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SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)

WORDS WITHOUT BORDERS, an online magazine of international literature featured an excerpt from a series called “Best of Enemies, a history of Arab-American relations.” They requested and received permission to use images from this article.

The use of American divide and conquer psychological operations (PSYOP) is older than the United States. The first American leaflets aimed at the British during the Revolutionary war attempted to divide the Hessian mercenaries from their British overseers by offering land, food and money to any soldier who deserted.

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American Revolutionary War Leaflet

The American position is mentioned at the left of the leaflet.


 I.    Seven dollars a month.
II.   Fresh provisions, and in plenty.
III.  Health.
IV.  Freedom, ease, affluence, and a good farm.

This is contrasted against that British position.


 I.    Three pence a day.
II.   Rotten salt pork.
III.  The scurvy.
IV.  Slavery, beggary and want.

Paul M. A. Linebarger mentions in Psychological Warfare, Combat Forces Press, 1948:

The American Forces at the Battle of Bunker Hill used one of the earliest versions of front-line combat propaganda. The appeal was as direct as could be wished. Artful use was made of the sharp class distinctions then existing between British officers and enlisted men; fear was exploited as an aid to persuasion; the language was pointed. Even in our own time, the Bunker Hill propaganda leaflet stands as a classic example of how to do good field propaganda.

It might be said that all propaganda leaflets use the technique of divide and conquer. Whether they be safe conduct passes, attacks on the enemy leadership or policies, or offers of rewards for defections or armaments, they all strive to drive a wedge between the soldier or civilian and his government or military leaders. During WWII the Axis attempted to divide blacks and Caucasians, Christians and Jews, soldiers and "slacker" civilians, and the monied class and working poor. As American forces were deployed overseas, its enemies added divisive attacks to cause dissension and distrust between the Americans and British, and later the American and Australian troops. The United States retaliated with attempts to divide the German people from the Nazi leadership, the German army from the SS, the Japanese soldier from his officer class and the Japanese people from what was called "the militarists." In later wars this pattern was continued, with American attacks on Communist, Chinese and Russian manipulation of native military forces during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

In American's most recent wars the same technique was used to drive a wedge between the people of Afghanistan and the leaders and "foreign fighters" of the Taliban and al-Qaida. In Iraq it was Saddam Hussein and the baath Party that were attacked, while the Iraqi people were told that the fight was not against them, only their leaders. The technique of dividing and conquering an enemy is as old as warfare. It has been used in every past war and will continue to be used in the future. When the enemy is to be divided it is most useful to break them up into four parts; the leader, the ruling group, unspecified manipulators, or any definite minority.

United States Army Field Manual 33-1-1 Psychological Operations Techniques and Procedures, 1994, uses the more modern term “Ingroup-Outgroup.” It says:

These themes emphasize differences within or between target groups. PSYOP personnel use these themes when the group can be broken down into two or more factions. By pitting one group against another group, PSYOP personnel can emphasize the differences and create a rift between the groups. As a result, the groups develop a “we-they” situation. Loss of group cohesion weakens the resolve of the target audience.

Linebarger uses the term "Defensive Propaganda" and adds:

Divisive propaganda is designed to split apart the component subgroups of the enemy and thereby reduce the effectiveness of the enemy group considered as a single unit. (An instance is provided by the Allied effort to make German Catholics think first as Catholics, then as Germans.)

We recognize the new terminology, but for ease of use and recognition we will continue to use the title “divide and conquer” for such operations in this article.


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    Where is Tommy staying? 

Long before the United States of America entered World War II, Germany disseminated divide and conquer propaganda in an attempt to split the French and British forces arrayed against them. Perhaps the best known is a series of see-through cardboard leaflets. On 1 May 1939, French soldiers along the Maginot Line were the recipients of thousands of such leaflets, which depicted brave troops fighting and dying in front of a barbed-wire emplacement. Above the men is a clear area of the sky and the words Ou le Tommy est-il Reste? (“Where is Tommy staying?”). When one holds this card to the light, a second scene appears. It shows British officers and soldiers cavorting behind the lines with French women. There are six known varieties of this card. The scenes vary slightly, showing the British soldiers and French women in a cabaret, on a stairway, or in the street. A second set of six shows a French soldier dying of wounds, and the British soldiers and French women in a room, in a salon, or on a bed. These cards were very powerful and certainly led the French soldiers to wonder what the British soldiers were doing, and whom they were doing it with.

