting what we called “leaflet pies” curled up and held together by a piece of string.

The Fourth Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company was based in Tokyo, Pusan and Seoul. It consisted of 16 officers and 99 enlisted personnel. It was authorized various mobile radio broadcasting systems to transmit Psywar messages in the field in a variety of languages and dialects.

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A Korean Worker loads a Leaflet Artillery Shell for his American Allies

Alfred H. Paddock Jr., lists the duties in greater detail in U.S. Army Special Warfare, University Press of Kansas, 2002:

The 1st RB&L Group was specifically designed to conduct strategic propaganda in direct support of military operations. Directed at enemy forces, populations, or enemy-occupied areas, strategic propaganda was intended to further long-term aims. The Group supervised a radio station network known as the Voice of the United Nations and often produced more than 200 million leaflets a week disseminated by aircraft or by specially designed artillery shells.

Putting the 1st RB&L together was no easy task. Paddock mentions a letter to the harried commander of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, being readied at Fort Riley for deployment to the Far East, that vividly depicts the situation:

In order that you will be better able to appreciate the personnel problems facing us here, I would like to give you a little indication of our immediate requirements for officers. We must find 39 officers for your Group, 24 officers for a student body for the first unit officers' course in the Psychological Warfare School, 14 officers for the Staff and Faculty of the Psychological Warfare School, 5 officers for the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, 8 officers for the 5th Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, which is to be activated in the near future, and approximately 20 additional officers for this office. That totals 109 officers needed in the immediate future and there are additional miscellaneous slots to be filled. To meet this requirement, we have so far requested approximately 100 officers. We are finding that we get only fifty percent of those we request. Those now being requested will not be available at the earliest until late April or May. However, we hope to have enough available by Mid-April to provide a minimum staff for the units at Riley, a minimum staff for the school, and a small student body for the first unit officers' course.

The spring 2002 issue of Eye Magazine featured an article titled “Graphic Leaflets Rained Down from the Sky. It said in part:

The goal of this psychological effort during the Korean conflict by the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was threefold: to avoid extensive civilian casualties; to leave doubts about the enemy’s ultimate motives; and to encourage defections from the military and militia ranks. Towards this aim, the graphic design was unambiguous and utilitarian. Some flyers with maps highlighted target areas along roads and railway routes, while others showed destroyed facilities under dire headlines such as “You Were Warned.” Although raining leaflets may have been less lethal than raining bombs, it was no less frightening to realize that the United Nations’ air attacks were inevitable.

Fear was a principal weapon, and every avenue into the psyche was exploited. For example, one graphic leaflet, printed in red and black and showing a photograph of four Chinese soldiers with an X striking out one of them, announces a “secret plan” to eliminate 100 million Chinese. “Will you be one of those sacrificed? One out of every four is to be killed!” The text explains that famine will take these lives because the Chinese Communists are refusing American food aid.

Comic strips were employed in addition to written warnings. Some illustrated the injustices perpetrated by Communist occupiers. Others were simple instructions on how to surrender to UN troops, who would distribute food and administer medicine. In one leaflet, directed at North Korean forces, a cartoon shows soldiers discussing a UN Safe Conduct Pass, then destroying their rifles and walking towards the nearest UN Forces Headquarters by the open road with upraised hands. Another leaflet informs the North Korean soldiers that they are merely clearing a path for Chinese Communist troops, and are thus being placed in greater danger than their Chinese allies.

The safe conduct passes, issued in 1951, printed in Korean and English; provide instructions to UN soldiers as to the good treatment guaranteed to any soldier who ceases fighting. Another “Good Treatment” leaflet further promises warm clothing and cigarettes for all. And “you will all be given the opportunity for health-restoring recreation.” It is not clear how many hearts and minds these leaflets affected, but it was an inexpensive way to make tactical profit.

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Two graphic artists of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Radio Group
draw leaflets in Tokyo, 1951 National Archives

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The “Text Section” compiled the text used on leaflets
prepared by the 1st Radio Broadcast and Leaflet Group
National Archives Photo

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The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group Symbol

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1st Radio Broadcast and Leaflet Group Korean War Christmas card

Every PSYOP unit has a printing section they can print such items as calendars, stationery pads, menus and of course, Christmas cards. This Christmas card from the main American PSYOP unit in Korea features their mascot “the Proper Gander” on the front. The gander is in front of a microphone, representing the “Radio Broadcasting” section and surrounded by falling paper representing the leaflet section. Inside the card here were four little Korean dolls, three women and one a goose in Korean garb. The text on the inside was:

We’ve thought and thought and thought of how to make you surrender. We’ve tried it in Chinese and we’ve tried it in Korean; but every time we come out with…MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Veritas adds:

"Proper Gander" was featured on 1st RB&L Christmas cards designed by the Graphics Section. They sold for a piddling 3.5 cents when beer cost a nickel and a high ball sold for a quarter in Japan. A Christmas card was an easy way to claim credit for writing home.

Psychological Warfare

The United States Army produced a classified propaganda film about their PSYWAR forces in the Korean War titled Psychological Warfare - A Combat Weapon in Korea. The entire film was shot by the 1st RB&L and depicted their men at work. We show a scene above from the movie where the unit is actually named.

The Central Printing Plant near Tokyo

Boards Showing those Leaflets Prepared for Various Campaigns


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Charles Scalion in Korea – 1951

The majority of the leaflets we will depict in this article are the personal collection of Charles Scalion. I have added some leaflets from my own collection to give a more rounded view of the work of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. On 27 September 1923, Scalion enlisted in the U.S. Army in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By 1941 he was a staff sergeant. In 1942 he served as a Recruiting and Enlistment Officer in Baltimore, where he administered the oath to all enlistees. On 3 July 1947, he was promoted to major. He resigned his commission after WWII. During the Korean War, Scalion reenlisted as a Master Sergeant. Scalion was assigned to the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, where he worked as a printer for propaganda to be dropped behind enemy lines as a part of psychological warfare. His oldest son, Charles A. Scalion, also served in the Korean War as a member of the United States Air Force.

I was sent these leaflets by Mrs. Amie Dryer, a teacher at Calvert High School in Calvert County, Maryland. She asked me to credit Mr. Jim Scalion (the son of Major Charles Scalion), for providing artifacts, conversation, emails, and sharing his father’s story.

My intention is to select about two dozen leaflets that display a good mix of themes, images and color to show the scope of the propaganda printed by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. Remember that the U.S. Army was starting from scratch and learning as it went along. The Group was very imaginative and produced a great number of really interesting and colorful leaflets.

In the July-August 2002 issue of The Greybeards, the official publication of the Korean War Veterans Association, Lieutenant Eddie Deerfield (retired) says:

But what of the prime target—the Red soldier fording the Yalu ... marching down Korea’s tortured roads ... holed up in a hillside along the Imjin? He has no radio, and even if he did he would be severely punished for listening to such capitalist heresy. The United Nations other kind of air war hits him too—with leaflets. Exhorting him to surrender; telling him and the local populace about the free world beyond the Iron Curtain; warning against the minions of Moscow; and driving home some 70 other themes— the UN has blanketed his path from Manchuria to the foxholes with more than one and one-half billion leaflets!

During an average week, Japan-based bombers drop 5,000,000 leaflets in rear areas near the Chinese border, reminding the newly arrived “volunteer” of the traditional US-Chinese friendship, explaining the United Nations organization and playing on relatively mild themes in the same vein. But as he moves south, the leaflets increase in both intensity and language. By the time he reaches the front, he is all but smothered by a deluge of paper proclaiming the falsity of the Russian peace proposals, warning of skull-duggery among Communist masters, pounding away at homesickness and always urging surrender. More than 15,000,000 such front-line messages flutter down each week.

In addition, leaflets are stuffed into artillery shells and fired across the lines at pin-point targets. If a division Commander needs a leaflet in a hurry, he’s likely to call Eighth Army’s small but prolific printing plant. The real long-range results of Uncle Sam’s war of ideas are intangible. They can’t be run up on an adding machine or drawn on a chart. They defy measurement.

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Leaflet 1064

This 1951 threatening leaflet depicts a lone North Korean soldier facing tanks and what appears to be F-86 Sabrejet fighters, their air scoops enlarged to appear like giant hungry mouths. The same leaflet was printed in Chinese and coded 7049. The text on the front is in the form of a question:

Now! The Choice is Yours! Life or Death?

The text on the back is:

North Korean Officers and Men

You have been committed to a suicidal attack by your Communist leaders. You have the opportunity to come over to the UN side. The choice is yours, Life or Death?

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Leaflet 1070

I like this 1951 leaflet because it is very Biblical, using the “Prodigal Son” as is theme. The title of this leaflet is, “Good Treatment for North Korean Party members. On one side, the prodigal son returns home, perhaps from the Army, and is greeted by his family. On the other side, a Korean Communist officer surrenders to the United Nations holding a safe conduct pass and is treated like a son returning home.  This leaflet was also printed in a Chinese language version coded 7055. The text on the front is:

A good father does not discriminate between his sons. A troubled and defeated son is always welcome in the house of his father.

The text on the back is:

United Nations Forces do not discriminate against the North Korean soldiers who come to the U. N. side.

Whether you are a Communist Party member or an ordinary soldier, you can expect the same treatment promised by the United Nations.

Leaflet 1073

A North Korean officer looks down at dead and wounded soldiers to his right, and soldiers being treated by a medic at his left. This leaflet was also printed in Chinese coded 7058. The text is:

North Korean soldiers to the hopeless pit of war?

North Korean soldiers to the safe United Nations side?

The back of the leaflet depicts North Korean surrendering holding safe conduct passes. The text says in part:

The good officer's first responsibility is to his men.

The real commanders know that if the war is difficult for them and there are great dangers for their soldiers the wisest thing for them to do is surrender. Continuing this war for the Communists only brings death to you and your subordinates. The wisest North Korean commanders are continuously coming over to the United Nations side with their units. The U.N. forces guarantee equal treatment to all North Korean soldiers. Your subordinates are waiting for you wise leadership.