Linebarger adds:

The Germans exploited every possible disunity which could contribute to the weakness of an enemy. They were not choosy about collaborators...They willingly listened to men who had fantastic schemes for world peace and late used such men as aids in getting appeasement. They tried to raise Catholics against Communists, Communists against democrats, Gentiles against Jews, whites against negroes, the poor against the rich, the rich against the poor, British against Americans, Americans against British - anyone against anyone as long as it delayed action against Germany and weakened the enemy potential.

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Always the Same Story

The uncoded German 4-page leaflet is aimed at the French and tells them that their British allies have always betrayed them and been their natural enemies. It has mentions four different years and tells the French reader what the British did to his nation and heroes at that time. In the first image the French people of Calais are about to be killed by the British, In the second Joan of Arc is burned at the stake, in the third Napoleon is seen after his capture and exile, and in the last it is WWI and a British soldier looks on as a French soldier goes “over the top.” The text is:

Always the Same Story

1347 – The People of Calais

1431- Joan of Arc in Rouen

1816 – Napoleon in St. Helene

1939 - In front of the Siegfried line "forward comrade"

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Leaflet A1037a

At the same time, the Germans attempted to convince the British troops that while they were being mangled and killed at the front, American replacements were back in England drinking and carousing with their women. One leaflet depicts an American Sergeant in bed with a British girl, and the words “You Americans are so different.” Text on the reverse is:

British Soldiers! You are fighting and dying far away from your country while the Yanks are putting up their tents in merry old England. They've got lots of money and loads of time to chase after your women.

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Sam Levy 

Once the United States entered WWII the Germans constantly tried to convince American troops that while they fought at the front, the evil Jews were getting rich at home and having sex with their girlfriends and wives. For instance, they prepared a set of four anti-Semitic sexually themed leaflets entitled “The girl you left behind.” These leaflets told the story of the mythical Sam Levy; a Jew who was growing rich and enjoying the favors of a Christian girl while her boyfriend was fighting on the front lines. The first leaflet of the series depicts Sam helping a young girl put on a pair of precious wartime nylon stockings and the text, “Today she is getting sixty dollars…” The back is all text:

Sam knows what he wants. Two years ago, comely Joan Hopkins was still a salesgirl behind the ribbon counter in a New York 5 & 10 cents store getting 12 dollars a week. Today she is getting $60 as the private secretary of Sam Levy. Business is excellent and Sam is making a pile of dough on war contracts. FOR HIM THE SLAUGHTER CAN'T LAST LONG ENOUGH. Sam has no scruples about getting a bit intimate with Joan. And why should he have any? Tall and handsome Bob Harrison, Joan's fiancé is at the front, thousands of miles away, fighting for guys like Sam Levy. Joan loves Bob, but she doesn't know WHEN HE WILL COME BACK. Have you seen the other pictures of “The Girl You Left Behind? AI-161-11-44.

The leaflet code indicates that it was prepared by the GermanPropaganda Abschnitts Offizer Italien for use in Italy in 1944. Most of the leaflets were printed in Berlin and forwarded to the Italian front. Others were printed inside Italy, many in the Fascist printing plants in Verona. The leaflets targeted British, Empire and American troops as well as Italian civilians.

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Leaflet 362-12-44 depicts two caricatured Jews having a pleasant dinner with two beautiful girls. There is turkey on the table and champagne is in an iced bucket at the end of the bountiful table. Above the happy party a ghostly image of a dead soldier is depicted. The text below the illustration is:

The fight for freedom!

The back is all text. It shows the same sentences repeated over and over from the top to the bottom.

Freedom for deception
Freedom for Jewish policy
Freedom for exploitation
Freedom for profiteering

Numerous German leaflets mention that the poor soldiers in the Allied Armies fight while the rich profit. Of course, it is understood that to the Germans the rich were almost always Jewish. Thus, although this would appear at first glance to be class message about the rich and the poor, it also manages to sneak some anti-Semitic text into the propaganda.

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Leaflet Kr-022-7-44 depicts a group of obviously rich men in tuxedos pulling the cover off of a statue of a dying soldier. Carving on the base of the statue is:  

They died that we might live

Text along the base of the street that the plutocrats stand on is:


The back is all text:

Rich Man's War - Poor Man's Fight!

That's a slogan we took from you - you not having had your social revolution but still clinging to the fiction of democracy, while in fact you are overpowered by Dictators Churchill and Roosevelt very much as communistic Russia is by Stalin.

You still have to get revolutionized in the course of the great events. That's what you are all feeling, you men in the street on the other side.

We have had our social revolution.  With us everybody is fighting to keep what has already been accomplished and is dead sure that more will follow.

That's our line anyway. It has only been interrupted by World War Two, Jews' World War II.

Rich Man's War - Poor Man's Fight!
That's how it stands with you.

That's how it stands with us.

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159/9 44

Sometimes the Germans tried to separate all of the enemy combatant forces. Leaflet 159/9 44 is a very simple drawing that could be understood by the most illiterate finder. It bears no text. It shows a small fish with a British flag (Churchill), being eaten by a larger fish with the letters “USA” (Roosevelt), being eaten by the largest fish of all bearing a hammer and sickle (Stalin). It clearly states that the Americans will devour Great Britain, but eventually be taken over by the USSR. America would use a similar technique during the Korean War when it would show Stalin pushing Mao, who pushed North Korea into war against the United Nations. The leaflets marked with the small triangle are usually identified as “Delta” and were produced by the Propaganda Einsatz Fuehrer of the German 14th Army. 


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For Officers Only

According to the Germans, it was not only the Jews who were the enemy of the fighting man. It was also his officers. In late 1944 and early 1945 they dropped a leaflet on American troops in both Italy and Western Europe. The front of the leaflet depicts a wounded soldier being treated by a medic. Just behind the pair, a third soldier is shown in the process of being hit by enemy fire. The text is, “For Men Only.” On the back, a couple shares a passionate embrace on a couch. The text is “For Officers Only,” This leaflet has a crinkled appearance, indication that it was delivered by either an artillery shell or a rifle-grenade.

A number of German divisive leaflets were aimed at black soldiers and tried to get them to stop fighting for the "white" American Army.

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Leaflet AI-110-9-44 depicts a white man with a pipe chasing a black man. Other white men seem to be clapping in the background. The photographs caption is:

Fleeing Negro, who is already hurt, is chased by Detroit mobsters. Lead pipe (center) was later used to finish him off.

The back is all text:


are created free and equal

Yes, that is what the declaration of Independence says.

Well, it's just Ballyhoo, always was. The white bosses want your peace-loving, hard-working colored boys just as


In World War I they promised your father's racial equality as a reward for fighting the war.

 What did they get? What did you get?

The lousiest jobs.
The lousiest flats.
The lousiest pay.
The lousiest chances.

Poverty, Unemployment, Race, Riots, Lynching, Hanging and Burning!


The general contempt of all Whites in the U.S.A.


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A second series of leaflets depict a black soldier on the front. Similar leaflets in the same series are AI-131a-10-44, AIa-131-11-44, AI-132-10-44, and AI-132a-10-44. The text above the soldier is:

Why is he smiling?

The back of the leaflet is all text:

He is out of it!

That's why he is smiling.  He and his pals have found out that the Germans give the colored man a square deal.

I have been treated very nice by the Germans since I have been captured.

                                                Paul King, Co. F, 370 Infantry.

                                                Thomas E. Carpenter, HQ Co., 2nd Bn., 370th Infantry.

          Sept. 23, 1944.

If you should be captured you'll see for yourself. In a POW camp you enjoy PEACE and SAFETY under the supervision of the International Red Cross.

Remember, the most important thing in the war is to get home alive.

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A third German leaflet to black troops uses the same general theme. The leaflet depicts two black babies on the front and the text: 

Tiny Tots want daddy back

The back is all text. Some of the divisive propaganda text is: 

Have you got a wife and cute children or a girl you want to marry?


Well, what chance have you to survive? Hardly any at all! Remember, back home the colored man always had to do the dirty work. On the front it is the same. Uncle Sam’s colored soldiers are just CANNON FODDER.

The leaflet ends with a German passierschein (safe conduct pass) at the bottom.

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The final German leaflet that uses race as a theme to demoralize and divide the black American soldier depicts two black civilians trying to enter a church to pray. They are blocked by a group of white parishioners. The long text explains that the two men were visiting on a Sunday and just wanted to enter the church but were attacked instead. Text on the back says in part:

In Germany anything like this would be impossible. Colored people living in Germany can always go to any church they like. They have never been a problem to the Germans. There have never been lynchings of colored men in Germany…

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The Germans propagandists were not consistent. Although they told the black troops about white prejudice at home and claimed that they would be treated better if they defected to the German side, at the same time they produced leaflets for white American troops that attacked and belittled the black troops, called them "niggers," and implied that they were drinking and carousing in Paris while the white troops were dying in the front lines. This is a common error found in German propaganda. They were seldom able to select a theme and stick with it. The Nazi Party had used propaganda for so long and so well on their own people that the Germans simply thought that whatever they said would be believed. They seldom followed their arguments all the way through to the logical conclusion.