Leaflet 1077

The front of this leaflet depicts a starving North Korean soldier, the center shows North Korean soldiers being killed by rifles, tanks, and F-80 fighters, and at the right a soldier is walking dejectedly. The official data sheet for this leaflet states that the title is "Three Choices." It is aimed at the North Korean Army and depicts starvation, shell fire and exhaustion. There is a Chinese-language Companion Chinese leaflet coded 7064. The text is:

There are just three things the Communists can give to the soldiers of North Korea:

Starvation - Bombardment - Tiredness

At the bottom there is a skull and the word:


The back of the leaflet depicts a Ridgway safe conduct pass along with a vignette of Communist soldiers walking toward a U.N. Tent that is shown to be well stocked with medical goods. The text on the back is:

But the U.N. soldiers offer you another way!
Life - Good food - Security - Good treatment

Follow the thousands of your comrades who came to the
U.N. side for an honorable surrender!

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Leaflet 1078

This July 1951 leaflet targets North Korean soldiers and depicts a mass of them dead on the battlefield. The title of this leaflet is Mass Casualties.

The text on front is:

A Mountain of North Korean Dead

To Your Communist Leaders Your Lives Have No More Value Than Sandbags.

The text on back is:

The total Communist Troop Casualties to date are 1,060,526. Don’t let your name become a number on this casualty list tomorrow. The reverse side of the leaflet contains Communist Killed-in-Action figures for one week in May 1951. During that seven-day period Communist soldiers were killed at an average of 10,172 per day for a cumulative total of 1,060,526 dead since the war’s beginning in June 1950.

Leaflet 1094

Map of Korea showing depicting a Communist hand trying to cut it into two pieces. United Nations ships and bombers are in the North and tanks are crossing the 38th Parallel. There is a Chinese version of this leaflet coded 7075. The leaflet is called "Demilitarized zone," and points out that the Communists want to make the 38th parallel the border again although UN forces are 20 to 30 miles north of that line. The text on the front is:

The Communists claim that the 38th parallel is the border while prolonging the war

The current front line is 20 to 30 miles deeper into the north well over the 38th parallel

Text in the back says in part:

The battleground is about 20 to 30 miles north of the 38th parallel. The Air and naval fronts are up to the Yellow River. United Nations soldiers are trying to establish a buffer zone along the current frontline to finish the war. The Communist leaders want to extend their front line to the 38th parallel which was the symbol of Korean division for the past 5 years. What reason can there be to continue the suffering and the bleeding for a few more miles of ground? Demand a ceasefire to this useless war...

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Leaflet 1095

Surrender leaflets are among the most popular of all the propaganda leaflets. This 1951 leaflet is in the form of a four panel cartoon, telling the enemy the way to come over to the South Koreans and Americans. There is a Safe conduct pass on back along with the instructions: Follow the picture instructions on the reverse side to insure safe arrival behind UN lines. Food, medical care and good treatment await you. This same leaflet was printed in the Chinese language coded 7076. The title of the leaflet is Methods of Surrender.

At the top right panel a North Koran soldier reads a U.N. safe conduct pass.

The second panel at bottom right shows a North Korean soldier destroying his rifle and the text: Destroy or Bury Your Weapons. Come Over the Open Roads Only.

The top left panel depicts a North Korean soldier surrendering while another helps a wounded comrade and the text: Hold Your Hands High over Your Head. Bring Your Wounded Brothers with You.

The bottom left panel depicts the three POWs living happily in a warm room and the text:

You will receive food, medical treatment and humane treatment.

Leaflet 1103

North and South Korean soldiers shake hands under Dangun, the legendary founder of Korea. The leaflet mentions reunion and unification. The text on the front is:

One Father - One blood - One race!

There is a long message on the back that says in part.

One Father - One blood - One race!

To those South Korean soldiers who unavoidably joined the Communist forces:

No Korean will ever forget the first lesson when they learned the history of their Fatherland. That is, they were united with the blood of the Dangun founding father and should live together in love and friendship. Today the Korean people must be united more than any other time in Korean history. It is the fervent desire of all faithful Koreans. Several thousand former South Korean soldiers who unavoidably joined the Communists have left their ranks and returned to the Republic of Korea in the past few weeks. Your former comrades and the United Nations soldiers want you to promptly return to the Republic

Author's note: Dangun is traditionally credited with creating the entire Korean race and ruling over the kingdom of Gojoseon, ancient Korea's first proper state, which was founded in 2333 BCE. He is said to be the "grandson of heaven" and the "son of a bear." As the North Korean Army moved up and down the peninsula, many south Koreans were coerced to join the Communists, and some might have been convinced they would win and be the wave of the future. In this leaflet, those soldiers are invited to return to the Republic of Korea side. Notice that there is no bad feeling and no loss of face or betrayal. Their joining the enemy was simply "unavoidable."

Leaflet 1106

In this nostalgic leaflet, a lone North Korean soldier stares at harvest moon and sees his home and family. The autumn festival occurs on August 15 of the lunar calendar. The short message on the back is:

While the autumn festival is near, home is far away

Leaflet 1110

In this 27 September 1951 leaflet a Freezing North Korean soldier visualizes food, heat, and medical care. This leaflet was printed by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group on 27 September 1951. This is the Korean version; a Chinese version is coded 7000. The text on the front is:

Will help come?

The text on the back says in part:

If you are wounded in action or grow seriously ill this winter, what will happen to you?

Must we fight again this winter? Communist soldiers must fight once again in the severe cold of winter because their leaders are delaying the armistice talks. Therefore, thousands of Communist soldiers will die by air raids, the bombardments of the United Nations, and the lack of food. Who is the cause all this? Is this for Korea? No, this is for the Soviet Union's selfish political ambition. Soldiers, you are fighting for this reason.

Leaflet 1114

In this 30 October 1951 leaflet a Korean woman and baby look up from the rubble at an uncaring Chinese soldier. The theme is "the Chinese colonization of Korea." This leaflet was printed by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group on 30 October 1951. The text on the front is:

Korea: A Chinese Colony or a Free Nation?

The text on the back is:

To make Korea a Chinese colony - Is this the present aim of the Chinese Communists, just as it has been China's aim for a great many years?

Ask yourself these questions: Since Red China has interfered in the Korean War, why does she insist on holding this dominant position in the military operations? Since the Chinese Communist Army has come to Korea, why does she insist upon secretly controlling the Korean Communist government? And why does Red China insist on secretly directing the peace talks instead of allowing Korea to decide its own future? The attacks to these questions point to only one conclusion: The Communist are preparing Korea to become China's slave state - an age-old dream.


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Leaflet 1115

This 13 December 1951 leaflet depicts a Korean woman and her children kneeling in the snow. She has an empty food bowl and clearly she and her children are starving. This leaflet was part of Plan Deadline, an attempt to get the stalled peace discussion started again. The text on the front is:


The text on the back is:

Now that winter is here what will happen to this homeless woman and her children?


Because Communist officials continue to stall at the peace talks they force thousands of innocent Korean women and children to face death this winter.


Leaflet 1119

The 9 October 1951 surrender appeal was also printed in Chinese and coded 7100. It was common for the same leaflet to be printed with a low code number in Korean and a high code number in Chinese. The front of this leaflet depicts a band of Korean soldier surrendering.  The back depicts many soldiers in a prisoner-of-war camp. The text on the front is:

A unit of Korean Communist soldiers, led by their officer, crosses over to UN lines

Here's news for you soldier! Recently, entire squads and platoons of the North Korean Army, led by their officers, have crossed over the United Nations lines where they now enjoy life away from this war. Why wait? Tomorrow you may not be alive to think this over.

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Leaflet 1120

This 22 October 1951 leaflet is in honor of United Nations Day. It depicts masses of Korean people around a United Nations flag. This leaflet was also printed in Chinese coded 7101. The text on the back is:

Over the world, United Nations day is being celebrated with great rejoicing, for its noble principles were born out of the hearts and minds of freedom loving men.

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Leaflet 1123

The 24 November 1951 leaflet is in the form of a bomb warning. The front depicts bombs falling on a munitions factory. The back shows Allied propaganda leaflets being suppressed by North Korean Security Forces while civilians are forced to work at gunpoint. The text on the front is:



The text on the back says in part:



Although it must destroy communist militants and their installations, the United Nations Command seeks to keep civilians from harm. Many warnings are given to civilians to warn them.

Stay away from military factories
Stay away from airfields
Stay away from entrenchments
Stay away from soldiers
Stay off railroads
Stay off main highways and crossroads…

Leaflet 1130

This 4 December 1951 leaflet depicts a bunch of North Korean officers looking at a map of Korea while surrounded by the bodies of their dead troops. The title of this leaflet is: Battle Line Casualties “Needless Death” Some of the text on the front and back of this leaflet is:

Four months delay – 72,275 killed or wounded Korean soldiers.

Over the last four months of delay, while the Communist officials recklessly stalled, 72,275 Korean soldiers were needlessly killed or wounded. This is equal to more than 250 of your full-strength infantry companies.

The reverse of this leaflet explains that in a meeting between UN and Communist forces in July 1951, the UN delegation proposed a cease-fire line. The Communist delegation refused to commit, arguing that it needed approval from Moscow (which it did not receive until November 1951 with tens of thousands more NKPA soldiers being killed in the meantime). This leaflet was intended to shake NKPA soldiers’ confidence in their leadership, make them realize that their fate is being determined by Moscow, and to make them believe in the futility of continuing the conflict.

Leaflet 1131

This 4 December 1951 leaflet depicts unified Koreans marching through Seoul's Independence Gate. The text on the front is:

Independence Gate

The gateway to free and unified and independent Korea.

The text on the back says in part:

Free elections or Communist elections?

Most of the Korean people want to build a democratic Korea. To do this, they need to democratically elect their leaders. In the Republic of Korea, you can vote freely for the candidate you favor among many candidates. In fact, the people can elect whoever they want.

In North Korea, you can only vote yes or no for the one candidate who was appointed by the Communists. In fact, a few communists elect themselves. This kind of communist election system leads to suffering, an authoritarian dictatorship and war. Free elections bring freedom, peace, and true democracy. The free elections in the Republic of Korea is one of the points favored by the United Nations.

The communist can only bring dictatorship and authoritarianism to Korea. Through democracy, Korea can be built as an independent, free, and unified nation!