This leaflet bears no code number. It is probably a product of the SS Standarte "Kurt Eggers" unit. The German government replaced the Wehrmachtpropagandaabteilung (Military Propaganda Section) in 1944 due to doubts of the Army's loyalty to Hitler. The SS was considered more loyal and trustworthy, and its propaganda would be more in line with Nazi racial and religious policy.

The leaflet is addressed to "YANKS" and threatens the American troops with news of the German Ardennes, or "Battle of the Bulge" offensive. The troops are surrounded, there are no reinforcements and resistance is hopeless. It tells the troops that their only hope is immediate surrender. From a divide and conquer standpoint the most pertinent comment is:

Have sense and take that end in your own hands. We know that you have no white laundry - it is colored just the same as those NIGGERS who are amusing themselves in Paris.


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>Don’t Fall for Enemy Propaganda

The poster, prepared by the Veterans of Foreign Wars seeks to protect Americans against the various German and Japanese rumors and divide-and-conquer attacks. It warns Americans not to be deceived and not to listen to the enemy.

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SKJ 2006

A German leaflet that attempts to cause disunity between soldiers and civilians depicts an infantryman with his M1 rifle at the top, and a civilian factory worker with a hand full of cash below. The text is:

He earns 15 dollars a week and risks his neck.


He makes 45 dollars a week and is safe at home.

The back says:

Take a look at these figures

ETO (European Theater of Operations)

7 days of fighting        $15.00
Saturday                           0.00
Sunday                             0.00
Overtime                          0.00

Your job: Privation and death

Home front

5 working days             $20.00
Saturday                           6.00
Sunday                            9.00
Overtime                       10.00

His job: A safe pleasant life
 Who wants the war in Europe to last?
You or he?

The “SKJ” code indicates that this leaflet was prepared by the German Skorpion organization and targeted Allied troops on the Western Front in 1945.

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The Germans even went so far as to try to cause dissension between Canada and both Great Britain and the United States. Leaflet AI-136-10-44 is all text. Some of the propaganda message is:


Canadian Soldiers!

Canada has built up a big war industry and is delivering war material to England without getting anything in return for it. How Britain appreciates your services is shown by the fact that British statesmen have often discussed with the U.S.A. your vital problems without so much as notifying you, not to speak of letting you participate in the discussions.

A striking example was the signing of the Atlantic Charter without consulting Canada.

Does any Canadian really think that the U.S.A. will tolerate a British Canada after the inevitable collapse of the British Empire has taken place?

Who does not see the writing on the wall?

It began with the ceding of strategic bases by Great Britain to the U.S.A. and it will end with the ANNEXATION OF CANADA by the Yanks.

Meanwhile you are supposed to do the dirty work for England.

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This German leaflet is very colorful attempt to split up the British Empire and the United States. This leaflet was delivered by German Rocket to American and British Troops in Italy during August, 1944. Uncle Sam (the United States) has stolen John Bull's (Great Britain) clothing, watch, hat, and boots, while Stalin (The USSR) is lurking in the background with a knife. The text on the back starts with “Germany has never wanted to conquer Canada” and goes on to list the alleged demands that the United States has made on Great Britain.

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121A / 5.44

Another regular German ploy was to attempt to separate the colonial Indian troops from their British Allies. The Germans fielded an Indian Legion and the Japanese trained and armed the Indian National Army (INA), both made up of prisoners of war and collaborators who volunteered to fight for India's "freedom" against Great Britain. The Indian desire to be free of British rule was a perfect propaganda theme of the German propagandists. 

The Germans first used the Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose, and later sent him by submarine to Japan where he was the figurehead leader of the Azad Hind (Free India) movement. Bose was a fierce and popular leader in the political scene in pre-independence India. He was the president of the Indian National Congress in 1937 and 1939. Bose was outspoken in his anti-British stance and was jailed 11 times between 1920 and 1941 for periods varying between six months and three years. He was the leader of the youth wing of the Congress Party, in the forefront of the trade union movement in India and organized Service League, another wing of Congress. He was admired for his great skills in organization development. When the second World War broke out in September of 1939, India was declared as a warring state on behalf of the  British by the Governor General, without consulting Indian leaders. The Congress party was in power in seven major states and all state governments resigned in protest. 