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Leaflet 1136A

The letter “A” attached to the code of this leaflet is interesting. It means it is an alternate version, usually this would indicate a minor change in text, a correction, or a second printing, though that would usually be signified with a “R.” In this case we know that the original 1136 was dated 12 December 1951. This alternate version above is dated 6 February 1952. The leaflet is a morale leaflet intended to depress the soldiers and remind them of their family at home. Its official title was: “Think of your family.” It depicts four female members of a North Korean family. This was part of a UN campaign called: “Plan Deadline” that claimed the communists were stalling at the peace table and troops were dying for nothing. A very short message on the back blames the Soviet Union for the continuance of the war. On the front, the daughter asks:

Where’s Daddy?

Leaflet 1152

This 9 February 1952 leaflet tells the enemy that under Communist rule they will never own their own farm. On the front, the North Korean soldier imagines the farm he dreams to own someday. On the back the same slogan is repeated over and over, "Communism has reduced farmers to slavery!"

The text on the front is:

Korean Soldier:

The fallacy of the Communist land reform becomes more evident each day. Under Communist dictatorship the Korean farmer can never hope to become a real landowner. (Chinese farmers already know this). In place of your old landlords are new greedier ones, the Communists. When they give you land, it is only a paper arrangement, because the Communists confiscate all but a small portion of farmer's crops. And this portion reduces the farmer's family to starvation! The so-called Communist land reform succeeds only in making farmers slaves.

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Leaflet 1159

This is a handsome leaflet showing people from all the various Armies helping the Republic of Korea looking at a map of the world while their flags wave in the background. They are united in peace. The back has the flag of the United Nations and text. The leaflet is dated 16 February 1952. It is titled “The Nature of the United Nations” and explains the might of the United Nations forces. The text on the front is:

The United Nations – Protectors of Peace

Some of the long message on the back is:

The United Nations is friendly toward all democratic and peaceful nations – until a government resorts to force and bloodshed to overpower a neighbor nation. When this happens, the United Nations defends that nation against aggression. That is why the United Nations fights in Korea today, and will continue to fight until the oppression and bloodshed caused by the Communists are stopped…

The text goes on the mention all of the nations fighting to protect the Republic of Korea.

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Leaflet 1163*

The front of this leaflet depicts a six-panel cartoon showing North Korean soldiers finding a leaflet and deciding to defect to the United Nations. This is one of several leaflet found in a bright orange that would stand out in the field or on the snow and with the title Story of an Escape. This is story number 2 dated 20 March 1952. It has an asterisk in the code number that indicates it was requested by the U.S. Eighth Army. The text on the front is:


Look, United Nations leaflets. This is a letter from former soldiers of the North Korean 45th Division.

What they say is true. I have wanted to go over to the UN lines for some time now. This letter convinces me. Are you with me?

By leaving at night we will not be seen.

Now that we are near the UN lines we will hide here until morning and then bury our weapons.

See, I told you we would make it safely.

The back of the leaflet is the letter sent from former members of the 45th North Korean Division.

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Leaflet 1179

This 9 April 1952 leaflet depicts a Communist thug-like soldier moving forward with an entire town burning behind him. The leaflet was part of Plan Fraud. Plan Fraud was designed to convince the target audience that Soviet control of Korea is the aim of the North Korean leaders and that the alleged reforms in China are not real and that the Chinese Communists have deprived people of their individual freedoms. The campaign ran from April 1952 to June 1952. The text on front is:

Communist Aggression Writes the Korean Tragedy

The text on back is:

Communism – Divide by Hate, Conquer by Force. Oppose Communism, Resist Russia!

Leaflet 1181

This 16 April 1952 leaflet depicts Communists at banquet on the left, and a poor Korean family with one bowl of rice on the right. The title is "Corruption in North Korea." The leaflet targets both North Korean soldiers and civilians. It was part of Plan Fraud. The text on the front is:

Communist officials feast – while the people live in poverty.

This leaflet shows the "credibility gap" between Communist promises and reality—leaders enjoy lavish lifestyles while common people starve and live in poverty.

Leaflet 1182

This rather bland leaflet bears a small image of a Korean worker being watched by Communist guards on the front and back. There is a great amount of text on the front and back and the theme is "Fallacious Reforms," implying that all the Communist reforms are just means to lower the living standard of the people. The text is far too long to translate, so I will just add a few pertinent lines from the front page:


The Communists have deceived the North Korean people through so-called "reforms." The Communists promised the laborer an 8-hour day. They also promised him a share of the profits of his factory, paid vacations, and medical care. They told the farmer that he would own his own land, that he would no longer have to pay rent and high taxes. But the Communists betrayed both the laborer and the farmer.

How the Communists Betrayed the Laborer

The promise of an 8-hour day has not been kept. The laborer must work many extra hours to meet the production quotas set by the Communists. He must also contribute many hours of so called patriotic labor. All the while, he is near starvation. The Communists share the profits of industry in North Korea only among themselves, and the Communist leaders are the only ones who can take advantage of the paid vacations...

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Leaflet 1189

This 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group leaflet dated 17 June 1952 depicts a North Korean soldier being strangled by a Communist snake. It claims that the USSR wants to control North Korea. Some of the text is:


The Korean Communists deceive you when they say they want a free, united, independent Korea. They are really attempting to make all Korea a slave state of Soviet Russia by force. This is what they mean by “unification.” Korean communists, obediently following instructions from their Russian masters, obstructed every prewar effort of the Republic of Korea and the United Nations to unify Korea by peaceful means. On 25 June 1950, the North Korean army attacked the Republic of Korea beginning a war that for two years has brought nothing but destruction, suffering and death…

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Leaflet 1207

The theme that the Communists will exploit all of Korea for their own purposes is shown in the leaflet from the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group dated 6 August 1952. The leaflet depicts Mao Tse Tung hoarding all of Korea's industry while Kim Il Sung acts as his puppet. The text on the front of the leaflet states:

Warriors of the North Korean People’s Army

Do you know the Puppet Kim Il Sung has sold your beloved country to the Chinese?

The text on the back of the leaflet says in part:

Brave North Korean Soldiers

Do you know that the hated Chinese now control all of North Korea’s government, industry, railroads, economy and people? Nearly 700,000 Chinese soldiers now occupy your beloved country. Your families are filled with misery, terror and poverty. Has the CCF brought you victory? Or has it brought suffering, death and enslavement? What is the future of the North Korean people who now live under the brutal heel of the CCF? Soldiers, beware of your real enemy the CCF! Korea is for the Koreans!

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Leaflet 1217

This leaflet depicts Mao standing with a rifle as chained and enslaved Koreans walk past. It is intended to undermine Communist alliances by playing on Koreans’ historic fears of foreign imperialism. The text on the front is:


The text on the back is:

The Chinese Army is enslaving Korea in the good name of Korean aid. Red China is driving you to death with the so-called “Aid.”

Leaflet 1242

This 1 December 1952 leaflet uses a very familiar theme of Russian leader Stalin smiling as Chinese leader Mao whips the poor North Korean leader Kim Il-sung as he pulls a plow in the form of a hammer and sickle. The United Nations hoped to divide the enemy by having them at each other’s throats. The text on the front is:

Korean Ox, Chinese Servant, Russian Master!

The back is all text:

The dumb ox Kin II-sung plows up your land for master Stalin, as good servant Mao Tse-tung plies the whip.

Just as a farmer never lets his ox decide where to plow, so Stalin never asks Kim Il- sung’s advice. Recently Stalin called his Chinese servants to Moscow to talk about Korea. Of course, he invited no Korean to come along. Chinese servants brought messages back from Stalin: Koreans will keep on fighting; Koreans will keep on dying.

True Koreans are ashamed to have a dumb ox as their leader.

Resist the Dumb Ox, Kim Il Sung.

Fight Communism!

Leaflet 1244

The 19 November 1952 leaflet's theme was "Communism drive the weary." The front depicts Korean farmers on a work detail. The back shows the weary workers being forced to attend a political meeting late at night instead of being allowed to sleep. This leaflet was part of the Named Plan PW 52/19. The text on the front is:

Farmers of Hwang Hae-do!

When you work on labor details you help the Communists prolong the war.

Be crafty and avoid labor details.

The text on the back is:

Farmers of Hwang Hae-do!

How can you work all day when you are forced to attend long senseless meetings at night?

Be crafty. Pretend sickness. Avoid political meetings

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Leaflet 1245

The RB&L Group was not afraid of showing very violent scenes. Some of their images are quite shocking. This leaflet depicts a snake wearing a North Korean Army cap squeezing a civilian on the front and a 3-panel cartoon of Communist troops taking all the food from a farmer on the back. It was printed on 18 November 1952 in the Korean language. It targets the farmers of Hwang Hao Do. It was part of the Psywar campaign named PW 52/19. The back depicts a North Korean tax collector collecting “voluntary contributions,” and an empty handed North Korean farmer. The same image was printed just a few days earlier as 1243. The text on the front is:


The text on the back is:

Official Tax
Volunteer Donations
Agricultural instructors – Propagandists – Self-defense squad
Cell chairman – Appraisal committee and People’s committee.
Farmer’s Reward
He gets a “Hero” certificate. Farmers of Hwang Hao
Do, don’t work for the Communists! Hide your grain!

Leaflet 1261

Leaflet 1261 is dated 29 September 1952 and is based on a Time Magazine cover of 6 October 1952, but Kim Il Sung has replaced that of Malenkov, a politician who briefly was the Premier of the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin. Stalin holds Kim on his lap like a ventriloquists’ dummy. The purpose was to show that Kim was just another flunky of the Soviet dictator. The text is:

This is my faithful servant Kim Il Sung. He serves only Russia.

The back of the leaflet has four paragraphs of Kim and Stalin having a conversation. The text is:

Kim: Master Stalin, I serve you well. I gave you control of Chongjin, Lajin and Unagi. I also sent industrial facilities and raw materials to Russia. I let you control North Korea. I refused to let my subjects vote in the free United Nations election for an independence and united Government of Korea. I kept them enslaved to Russia, while the Republic of Korea became independent.

Kim: Master, I also started the aggressive war you plotted by attacking the Republic of Korea. Since 1950 I have sacrificed thousands of Korean lives. I refused to accept peace at your command. All this was according to your orders.

Stalin: Don’t talk of the past. I don’t care about your past actions. What can you do for me in the future, servant Kim?

Kim: For making me what I am, I will serve you faithfully in the future. Your wish will be my command, Master Stalin.