German leaflet 121A / 5.44 depicts Netaji (Leader) Bose in his INA uniform. The photograph bears his printed signature. 

The back of the leaflet is in Indian dialects and offers a safe conduct pass to any Indian soldier who wishes to surrender. Some of the text is: 

Most of you may be familiar with this face. If not, then listen. He is known as the national leader, and he is famous by his name. This man is ready to lay down his life for his country and you. Now he is calling for you to join in his fight for freedom. The British propaganda that the prisoners of war are put to death are all lies.

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Of course, the Allies fought back. One of the prime divide and conquer strategies of the Allies was to attack the German Schutzstaffel (SS), the quasi-military unit of the Nazi Party that served as Hitler’s personal guard and as a special security force in Germany and the occupied countries. The allies identified them as a powerful elite class out of touch with both the German people and the German armed forces. The Allies stressed that the regular SS received special privileges and that the Waffen-SS (the armed military SS) under Himmler's personal patronage had better training and was issued better weaponry. 

The British printed and disseminated three different leaflets on that general theme within a short period of 1942. Leaflet G42 was disseminated from 4 August to 5 October, G43 from 15 August to 6 October and G46 from 27 August to 6 October. All of them attacked the SS mercilessly. G42 and G46 are all text. G43 is a handsome pictorial leaflet that depicts two arrogant SS members in a pose reminiscent of royalty. The individual sitting in the foreground wears the uniform of the Sicherheitsdeinst (D), the unit responsible for counter-intelligence and rooting out enemies of the German State. The text beneath the picture a quote from the document in regard to the way the SS should feel about mixing with the German population and especially the German worker:

Such a contingent will feel a pride in its integrity and will therefore never fraternize with the proletariat and with that underworld which undermines the fundamental idea.

The title on the back of both G42 and G43 is: 

Hitler’s Charter for the SS 

The alleged SS secret charter is printed for the German people to read. The British state that the document was captured in Libya in March of 1942. The document was written by Hitler in 1940 when he announced the future tasks for the SS. It was circulated to German Generals in September 1940. In March 1941, it was circulated to all Army officers, still classified “secret.” The document itself is three pages long. The British proceeded to tear it apart and attack selected portions.  

All three of the leaflets have long propaganda messages. Some selected paragraphs from the three leaflets are: 

This secret document for the first time shows Hitler’s secret war aim. It is not the defense of Germany but the conquest of a new “Greater German Reich.” The task of the Waffen-SS in this new Greater German Reich is, according to his known words, the war on the inner front. 

Why does Hitler absolve the Army from action against the inner front? Because he cannot rely on the German soldier shooting his own brother Germans. “It must never again be tolerated in the future that the German armed forces, conscripted from the whole people, should be sent into action in times of interior crisis against their fellow citizens. 

Since August 1940 when Hitler decreed that the Waffen-SS “returning home in the ranks of the Army after having proved itself in the field, will possess the authority to carry out their tasks as state police” against the inner enemy, he has increased its size more than ten-fold and has made it into an independent body outside The army. 

Hitler cannot repudiate this document. He is admitting that he fights not a defensive war but one of conquest. He has specifically nominated the SS as a permanent army for civil war on the inner front. And the generals condone this handing over of the German people to Himmler’s soldiers.

The code “G” indicates that this was a standard British Political Warfare Executive leaflet aimed at Germany. The British used a simple alphabetic code in Europe. “F” indicated France, “B” was Belgium, etc.

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The Italian’s Hearts are not in this War

This 1943 leaflet was produced by the British Political Warfare Executive and designed to drive a wedge between the Germans and their Italian allies. It was disseminated from 10 April 1943 to 5 May 1943. The leaflet is folded and when opened is four pages of propaganda and test. The front depicts Italians surrendering in the desert and happy prisoners of war. The title seems quite appropriate. History indicates the Italians wanted no part of the war and were dragged into it by the Fascists. I don’t think that the Germans needed much convincing. I have read that when the Italians quit there was cheering in the streets of Berlin and comments like “We finally got rid of that anchor around our necks.” The leaflet says in part:


Over 300,000 have already surrendered to the English and Americans.

They are the happiest prisoners one has ever seen either in England or America.

…And are they so wrong? For them the war is over – a war which they have never been any too keen on – and one day they will return to their wives and children.