Leaflet 1263

The 13 January 1953 leaflet commemorates the 5th anniversary of the North Korean Army. The front depicts a miserable North Korean soldier in front of his wounded comrades, while the back depicts young and old North Korean soldiers. The text was written by a Korean advisor. The text on the front is:

This is the North Korean Army after Five Years!

The Army that denies Freedom will Perish!

The back text says in part:


The North Korean Army was born to carry aggression to the Republic of Korea to the sound of the Russian flute. Now, on its fifth anniversary, that army is a band of ghosts. The Communist's war has caused over 500,000 of Korea's finest young men to fall as battle casualties. Even now the Communists are forced to mobilize the teenagers and old people to replace those lost.


Leaflet 1266

On this 2 January 1953 Korean-language leaflet, Death holds a picture of Kim Il-sung for a North Korean soldier to look at. The message on the front is:

Comrades! I died needlessly for the Communist boss, Kim Il-Sung.
Will that be your fate too?

Aimed at North Korean soldiers, this leaflet underscores the needless deaths of so many on behalf of Kim Il Sung and the futility of continued aggression against UN forces.

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Leaflet 1267

When Christian nations fight each other they often use Christmas scenes and themes because they know it causes nostalgia and depression. This 27 January 1953 leaflet uses the Lunar New Year as a theme. We see a lonely North Korean soldier shivering in the snow. The text on the front is:


Kim Il Sung brought you as present for the Lunar New Year:
Sorrow instead of smiles, strain instead of repose, and terror instead of hope!

The soldier’s wife and children are shivering on the back of the leaflet:

To the people of North Korea. It is the Communists who force you to spend such a miserable Lunar New Year. The Communists are your enemies. Support those who fight Communists!

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Leaflet 1271

Sex is a very popular theme in psychological warfare. This leaflet dated 19 January 1953 depicts a Communist Chinese soldier in the process of raping a Korean woman. Text to the right of the vignette is:


The text on the back says in part:

Front line soldiers and officers often lay awake thinking of their dear ones at home – especially of their beautiful wives.

But Lee Won Sop, platoon leader of the 50th regiment, 15th Division, saw a terrible scene involving one of those wives. He wants you to know about it and the heartbreaking tears that he felt.

When Lee went back to the rear for training, he was asked to carry a message to Private Kang’s wife.

When he reached Kang’s house, he heard a woman screaming.

Lee peeped through the window and saw a Communist Chinese soldier trying to rape Kang’s wife.

At that moment, Lee realized that the true enemy of Korea is the Chinese Communist forces.

North Korean people and soldiers! The Chinese Communist dogs, by meddling in the Korean War, not only prolong the war and kill your blood brothers, but they also rape your women while Korean men fight at the front.

Leaflet 1277

This 4 February 1953 leaflet was designed as part of Plan Strike. It is bright red to catch the attention of the North Korean civilian, with the one word at the center and three B-29s dropping bombs at the top. The word on the front is:


The back of the leaflet shows four scenes of normal of possible bombing targets with the text:



To destroy Communism these military targets must be destroyed.

Industrial plant, military supply dump, military vehicle, troop billet.



Leaflet 1279

This 4 February 1953 leaflet shows a freezing North Korean soldier sitting alone in a snowstorm. The text is:


The text on the back is:

To save your life, escape to the United Nations or to the rear NOW!


Leaflet 1282

This 21 February 1953 divisive leaflet targets the North Korean civilians and military. It attempts to drive a wedge between the people and government of North Korea due to the high taxes. The front of the leaflet depicts a North Korean holding a bag that is being ripped to shreds by wolves. The bag is labelled "Income." The text on the front is:


Income tax
Local administrative tax
Material tax

Fees for so-and-so
Taxes for so-and-so

On the back of the leaflet the same North Korean sits on the ground and looks at the remainder of his torn bag. The text is:


Isn't it true that workers, farmers, and fishermen - all the people - are suffering to death from unbearable tax burdens?

This is the so-called Communist economic policy! This is the way the Communists fulfill their promises of a better life!



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Leaflet 1306

I like this 16 April 1953 leaflet because it uses sex as a general theme. On one side we see a lovely Korean girl. On the other side a North Korean Political Commissar lectures his men and raises two fingers on one hand and one finger on the other hand. Some of the text on both sides is:

At present in North Korea there are two women for every man. As the war continues, the proportion of women will increase and the proportion of men will decrease!

The Communists bribe your soldiers by promising them each two women! The Communists treat women like merchandise. The Communists try to undermine the high standards of Korean morals!

When I read the text and how we mention the evil Commissar promising his men two girls, I cannot help but think of the Jan and Dean 1966 song Surf City. They were bragging about two girls for every boy. The lyrics of that song include:

And we're goin' to Surf City, 'cause it's two to one
You know we're goin' to Surf City, gonna have some fun
You know we're goin' to Surf City, 'cause it's two to one
You know we're goin' to Surf City, gonna have some fun, now
Two girls for every boy

Leaflet 1307

This 24 April 1953 leaflet depicts a Korean family climbing up rough terrain. Beyond, a man labelled Kim Il-sung pounds a tax notice saying "Tax in kind" into a field of grain. The concept is that although the farmers work hard, the Communist party takes the food for taxes and tenants fees and demand donations to the cause that leave the farmers starving. The text is:


Though we cross over this hill for 310 long days, suffering from hunger, we find the tax pole already erected in the barley field over there.

On the back a man sits at a table labelled "North Korea." The food is being grabbed and eaten by three uniformed Communists, labelled "Tax," "Tenant fee in kind," and donations. The text is:

Every year we repeat our farming, but we have nothing to fill our stomachs.


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Leaflet 1308

This 24 April 1953 leaflet is divisive and tries to cause dissension among the Chinese and North Korean troops. The leaflet depicts a reluctant North Korean bride being chained to a clownish looking Chinese man with Mao as Best Man. The bride’s father is Kim Il Sung. The text on front and back is:





Leaflet 1311

This 7 May 1953 leaflet targets the quartering of North Korean soldiers in people's homes. Remember that one of the reasons for the Revolutionary War was that the British would quarter troops in the home of the American settlers. The front depicts North Korean troops occupying a civilian home. The back shows the soldiers causing UN aircraft to bomb and destroy the house. The text is:

If you take the People's Army into your house, you expose yourself to needless death.
As a hunter traps his game, the UN bombers always trap the People's Army

The text on the back is:

Where the People's Army may go, they will be hit like this.
Keep the People's Army away from you!
Tell them there is a contagious disease in the house!

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Leaflet 1316

This 21 May 1953 leaflet is divisive and that tells Korean farmers that their land is being confiscated and given to Chinese farmers. The front of the leaflet depicts Communist Chinese soldiers evicting North Korean farmers from their land and replacing them with Chinese farmers. The text is:


On the back there is a smaller image of the Chinese farmers tilling the land once owned by the North Koreans. A Chinese flag waves over the Korean farmland. The text is:

People call Kim Il Sung a traitor, but who would believe that he actually sold out North Korea so completely?

Now the dirty Chinese have flooded into Whang Hodo Peninsula and other areas, and the farmers who worked the land for generations have been evicted. Should you farmers of North Korea be driven off the land by the dirty Chinese?



Leaflet 1321

This 25 May 1953 leaflet is designed to cause division between the North Korean people and their communist masters. The Allies called the leaflet “No respect.” The front depicts a revered Korean elder teaching young students’ Korean customs and morals and historical traditions. The text is:


Before the communists came, Korea was known as the courteous nation of the East. We should recover the lost courtesy and morality of our forefathers so that future generations of Koreans can inherit them from us.

The back of the leaflet depicts Kim Il-sung forcing the respected elder to do the work of a mule, carrying a heavy load. The text is:


Kim Il-sung: Get to work old man. In this new world there is no place for humanities, courtesy, or the dignity of retirement.

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Leaflet 1332

This July 1953 leaflet depicts a Russian soldier dragging a Korean boy away from his mother. The text on the front is:

Your children are being taken away to Soviet Russia, Red China and many other foreign lands. Korean families are being broken up and Korean culture is being destroyed.

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Leaflet 1335

This July 1953 leaflet is a very attractive scene of a Korean family having a picnic; Designed to invoke nostalgia and to alienate affection on the part of the NK soldiers and civilians for their Communist Masters. The title of the leaflet is Homesickness. (Jul 53). The text on the front is:

If you were not forced to fight an aggressive war for your Communist Masters, you could be enjoying such a peaceful scene in a free and united Korea.

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Leaflet 2089 - The Free World Weekly Digest (Korean)

Whenever the United States goes to war there are certain psychological warfare weapons that you expect to see. There will be leaflets and posters of course, radio broadcasts, loudspeaker broadcasts and newspapers. In some wars there are so many newspapers that I give them their own section. Since this article is about a specific unit there will just be four so I will treat them like regular leaflets. I should mention that the Eighth Army G3 published a newspaper called The Parachute News. Why is a newspaper important? Most adults are used to getting all their news from a paper. They might or might not pick-up leaflets, but since they are away from home and have no idea what is happening in the world, they will almost surely pick up a newspaper to catch up on the news. This Korean-language newspaper is titled the Free World Weekly Digest. My files indicate that it was airdropped by the UN on the enemy weekly from about February 1952 to December 1954, well after the end of the war. My highest number is issue 180. There was also a Chinese-language version with code numbers in the 5,000 series about the same time. My highest issue is number 94. Besides the news, the paper featured photographs and a cartoon strip. I had many issues to choose from but picked this 9 June 1952 issue because at the upper left it depicts President Harry Truman shaking hands with General Eisenhower who a candidate for the presidency in 1952. At the lower left it depicts Greek Army troops arriving in Korea to fight the Communists. Some of the other stories in this newspaper are:

Protest against forced repatriation of prisoners
Canadian troops arrive in Korea
Armistice news summary
War news summary
Korean casualties
Radio schedule

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Leaflet 2506

This is one of the most amazing and colorful leaflets of the wear and shows the ability to design and use different colors by the members of the 1st RB&L Group. I have seldom seen a leaflet so intricate with so many different images on a single sheet. The Korean-language leaflet was dated 7 October 1952 and was in honor of United Nations Day. The UN was founded 24 October 1945. The front features the Republic of Korea flag and those of 53 nations that have helped to defend the country against the Communist invasion. On the back of the leaflet are photographs of soldiers from 17 nations that are engaged in the Korean “Police Action.” The text on the front of the leaflet is:

United Nations – Freedom’s Forum
Founded 24 October 1945

The text on the back of the leaflet is:

Soldiers of the Free Fighting Nations

The United Nations – Foe of Communist slavery!

53 United Nations have condemned Communist aggression against the Republic of Korea. 16 United Nations actively support the Republic of Korea’s Army fighting to protect Korea. 50 nations aid the Republic of Korea with supplies.


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The Harris LTV 35 x 45 inch stream-fed offset multi-lithographic press, the most advanced printing machine of its time, could print paper with four different colors without reloading paper between colors or changing photo lithographic plates. Because the 1st L&L was already in Korea, a Harris tech rep came there to uncrate it, assemble the press inside a 2 ½ ton truck van, and train the press men. (Photo courtesy of Veritas magazine)

Dr. Briscoe mentions the intricate printing and color and says in part:

The 3rd Reproduction Company had just received the "Cadillac" model of printing presses from the States…This state-of-the-art printing machine was the 35" x 45" Harris LTV Stream-Fed Multi-Lithograph press, capable of printing four-color leaflets in a single run. The older 17" x 22" Webendorfer Lithograph presses required separate print runs as each color was layered onto a paper product. This was tedious, demanding, and time-consuming because separate lithograph plates had to be "cut" for each color in the design. Print men had to fastidiously align the paper between color runs. The leaflet "test run" combined the UN flag with the national colors of the fifty-four member states.

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Leaflet 2603 - Rehabilitation News

I mention above the importance of newspaper for spreading information during wartime. This newspaper is the Rehabilitation News. This Korean-language newspaper issue is Number 4, dated 29 May 1952. “Rehabilitation” is an odd word and I wondered if it meant the rehabilitation of the wounded soldiers of the war, but it actually refers to the rehabilitation of the Republic of Korea. The one-sheet newspaper has two photographs on the front and three on the back. My files indicate that the paper was airdropped over the enemy every other week from about April 1952 to July 1953. The highest numbered issue I have is issue 27. There are more, but that is all I show in my limited files. This issue has several major stories, and I shall just mention the titles:

United Nations World Health Organization works to improve health standards.

The Republic of Korea and the United Nations work together for improved Korean health care.

Republic of Korea medics wage fight against sickness and disease.

Author's note: Long after the war ended the Rehabilitation News continued to be published in Korea. The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group was long gone but as late as February 1956 the paper was still being disseminated, but now printed by the Eighth U.S. Army Office of the Psychological Warfare Officer. The paper's mission was to keep the Korean public constantly aware of the efforts of the United States and the rest of the Free World to rehabilitate the Republic of Korea. Some of the stories in Issue 21, coded 5621, dated 24 February 1956 are:

Cement and coal reach Seoul over new rail line.
Great economy progress coming in 1956.
Plans for millions more dollars for Korea in works.
U.S. contributes $2,600,000 for more technical assistance
Republic of Korea billets dedicated.
Dams to reduce erosion.

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Leaflet 2653 - Free World News

This is the third newspaper in this collection. It is the Free World News, Issue 4, dated 16 June 1952. It is the first newspaper that added a bit of color. The paper calls itself a tri-weekly news-digest. Some of the stories on page one:

Civilians warned to stay away from military targets
United Nations Greek troops arrive at Pusan
Political cartoon – The Aggression Dance
Armistice news summary
War news summary

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Leaflet 5090 - Free World Weekly Digest (Chinese)

This is the fourth newspaper and the first one in Chinese. This paper is Free World Weekly Digest, issue 67, dated 16 June 1952. This Chinese-language newspaper was published weekly, and I found record of at least 93 issues in my files. As we said earlier, the Korean language leaflets are coded in the 2000s while the Chinese are coded in the 5000s. This issue has three photographs in all and a cartoon strip. The two pictures on the front depict Canadian solders teasing one of their own about his handlebar mustache, and soldiers from Colombia, South America, arriving in Korea. The main stories are:

English cabinet members visit Korean front
Communist extort Chinese families
Armistice news summary
War news summary
Two years of blood

Leaflet 5704 – Hometown News

This newspaper, dated 24 June 1953, is the first issue of a newssheet to offer United Nations troops, held in communist camps as prisoners of war, up-to-date non-political news from their homeland. The front bears a photo of Queen Elizabeth.  The back has a “Blondie” cartoon and a photo of Rocky Marciano, heavyweight boxing champion of the World. The newspapers were dropped from aircraft and the Chinse and Korean officials were asked to get them to the POWs in the camps. Some of the articles included:

Page 1

1. International News Summary
2. World Folklore Fete.
3. Baseball News and Standings
4. 3-D Movies Accepted
5. PW Agreement Signed
6. 1956 Olympic Plans
Championship Cricket Table
8. Elizabeth Crowned Queen of England
9. Princess Marries
10. Thought for Today

Page 2

1. Leading Hitters in the Major Leagues
2. Mt. Everest Conquered
3. Europe Expands TV
4. Woman Surpasses Speed of Sound
5. Vukovich Wins 500 Mile Speed Classic
6. Wonder Drug of India
7. World V/ide Sports
8. Rocky Retains Crown
9. English Football Finals
10. France Defeats Britain in Rugby

Note: The following messages appear in Chinese and Korean at the top of page one. The Chinese text is:

This is a newspaper without any political color, for the United Nations prisoners of war. Please convey this to the United Nations prisoners of war so they can read it.

The Korean-language text is:

This is a newspaper without any political color, for the United Nations prisoners of war. We hope you will convey this to the United Nations prisoners of war so they can read it.

Leaflet 5717 - Special News Sheet "Flash 5"

This 9 August 1953 Special News Sheet for Chinese prisoners in UN custody keeps them up to date with the progress of the war. Some of the photos are:

General Huang Chieu was appointed commander of garrison forces in Taiwan.
Overseas Chinese from Hawaii visit Taiwan.
Taiwan girl.

Some of the stories are:

Agriculture in Taiwan.
Red troops try to bar East Germans from U.S. food.
Pakistan grateful for U.S. wheat gift.
News from Free China.
How Communism cheats and traps you.

Pictures attributed with stories:

Communist purges continue.
Communists wasted 30,000 lives in the last days before Armistice.
A joke.
What are the results of the Communist food policy in China?
A chess game.
Communist strip – Anti-Communist riots behind the Iron Curtain.

Booklet 5737

The booklet was printed on 25 August 1953 and targeted non-repatriated Chinese prisoners of war. At the end of the war the 14,000 Chinese prisoners refused repatriation to the People’s Republic of China and eventually moved to the Republic of China (Taiwan), where they were given civilian status. The booklet is comprised of 17 anti-communist song written by the Chinese POWs themselves. We depict pages 9 and 10. The titles of some of the songs are:

Communists, I tell you, we will not fall into your trap.
We swear, we will return to Taiwan, Taiwan the anti-Communist castle.
Our Fatherland awaits our return, the freedom loving people are calling us yonder.
Swear to death to fight the Communists to the end, It Taiwan we rejuvenate the Army to fight Communism,
Determined to return to Taiwan, we are a group of patriots.
To charge, life is our weapon, truth our support.
United together we march forward, offensive on the mainland.
March, march toward the mainland under the anti-red flag.

Leaflet 6014 and 9014

I always thought this was a very handsome leaflet. It is blocked off very nicely with horizontal and vertical text, nicely colored in red and blue, and signed by General MacArthur. The text is in English, Chinese, and Korean. Usually, two different leaflets are printed for the Chinese and Korean troops and they bear different code numbers. In this rare case, the two languages are on one leaflet so it was coded for both the Korean and Chinese troops. The Chinese text is translated and the Korean is just about identical. The Chinese text on the front is:

Ticket Guaranteeing Safety

The English text on the bottom left is the order by Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Command, Douglas MacArthur, ordering all UN troops to treat you well and to guarantee your safety and that you will receive good treatment if you stop fighting immediately. The Korean text on the top left is the translation of Gen. MacArthur’s order.

The text on the back is:

When you cross over, please follow the directions on the left: (1) Wait for a good opportunity to leave your unit and find a place to hide. (2) Destroy your weapon or hide it somewhere. (3) In daylight, find a way to run over to a nearby UN position. (4) Keep both hands held high above your head, and approach via main roads.

Leaflet 6018*

On the front of this leaflet a United Nations soldier calls in an airstrike against the Communist forces. On the back, a Chinese soldier helplessly hunts for cover as the aircraft attack. The asterisk found at the end of the number indicates that it was requested by Eighth Army PSYOP. The leaflet contrasts the air support of the UN troops against that of the Chinese troops. The text on the front is:


Yes! The United Nations soldier gets it whenever he needs it!

The text on the back is:


No! The Communist soldier gets only false promises from his leaders!

Throw off your bondage! Escape to the United Nations lines!

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Leaflet R-6019*

The "R" on this leaflet means that it was considered good enough to reprint and drop on the enemy more than once. The asterisk found at the end of the number indicates that it was requested by Eighth Army PSYOP. The leaflet was called “Tank Support” and dated 28 January 1952. On the front an American tank climbs a hill supported by infantry troops while firing its cannon and machine gun at the Chinese enemy. The back shows Chinese troops being slaughtered out in the open with artillery explosions all around. The text on the front is:

Tank Support!

Yes. The UN soldier never attacks without tanks!

The text on the back is:

Tank Support?

No. Your leaders can’t produce tanks and the Russians will not provide them!



Leaflet 7102

This 23 November 1951 leaflet shows a very happy Chinese soldier with a steaming bowl of rice that the United Nations forces have given him for saving his life by coming over and surrendering. The same leaflet for North Korean troops in their language is coded 1122. This is the second leaflet that uses the theme of food. Leaflet 7098 shows the bowl of rice with no accompanying soldier. The text on the front is short but pertinent:

Why be Hungry?

The back tells the Chinese of the welcome they will get when they surrender and ends with the text:


Lost or injured limbs

I want to take a brief break here and point out two anti-morale leaflets in the 7000 series aimed at the Chinese that depict a soldier's worse nightmares, losing a body part in the war. I will just show the front of the next two leaflets. 