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Another page depicts Benito Mussolini, other Fascist leaders and King Victor Emmanuel. The text is:


Mussolini declares “We stand by Germany to the bitter end,” but at the same he has recently appointed his son-in-law Count Galeazzo Ciano as Italian Ambassador to the Pope. The Vatican State of which the Pope is the head is neutral. The Pope has always proclaimed that his highest political wish is “Peace on earth.”

A delegation of captured Italian generals led by General Bergonzoli was recently received by the Mayor of New York, Fiorello La Guardia. Mayor La Guardia comes from Italian stock and as everyone knows is not pro-German. In America, Italians are no longer legally regarded as enemy aliens.

Italy still has the same king as in 1915.

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A third page bears a map of the current war situation and the text:


They [The Italians] are not only defending Italy but are also entrusted with the defense of Yugoslavia, Greece, large parts of the South of France, Corsica, and Sardinia. In all, more than 3,000 kilometers of front line. Without the Italians the German Army would have to defend this 3,000 kilometers long Southern front line – quite apart from the Eastern and the West Front.

“Our two revolutions, the Fascist and the National Socialist, march shoulder to shoulder in an inseparable community of faith. They stand or fall together.”

As far as Fascism is concerned the falling has already begun. In the last five months the membership of the Italian Fascist Party dropped by 45%. (Officially announced by Vidussoni, Secretary of the Fascist Party, on the 12th March 1943).

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German War – Italian Tears

This British leaflet coded I/71r is aimed at convincing the Italian civilians that their men are dying in a German war. The front shows a dead Italian soldier on the field of battle while a vulture with a German swastika on its chest flies overhead. The text is:

Will you be the last victim?

The Allies and Axis both used propaganda telling the enemy not to die in the last minutes of a hopeless war. The back of the leaflet depicts a crying mother and her daughter. The text is:

How much longer will the German war make Italian tears fall?

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This is how the “Blood – Balance” appears!

One of the more interesting “Divide and conquer” leaflets was produced by the British black print shop of Ellic Howe. It was produced in 1945 and gummed on the back so it could be stuck on walls or wherever German troops congregated. The size is 107mm x 133mm with good paper quality and gum. The uncoded leaflets have been found in both Denmark and Norway and were probably shipped to all the occupied countries to be disseminated by the underground or patriots. The text tells the Wehrmacht that they are losing 37.8% of their members compared with just 2.5% of Nazi Party. To be honest, that would seem to be a logical number since the armed forces are at the front and generally speaking, Nazi officials are at the rear or inside Germany. However, some soldiers might have been influenced by the lopsided numbers of deaths between the military and the Nazi officials and turned against the Party. Lee Richards of Psywar.org translates the leaflet text:

This is how the “Blood – Balance” appears!

From the outbreak of war until January 1st, 1945:

Out of 18,672,334 soldiers       

Out of 1,551,709 political leaders

77,068,509 are dead, missing or prisoners

30,102 men are dead, missing or prisoners

The nation’s fighting forces lost: 

The Party Leadership lost:



 The percentage of losses among ordinary folk-comrades of military age is fifteen times as great as that among the political leaders of the NSDAP

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Leaflet 331 – Gestapolen

In early 1940, the British produced nine leaflets that directly attacked the action of the Gestapo in newly annexed Poland. The Geheime Staatspolizei, (“Secret State Police") was the central intelligence agency of Germany, under the overall administration of the SS. The British hoped that the brutal actions of the Gestapo would disgust the German people and drive a wedge between them and their own government’s policies. The leaflets in this series are numbered 331, 332, 333, 334, 336, 345, 347, 348, and 349.

Leaflet 331 depicts a black-uniformed ape-like thug holding a whip and a pistol, surrounded by burning buildings and dead bodies. The British dropped 846,255 of the leaflets over Germany between 21 March and 24 April 1940. The British bastardized the title combining “Gestapo” and “Poland.” The text on the front is:


They devastate whole countries and call it peace.

Is his the dream of life you are fighting for? 

The back of the leaflet is all text and consists of a number of statements from different individuals and organizations on the subject the treatment of Poles by the Gestapo and the illegality of the Polish annexation. One such comment from Gauleiter (an appointed political leader of a district in Nazi Germany) Greiser is: 

The destiny of the Poles will be hard but just.

The text ends with a long quote from an alleged radio broadcast by Radio Vatican calling Poland a vast concentration camp where the Germans steal the children and deport their mothers.  The final line of the leaflet is:

All this in the name of annexation.

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Where is Prien?

This British Political Warfare Executive leaflet coded 502 attempts to demoralize the German people by telling them that all the heroic submarine officers that have been honored by Hitler are either dead or captured. It also drives a wedge between the Party and the people by implying that they have been lied to by their leaders. Their heroes are not on the open seas sinking English ships, they are dead or imprisoned. The leaflet was dropped between the nights of 8 May to 23 May 1941. On the front we see Captain Kretschmer and the text:

They sailed against England.

Captain Lieutenant Kretschmer, the
"Wolf of the Atlantic" arrives as an English prisoner of war.

They do not return home

On the back, the leaflet asks about the other U-Boat captains:




What happened to these three officers, the most famous German submarine commanders, the ones to whom Hitler awarded the Oak Leaves on the Knight's Cross?

Schepke is dead. The German High Command had to admit it. Kretschmer is a prisoner-of-war. The German High Command had to admit it. And Prien?

Who has recently heard of Prien? What does the OKW have to say about Prien?


The German Christians against the Nazi Party

The Allies occasionally attempted to drive a wedge between German Christians and the Nazi Party. Germany had a long tradition of Christianity, but the Nazi Party persecuted the church to some degree, placed unfriendly Catholic and Protestant priests and ministers in concentration camps, and called Adolf Hitler both the political and God-like spiritual head of the German nation. The Gestapo were active everywhere, even to the extent of intruding into confessionals to trap priests into making unguarded statements. Priests were kept under active surveillance. Hundreds of clergy were arraigned before Nazi courts of summary jurisdiction and condemned to death or internment in concentration camps. In Dachau alone, no fewer than 2,771 priests were imprisoned, with at least 1,000 dying from hunger, disease or ill-treatment.The British saw an opportunity to work on the religious sentiments of the German people.

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Leaflet E.H. 528

Leaflet E.H. 528 is entitled “The Sermon of Bishop Clemens, Count of Graf, spoken on 13 July 1941.” The British disseminated the leaflets from 20 October to 27 November 1941. Leaflet E.H. 528 is “A Sermon of the Bishop of Münster and Correspondence with a Reich Minister accusing the Gestapo.” The RAF dropped these leaflets from 27 November to 12 December 1941. Some of the text is:


Clemens August Count von Galen, Bishop of Münster, was born in Dinklage in Oldenburg on March 16th, 1878. His family has been settled in Westphalia for centuries. He was ordained in 1904 and appointed Bishop of Münster on September 5th, 1933. On October 15th, 1934, he published a scientific contradiction of the untruths contained in Rosenberg's “Myth of the Twentieth Century.” On February 9th, 1936, the Bishop protested in a speech in Xanten against the repeated violations of the Reich Concordat. He renewed his protest in the summers of 1937 and 1938. On November 29th and December 21st, 1936 he sharply attacked the National Socialist methods of education. On July 31st, 1938, he protested in a pastoral letter against the expulsion of his representative in Oldenburg from Vechta. On Monday, July 8th, 1936, the population of Münster gave him an enthusiastic ovation at the big annual procession. Despite police prohibitions, such demonstrations were repeated in various parts of the Diocese. Particularly impressive was the demonstration in Sterkrade on November 8th, 1938. On July 13th of this year, after the sequestration of the Houses of the Religious Orders in Münster, the Bishop delivered a sermon in St. Lambert's Church, in which he indicted the tyranny and rule of terror of the Gestapo…

We must make ourselves ready to hear further such dreadful news in the next few days; that here, too, one monastery and convent after another has been sequestered by the Gestapo, and its inmates, our Brothers and Sisters, children of our families, true German comrades, have been thrown upon the streets like abject helots, hunted out of the country like criminals. Why? I am told: for reasons of State policy! No other reason is offered. No inmate of these monasteries or of this convent was held guilty of a misdemeanor or a crime. None was accused before a court, much less condemned! And if one were guilty, let him be set before a court! Is it permissible that the innocent be also punished?