Leaflet 7105 

This leaflet depicts a Chinese soldier in tears as he inspects his blackened feet, sees frostbite and knows he will lose his toes and perhaps his feet to the cold Korean winter. The text on the front is:

This soldier cannot continue fighting

Leaflet 7106

This leaflet depicts a pair of Communist boots standing on the Korean Peninsula. The text on this one was too difficult for me. I thought the first one must be Mao but did not understand the other nickname and the politics were foreign to me. Luckily, I had a translator that was a Chinese historian and he was able to shed light on the meaning. The text on the front is:


The text on the back is:

Do you know why Old Maozi is forcing China’s soldiers to fight in Korea? Because only then can they forcibly occupy China. Now, Little Maozi is helping Old Maozi in this dastardly deed. China’s food and machinery has already been plundered by Old Maozi. Now he is stationing his troops secretly into many of China’s most important cities. Tomorrow he will occupy the entirety of China’s resources and land, to rule over the entirety of China’s population. Now, whilst you are fighting in Korea, Old Maozi is looting China. So you should to return to China to fight Old Maozi, instead of giving your lives pointlessly in Korea.

[Translator’s Notes]: Apparently ‘Old Maozi’ is a pejorative slur used predominantly in Northern China to refer to Russians, so in the context of this text ‘Old Maozi’ would be the USSR and ‘Little Maozi’ is the People’s Republic of China. This text would then be telling Chinese soldiers that they are dying in a pointless Soviet proxy war whilst the Soviets are plundering China with an aim to totally controlling the country.

Leaflet 7117 

This Chinese soldier has lost his hands, either to the cold or enemy fire. He thinks about lifting his child again, but knows that can never happen. The text on the front is:

If the heads of the Soviet Communist party had only agreed to end the war

I would probably be able to hold my child with two hands 

Leaflet 7109

This 30 November 1951 leaflet depicts Sun Yat-sen who some consider the father of modern China. The leaflet uses the Formal Chinese name Sung Chung-shan and is almost identical to leaflet 7103 except for minor changes. The leaflet compared the three Principles of Sun Yat-sen with the aims of the United Nations. The text on the back is long and political so I will just translate some parts of it:

Sung Chung-shan, the great patriot of China is known throughout the world for his democratic ideas. People the world over admire his three famous principles which reflect the hopes and ideals of mankind. Today all freedom loving people, expressing their hopes through the great United Nations, work in conformity with Sung Chung-shan's principles.

Nationalities - Help the Korean people. Democracy - Establish a free Korean Government. Livelihood - Rehabilitate the Korean land.

Leaflet 7115

This "Ghostly" leaflet was printed by the 1st Radio Broadcast and Leaflet Group in December 1951. This leaflet depicted a Chinese family of eight individuals sitting around a food-laden table that was not unlike an American Thanksgiving dinner. The bones show through the almost invisible body of one of the diners at the far left, so an American viewer might identify him as a ghost. The text on the front is:


The text on the back is:

Because Communists officials continue to stall at the Armistice talks – YOURS WILL BE THE EMPTY PLACE AT YOUR FAMILY’S NEW YEAR REUNION.

Because Communist leaders compel you to continue this hopeless war – IN THE HEARTS OF YOUR FAMILY THERE IS GREAT EMPTINESS.

I have seen this leaflet offered at auction where some GI had written across the side and top:

Found on the mountaintop by the 2 dead soldiers (Chinese)

This leaflet allegedly confused the Chinese viewers. Chinese prisoners-of-war said that the seating arrangement of the people was all wrong. There were children at the table instead of respected elders and family members. The children would have eaten earlier. The table was full of food where a proper family would remove the dishes from each course before bringing new dishes. If the family was so rich that they could eat in a fashion that had not been seen since the late 1930s, why would a son be in the military? Who is the person with the bones showing through? This is not a traditional way to show a ghost in China (or the United States for that matter). This is another case where the American PSYOP specialists knew exactly what they wanted to say, but the illustration completely confused the target audience. The Chinese did not understand the wealth depicted on the leaflet and truly believed that the family of a soldier would be poor. The leaflet served no military purpose and failed in its attempt to demoralize the Chinese Army. The Americans were thinking Thanksgiving dinner, and the Chinese had no clue. This leaflet was a failure.

Leaflet 7116

This leaflet is designed to lower the morale of the Chinese soldier that finds it. His home is depicted and his wife, children, and mother stand in the lonely house and look at his picture and wonder if he will ever return. His son asks his mother:

Where's Daddy?

The back is all text and bears the symbol of the United Nations and a dove of peace.

Some of the text on the back is:

You represent the Communist Party who constantly delays and interrupts the peace talks. What is your answer to your family when they ask, “what are you doing?” Should you answer, “I am giving my life to die for the Soviet Union."

This leaflet is also found with the code R 7116 A, which means it was printed more than once and there could be some slight alterations in the text of the later leaflets. The title of this leaflet is "Think of your family." The leaflet was disseminated as part of Plan Deadline. This was a United Nations campaign designed to portray the UN negotiators as working hard at the Armistice talks to bring peace to the peninsula. It attacked the Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army. Deadline, later renamed Hold-Up, and then Deadlock, sought to portray the United Nations Command as working to restore peace through an armistice while at the same time, showing that it was the Communists who were hindering and obstructing efforts for a peace agreement. This campaign ran from 28 November 1951 to 27 December 1951.

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Leaflet R-7121

This leaflet was part of Plan Dragon. Plan Dragon used the theme of nostalgia and longing for home during the lunar New Year holiday season of 1952. This leaflet is dated 14 January 1952. During the lunar holiday season, leaflets were designed to make soldiers think of home while other leaflets targeted civilians in order to encourage dissatisfaction with their husbands and sons continued military duty. Operations culminated during the lunar New Year’s holiday. This campaign ran from 19 January 1952 to 27 January 1952. This leaflet depicts a lone Chinese soldier sitting in the snow and thinking of himself lying dead in that same snow. Crows on his body are a symbol of death. The leaflet tells him that his most valuable possession is his life, and yet one shot can put him out like a candle. The text ends with:

Why waste it needlessly? To be alive next New Year, come over to the United Nations lines. Your safety and well-being are guaranteed by the Geneva Convention.

Elliot Harris mentions a problem with Chinese perception in The “Un-American” Weapon, Psychological Warfare, which might indicate that this leaflet would not work well on the Chinese. He says:

The Chinese did not appear to identify symbols in the way U.N. leaflets had intended. Leaflets using the picture-in-a-balloon technique to indicate the subject’s thoughts or dreams were completely alien to the Chinese. One leaflet with three balloon scenes was interpreted to be four unconnected pictures.

Leaflet 7122

This 14 January 1952 leaflet was printed as part of Plan Dragon. It depicts hands reaching up to a United Nations emblem in the sky. The theme is “Restoration of peace in Korea?” The text on the front says in part:

Will there be peace in this Year of the Dragon?

The text on the back is surrounded by a dragon and says:

The Allied High Command, representing the hopes and wills of all the free peoples of the world, has always endeavored to restore peace to Korea at the Panmunjom Truce Talks. However, the representatives of the Communist side have continuously obstructed these efforts.

If the leaders of the Communist Party are willing to heed the will of the people, and abandon the brutal orders of Communism, this new year of the ‘Dragon’ might witness the return of peace to Korea.

Let the Communist Party fight their own battles!

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Leaflet 7131

This 4 March 1952 Chinese-language leaflet bears a portrait of Dr. Sun Yat Sen the first president of the Republic of China; and the first leader of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party of China).  At the lower right there is a United Nations symbol. The leaflet commemorates the death of the great Chinese leader and comments on the way the Soviet Union has used and has ruined China. The text on the front is:

Mr. Sun Chung Shan, Father of China

His dreams for a free and independent China gave the world three great principles:




The text on the back is:

This week is the anniversary of the death of one of the world's greatest men - Mr. Sun Chung Shan. When he died, he left the Chinese people three great principles. These must never die.

The Communists run China as Russia directs. This is not national independence.

The Communists deny the people any effective voice in government. This is not Democracy.

The Communists rob the people of their leisure, their food and their personal freedom. This is not improvement of the people’s livelihood.

The Communists are destroying the three principals of the people. 

Leaflet 7135

The front of this leaflet depicts Chinese and Russian leaders signing a Sino-Soviet Treaty that the text says basically gives China to the USSR:


A photo of the signing of the Sino-Soviet Treaty of February 14, 1950, in Moscow.

The back is all text except for a small picture of a group of Chinese in chains. The text is:

The reverse side is a photo of the signing of the treaty. This treaty is about agriculture and minerals. Recognize that Soviet Russia is the master of China's land resources and, more importantly, the real behind-the-scenes ruler of the Chinese people.

Now that you are forced to come to Korea to fight, you are sacrificing your lives for the expansion of the Soviet Empire.

You are dying in Korea. The Soviet Communist Party is occupying China.

Leaflets 7146

This 12 April 1952 Chinese-language leaflet was requested by the I Corps Commander to be used against selected Chinese regiments. The front depicts a Chinese squad leader addressing his troops and then walking away while one of his soldiers looks at a broken rifle he was issued. The back depicts a large red hammer and sickle and the text: Remember this symbol - the mark of slavery and death.

The main message is on the front of this leaflet:


Your military leaders are deceitfully told by Communist Political Officers to promise you oil for your rifles, better weapons, more artillery support, better food, and trained replacements. The Communist Party leaders even promise you, for all your sacrifice, land when you return home.



Leaflet 7147

This 17 April 1952 leaflet depicts the United Nations General assembly in session. It was designed as part of Plan HOLD UP to tell the world about the principals of the United Nations. The Chinese language text on the front is:


The back depicts the United Nations building in New York City and a long text which says in part:


In 1945, The war-weary peoples of the world established the United Nations for one purpose - to maintain peace in the world. Peaceful negotiations by the U.N. brought peace to such countries as Kashmir, Palestine, and Indonesia. War was not necessary. There would have been no war in Korea if the Communists had agreed with U.N. decisions - that is, free elections to establish a united democratic Korean government in a peaceful manner.

Instead, Korea was attacked by the Communists. The U.N. had to use force to aid the Korean people. Soldiers from many countries of the Free World raced to protect Korean freedom....

Leaflet 7148

This 21 April 1952 leaflet was designed to show North Korean civilians and soldiers why the Republic of Korea requested help from the United Nations. It is part of Plan HOLD UP. The text and cartoons start on the front and continue onto the back. The text on the front is:


1. This is the story of the United Nations' efforts to establish a free, united, independent Korea. On June 25th, 1950, Communist armies from the north, without cause and without warning, invaded the Republic of Korea.

2. June 25th, 1950, the United Nations immediately condemns the aggression, calls for a cease-fire order and demands withdrawal of the invaders.

3. The aggressors from the north ignore the United Nations demand for peace.

4. The Republic of Korea immediately resisted the North Korea aggressors.

5. In the meanwhile, President Rhee appealed to the United Nations to send UN forces to Korea to repel the Red aggressors

6. The United Nations forces arrived to repel the Red aggressors to restore peace and permit a just solution for Korea.

Some of the text on the back is:

11. Panmunjom - The peace talks which began 10 July 1951 at Kaesong were continued at Panmunjom. The establishment of a military demarcation line was formally ratified 27 November. On 19 February 1952, an "agreement in Principle" was reached except on Communist insistence on forced repatriation of prisoners-of-war and two other items.

12. "People of Korea: with your assistance the United Nations will continue to work constructively for a unified Korea, and will continue to rehabilitate Korea's people, land and industry."



Leaflet 7151

This 1 May 1952 leaflet depicts an old man and two women working in the field. The young man of the house has been sent to Korea to fight and die. The leaflet has a blank back which is rare because the U.S. does not like to give blank paper to the enemy where they can write their own pro-Communist propaganda. The message is interesting, telling the Chinese soldier that he is cannon fodder and his family at home is drinking wine and enjoying the onset of summer. The text is:


Chinese soldier:

You are fighting in a foreign land while your families are celebrating the beginning of summer.

Your families are drinking wine. The little girls are wearing flowers in their hair. Fields of grain will be ripening soon. The beginning of summer.

The beginning of summer, and you Chinese soldiers are being forced to fight by the Communist aggressors for the benefit of alien masters.

The beginning of summer, and you are cannon fodder.

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Leaflet 7152

This leaflet was designed to convince soldiers and civilians of North Korea that the war could have been over long ago except for the communists' long range plan for world conquest. The 9 June 1952 leaflet depicts three communist leaders who are gleefully applying the torch of aggression to North Korean soldiers. The back of the leaflet depicts dead North Korean soldiers. The text on the back is:

Examine These Facts That Tell the Truth About the Korean War

You know for a fact that two years ago (25 June 1950) the North Korean Communist ruthlessly attacked the peaceful Republic of Korea.

You know for a fact that the war was nearly over (mid-November 1950). And you know that your soldiers were forced to fight in Korea to prevent the Soviet Russians from losing face since they had nearly lost control of North Korea.

You know for a fact that the United Nations never intended to cross the Yalu. The Chinese Communists were assured of this, so your leaders lied when they said the soldiers fight to defend China.

You know for a fact that Communist aggression in Korea is another part of a long range communist plan for world conquest by force.

You know for a fact that the Communists' two year old war has brought nothing but suffering, misery and death to countless thousands of people.

You know for a fact that the Communists have constantly blocked efforts to conclude an armistice.

You know for a fact that since the Communists started this war and now realize they cannot win, it is their responsibility to end it - Now, to prevent more needless bloodshed!

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Leaflet 7173

This 26 June 1952 leaflet depicts a Chinese soldier reading a paper, a letter on the floor beside him. It is designed to discredit the Chinese communists because of their disastrous reforms. The newspaper says “More paper reforms” and the letter begins “Dear Son.” Some of the text is:

Dear Son,

Here at home, things are not going well. Consistently the Communists talk about reform; but conditions in China are now worse than ever. The Communist reforms are only empty paper ones. In Canton, over 200,000 are out of work. On the street we see rags and starvation. Political and self-criticism meetings take many hours away from our work; factory production lags because of the Communist’ lack of technical skill. Purges and mass execution rob us of our scholars and professional men. On paper, the Communists call this mass murder a reform; but it is how they install their own people who know loyalty only to the Russians…

Leaflet 7181*

This 16 July 1952 leaflet features three photographs showing good treatment of Chinese POWs on the front. The back is all text. The language is Mandarin Chinese. The leaflet is titled :"Story of an escape." The asterisk shows that the leaflet requested by EUSAK. It is the personal story of a sergeant of the Chinese army who escaped to UN forces. The text on the front is:

Ding How! [Excellent! Exceptionally good! The best!]
Your former comrades enjoy sports and games and live happily in United Nations Camps!
You do not have to worry about having no chance to develop your skills on the United Nations side!

The back is an exceedingly long text telling of a sergeant's escape. I shall paraphrase it for the reader:

The sergeant received a letter from home over seven months. Conditions were unbelievably bad, and his mother was sick. His neighbors had been arrested by the Communists without any reasons given. The Sergeant read the letter many times wondering why he was in Korea fighting a war for the Russians? He decided that the Communist Cadre was lying to him right from the start. On May 31st, United Nations aircraft strafed his unit killing many troops. The following day, he decided to defect. That night he crawled to within 500 feet of the American front lines. As dawn broke, he crawled closer and called "Hello." The Americans answered, he stood up, raised his hands, and walked forward. That night he slept peacefully in a tent with three other Chinese POWs. He was living a happy life and feels extremely fortunate.

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Leaflet 7185*

This 6 August 1952 leaflet is printed on a cardboard instead of the usual paper. On the front it depicts a Commissar forcing Chinese soldiers into a wall of fire. On the back, Chinese soldiers run toward the UN flag to surrender. EUSAK PSYWAR requested this leaflet. The text on the front and back is:

Comrades – if you hesitate and wait
You leaders will force you to an instant death

Comrades- if you want liberty and happiness
Lay down your arms and come over to the UN side.

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Leaflet 7186

This 9 August 1952 leaflet was designed to show that the Communist Chinese are helping to enslave Korea and stalling at the peace table, while the UN is working toward peaceful reunification and Korean freedom. The leaflet above depicts the Korean people in chains watched by an armed Communist soldier with the hammer and sickle symbol. The leaflet was prepared on 9 August 1952. Some of the text is:


Chinese soldiers! Your leaders say they send you into battle to aid Korea. But Koreans want unification of their country and peace, not death and destruction. It is your communist leaders, puppets of Russia, who want death and destruction in Korea. Why? They want to enslave Korea. To put freedom loving people in chains they know they must kill and destroy.


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Leaflet 7190*

This is a small, square, blue leaflet but I think the image is powerful. It depicts a Chinese soldier trying to return to his family but chained to the war by the Chinese communists. The asterisk * means it was requested by the Eighth Army. This 25 August 1952 leaflet attacks the Chinese Army’s practice of indefinite service and no leaves. The back depicts a Chinese mother looking at a tomb marked “Chinese war dead.” The text on the front is:


The text on the back says in part in the form of a jingle:

The Communists have driven the people into a great distress.
They have forced you to join the Army to come to Korea
As you are confined in the Army year after year,
You can never go back to see your parents, wife and children.
You lead a pitiful life like a horse or ox.
You will have grievances if you die on a foreign soil.
Resist Communism at once.
So as to regain your freedom to see the blue sky. [Chinese term for Freedom].

Leaflet 7192

This 20 September 1952 leaflet was part of Plan Good Fellow, designed to show the Chinese the good treatment that awaited them in a United Nations Prison Camp with educational and recreational facilities. Chinese prisoners-of-war are shown in in various activities. The text on the front is:

Dear Chinese Soldiers:

I am sending this message to my comrades so you will know about my life in a United Nations prisoner-of-war camp in the Republic of Korea. My friends and I am safe, well cared for and happy. Here, under UN protection, we enjoy ourselves in many ways.

1. We spend time in sports.
2. Some of my friends are building miniature models outside our tent.
3. We often enjoy playing the fiddle and singing folk songs.

The text on the back is more of the same images and text.

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Leaflet 7194

This 8 September 1952 leaflet depicts and unhappy Chinese soldier looking at the Moon and seeing his mother’s face. The back shows the mother praying before a table decorated for the Moon Festival. The theme is nostalgia and homesickness. The text on the front is:

The Moon is bright and I am far from home

The is a poem of three stanzas. It says in part:

The Moon is especially bright on the 15th of the 8th month
Every home is eating moon cakes
The thousand vicious communists
Have forced us to join the army and die in Korea…

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Leaflet 7199

In WWII we talked about the poor weapons of the Japanese, their low calibers and the tendency to break down. This leaflet points out the unreliability of the soviet rifle used by the Chinese and Korean soldiers. The front of this 30 September 1952 leaflet depicts a Russian rifle with the text both in Korean and Chinese:

Old Russian Weapons Bring Death!

Escape! Don't Die for Russia!

The back of the leaflet is a cartoon strip illustrating how weapons are obtained and showing their faults. It depicts the Soviets giving arms to Mao Tse-tung who in turn gives it to a young Chinese soldier and forces him to fight in the war. You see the soldier having trouble with the Russian rifle and in the next panel he is getting shot at. Finally in the last panel you see a happier Chinese soldier as he surrenders to UN Forces holding a safe conduct pass.

1. Stalin: Take these old guns. They are no longer any good.
2. Mao: Take this old gun and invade Korea.
3. Soldier: The gun is heavy!
4. Soldier: It jams! It won't shoot!
5. Soldier: It misfires!
6. Don't die! Throw down your obsolete weapons! Surrender for UN protection!

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7203 – No Steel Pot for the Chinese

Leaflet coded 7203 was produced by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group on 15 October 1952 and entitled “The Communist Cap of Death.” It targeted Chinese communist forces in Korea. One side shows a skull wearing a Communist soft cap with shrapnel passing through it. The other side shows a United Nations soldier with shrapnel bouncing off his helmet. The text argues that the Communist leadership doesn't care about the lives of its soldiers, while “The United Nations protects its men.” The importance of having a helmet becomes painfully obvious on this two-sided leaflet.

The blue side with the United Nations soldier reads:

The United Nations helmets save their soldiers. The United Nations always takes care of their soldiers. The United Nations has the most sophisticated weapons for their soldiers. There is no United Nations soldier without a helmet. The United Nations General is not like the Communist boss who has prepared only for his own personal safety. The United Nations Commander doesn't waste his soldiers for his own personal benefit. Why do you waste your life for a horrible boss who won't even give you a helmet? Save your life. It is well known that the Communist troops are on the run.

The red side reads:

Save your life, desert! The Communists don't even give you a helmet. They only give you a "bunk hat". It cannot protect you from a bullet. Your boss doesn't care if you die. He doesn't have to worry; he isn't fighting in the field. Your bosses just reap the benefits of your sacrifice. Don't waste your life for the son of a bitch. Why do you waste your life for your boss? Save your skin.

Leaflet 7203 was written in Chinese for the members of the Chinese “Volunteer” Army. The same leaflet was written for the North Korean troops in the Korean Language coded 1227.

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Leaflet 7227

We depicted a leaflet using rape as a theme above. Here is another one. Whereas the earlier leaflet featured a Chinese rapist, this 19 January 1953 leaflet features a Russian rapist. The image depicts a school girl (identified by her bag being labeled "book bag" and her book labeled "High school," being raped by a horrific looking Soviet soldier while two other soldiers hold another poor woman prisoner while they wait their turn. It seeks to divide the Chinese from their Russian allies. The text is in part:

Don't forget the shame inflicted upon the Chinese people during the Soviet advance into Northeast China during the autumn of 1945. Even Chinese mothers and sisters did not escape! Russia is still walking boldly there. Against continued Soviet aggression:


Leaflet 7230

This 2 February 1953 leaflet is designed to drive apart the Chinese and Soviets by showing that the USSR does not fully support the Chinese fighting in Korea. The front depicts Chou En-lai begging Stalin for help and a petition reading:


Please help us - Mao Tse-sung

Since entering the Korean War we have sustained nearly a million casualties and deaths! We cannot count the number of weapons we've lost! Please help!

On the back of the leaflet Stalin meets with his advisors and generals:


Malenkov:For propaganda purposes we must give him something.

Beria: Let's give him some old obsolete weapons.

Voroshilov: Good idea, but he must agree to continue our aggressive war in Korea.


There is a small message in the Korean language at the bottom that says: "This is a United Nations message to the Chinese. Post it for them to see."

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Leaflet 7232*

This is a rather striking leaflet in a dark blue color depicting a freezing Chinese soldier in an icy wind. The title of the leaflet is “Cold.” As always, the asterisk tells us that the leaflet was requested by the PSYWAR people of the Eighth Army. The leaflet is dated 4 February 1953. It is a morale leaflet aimed at telling the freezing Chinese troops that they can survive by surrendering. There is a small message for any Korean that finds this leaflet: “This is a United Nations message to the Chinese forces. Post it for them to see.” The text on the front is:

Soon You May Freeze to Death!

The back is all text:

Save your Life Now!

Escape to the United Nations or to the Rear!


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Leaflet 7249

This is a full-color leaflet of a beautiful Chinese woman meditating among the flowers budding on a tree. The back is blank. The leaflet is called “Russia’s War,” is dated 20 May 1953, and targets the Chinese troops in Korea. The text on the front is in a formal Chinese and below each line is a phonetic version:

Members of the Chinese Volunteer Forces:

She meditates with the blossoms alone because you were forced to “volunteer” to fight Russia’s war in Korea.

Off to the side there is a message for any Korean finder of the leaflet:

This is a message for the Chinese Communist Forces from the United Nations. Post it where they can see it.

What I particularly like about this leaflet, the style and the color, is that it will be used again in the Vietnam War where their TET New Year is celebrated with spring flowers, and many American anti-Communist leaflets depicted pretty girls with flowers.

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Leaflet 8-319

As I mention above, here is a leaflet prepared by the U.S. 8th PSYOP Battalion in 1969 in Vietnam. Notice the similarity. The propaganda leaflet printed 16 years after the Korean one above features a beautiful Vietnamese maiden holding flowering branches. At the lower left is the Chieu Hoi (“Open Arms”) emblem in full color. The text is:

Happy New Year

Leaflet 7250

This colorful 29 May 1953 leaflet depicts dragon boat races in the old China. The Chinese are reminded of the old days but how they now must fight in Korea for Stalin. The text on the front and back is:

The dragon boats once raced happily along on the fifth day of the fifth month.

Now you must stay in Korea and die for Soviet Russia!

The fifth day of the fifth month is "Tuan Yang" when shining gongs and drums cheer the dragon boat races. You hang "rush sabers" on the door and eat Chuang Tse. Waving the banners, everyone happily celebrates.

The rush sabers seem to be fake swords made from plants. The Chuang Tse seems to be party favorites made in the shape of small pyramids.

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Leaflet 7254

This is a very late leaflet dated 5 June 1953. This is the first in a series called “Think.” It tried to further the Chinese soldier’s resentment of the USSR. The front of the leaflet depicts a lonely mother and father looking at an empty food bowl in their home. The text is:


If the Communists had not transported so much food to Soviet Russia in exchange for obsolete weapons to fight an aggressive war for Russia, the people of China would not be hungry and without food.


The back of the leaflet says "Think" three times with the font larger each time.

Think! Think! Think!

Leaflet 7255

This strange 4 June 1953 leaflet depicts a tortoise with a green hat. At first glance we assume it is regarding some Chinese proverb. The text is:



The back is a long text which says in part:


Here is how the new marriage law affects you:

The Chinese Communists give your wife the right to live with other men if she does not receive a letter from you in two years' time, and they take her word for it!

The Chinese Communists permit your wife to marry another man if your letter does not reach her in time!

The Chinese Communists can force you to marry any woman, if she and her family claim you are the father of her child!

Have your political officers explained the new marriage law to you? If they haven't explained it to you, then you are being forced to wear a green cap without knowing about it…

[Author’s note] In China 'wearing a green hat' is an expression that Chinese use when a woman cheats on her husband or boyfriend because the phrase sounds like the word for cuckold. This apparently dates to the Yuan dynasty when the relatives of prostitutes were forced to wear green hats.


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Addictive Drugs

Philip Lin was a civilian employee of the 8239th Army Unit in Tokyo from 1951 to 1955. During the Korean War, the 1st Radio Broadcasting & Leaflet Group was also known as the 8239th Army Unit. Lin left behind several posters from his days as a Chief in the Graphics division of the 8239th, and later in support of public relations and propaganda for Okinawa and Korea, that his son Raymond sent to us so that they could be documented. This poster is more in the form of a public service announcement to the Korean people than anti-Communist wartime propaganda.

This poster depicts a son or husband chained to a skull which represents drugs while his family looks down on him with sorrow and pity. The text is:


The vice of using drugs ruins the nation and people.

The cost of this vice is the suffering family, poverty and the divided family.

The Korean Civil Assistance Command in cooperation with the Ministries of Health,
Internal Affairs, Defense, and Society

The eye-balls of the skull have the words:

Addictive Drugs

Milk is Given Free to Mothers...

A second poster in the elder Lin's papers depicts three Korean children receiving a drink of fresh milk from a pitcher labeled UNICEF (the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund,) held by an arm labeled "KCAC" (the Korean Civil Assistance Command). The text on the poster is:


The milk powder which America sent to UNICEF for delivery to Korea right now weighs 6,600,000 Gwan. The monetary value of this amount is $640,000,000 U.S. or 25,200,000,000 Korean Hwan.

Note: One Gwan is a Korean weight unit which is equivalent to 3.75 Kilograms.

Training Leaflets

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Yours…for the asking

In order to keep their artistic and printing skills sharp, PSYOP units take part in training exercises and war games where the print leaflets just as they would in an actual war. The leaflets below were printed by the 3rd Reproduction Company of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group during a March 1955 exercise. In wartime the enemy is often starving and cut off from its supplies. A PSYOP unit will use this perceived weakness to tell the enemy that good food is waiting for him as soon as he surrenders. The front of the leaflet depicts a cup of coffee and a hot dinner. The back features a steaming cup of coffee and the text:

How are you coming on food? Not very much to eat in the woods this time of the year, is there? You need more food to survive in the open. You can’t possibly get any. We promise you good hot food if you come over to our side.

Lithographed as a training mission of the 3rd Reproduction Company
1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion, Ft. Bragg, N.C.

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The front of this leaflet depicts an empty water canteen. The back is all text on the silhouette of an empty canteen. The text on the back is:

No matter how resourceful you may be, you cannot survive without water. You every move puts you in jeopardy. You must hide like a hunted animal. And like an animal, you must seek your water in streams and stagnant pools.


In 1957, 4 years after the end of the Korean War, writer Rayner Pike was assigned to the peacetime 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion. He recounted his experiences in the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) of 28 January 1978. Apparently, he did not have much to do in peacetime:

My intended (and eventual) unit was the Orwellian-sounding Propaganda Platoon of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion. The men called it the "Rakes, Broom, and Lawnmowers," to better describe what it did.

Uncoded Leaflet

I am sure this leaflet has a code; it simply was not placed on this leaflet. We will call it uncoded until such time as we can identify it. The leaflet has four pictures on the front. The two at the left forecast death and destruction.  The two at the right forecast life and happiness. The text on the front is: 

Choose one of these two

If you resist [our] powerful army, you will be bombarded from the air & burn to death and you will get hit by fierce shelling. 

If you give up immediately, you'll eat generous meals and you will be treated by a doctor soon. 

The back is all text:

The hour is getting desperate.

United Nation forces against you are building up every day. Countless tanks and artillery that will be used against you are arriving daily. Thousands of planes are increasing in the sky each day and are killing your troops and bombing your positions.

Our United Nations forces' dominance over you is rapidly strengthening. Time is short. It is your choice to live or die. You can't fight against countless tanks, cannons, and air raids that blanket the sky. Surrender when there is a chance.

That way your life will be saved and you will get generous meals, medical treatment, and plenty of recreation time. The United Nations guarantees you humanitarian treatment. You should live to help your family, and to build a healthy and free Korea.

The time to surrender is now.

This ends our short look at the leaflets of the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group during the Korean War. I have a hundred more leaflets but I tried to give a mix of themes and colors. Readers wishing to talk about these leaflets or comment on any specific one are encouraged to write to the author at