Already often and recently we have seen how the Gestapo, without legal verdict or defense, has imprisoned innocent and irreproachable citizens, robbed them of their liberty, banished them from their homes and interned them – who knows where? In fact, during recent weeks two members of my closest council of advisers, the Chapter of our Cathedral, were suddenly fetched by the Gestapo from their dwelling, transported away from Münster and exiled to distant places, which were assigned to them for permanent residence. My protests to the Reich Minister have, during the past weeks, received no answer. But from inquiry made by telephone of the Gestapo, this much could be ascertained: against neither of these canons lies any charge or suspicion of any punishable dealings. Completely without fault of their own, without charge made against them, without chance of defense, they have been punished with exile…

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Leaflet E.H. 529

Leaflet E.H.529 is a booklet entitled “The Enemy in our Midst.” It consists of the alleged sermon of the Bishop of Münster, Count Clemens von Galen, spoken on 20 July 1941. Münster was the ecclesiastical capital of the strongly Catholic region of Westphalia. The Bishop had attacked the Nazis since the very early days of the Party’s rise to power in the 1930s. He took a consistently courageous stand against the racial and eugenic policies of Hitler and the Gestapo, and was unrelenting in his criticism of them. In the long text of the sermon, the Bishop criticizes the Nazis and encourages his flock to stand against them. He attacked the Gestapo mercilessly. Some of his comments are:

No German citizen had any defense against their power; they have replaced the courts and are above the law. Not one of us is certain, though he be the most loyal, the most conscientious citizen, though he knows himself innocent, I say that not one of us is certain that he will not any day be dragged from his house and carried off to the cells of some concentration camp. I know full well that this may happen to me, perhaps now or on some future day. And it is because I shall then no longer be able to speak out publicly that I do so today. I openly warn them not to pursue these actions which I am firmly convinced will call down God's punishment and bring our people to misery and ruin.

Last Sunday I publicly indicted, and branded as wrong, shrieking to heaven, the action of the Gestapo in closing the religious housing in Wilkinghege and those of the Jesuits in Münster, confiscating buildings and contents, hunting the inmates on the street and driving them from their homeland. The Gau administration confiscated the Convent of Lourdes of the Frauenstrasse.

He goes on to mention dozens of monasteries and religious institutions that the Nazis closed and looted. He continues speaking of the Hiltrup missionaries:

I recently happened to learn that 161 men are presently on service as German soldiers, some of them directly facing the enemy. Fifty-three Fathers are serving the wounded as hospital orderlies. Forty-two Theologians and sixty-six Brothers are bearing arms in the service of the Fatherland; some of them have already been decorated with the Iron Cross, the assault badge, and other decorations. The same is true of the Fathers of Südmuhle, the Jesuits of Sentmaring, and the Benedictines of Gerleve.

While these Germans, in true comradeship with the rest of their German brothers and at the risk of their lives are dutifully fighting for their homeland, at the same time here in the Fatherland, ruthlessly and without legal reason, that homeland is being taken away from them. There monastic home is being destroyed. What is to be the end of it?

He discusses the lack of a religious education for the children, now forced to join the Nazi youth groups. He attacks the loss of religious schools in Germany:

We clearly see and learn what is behind the new doctrines that for some years have been forced upon us. Religion is banned from the classroom, our societies are suppressed, and the Catholic kindergarten is in danger of destruction. An abysmal hate of Catholicism, which they wish to exterminate.

How right he was. Catholic Culture states:

Copies of the 1941 sermons spread all over Germany; hundreds of thousands were printed in response to requests from many cities. These and other sermons were so important to the Allies that they were printed by the millions and dropped by the RAF as anti-Nazi propaganda all over Germany and the occupied territories.

The leaflet was disseminated from 26 November to 11 December 1941. 

One of the directors of propaganda in the British War Office was Brig. General R. L. Sedgwick. He recalls that the bishop's sermons provided the War Office with the most powerful anti-Hitler propaganda. The BBC sent out transmissions specifically targeting the forty million German-speaking Catholics. Day after day, the radio broadcasts from London drove home the point of Hitler's hatred for Catholicism. The bishop's sermons were like "manna from heaven" in the propaganda war against the Nazis. There were also several mentions of the Bishop in various Luftpost airdropped newspapers. For instance, the Luftpost of 14 October 1941 had an article entitled “Sermon of the Bishop of Münster” on page 3. Other similar articles appeared in the issues of 21 October 1941 and 5 November 1941. 

The British also passed a number of rumors (they called them “sibs”) that mentioned the Bishop. Ellic Howe mentions several in The Black Game, Michael Joseph, London, 1982. PWE sponsored an “Underground Propaganda Committee” whose job it was to invent damaging rumors that could be spread in Germany and the occupied and neutral nations. Howe says that in mid-November 1941 the British passed a whole series of rumors mentioning Count von Galen. Such divisive rumors entailed the death of Catholic missionaries at the front and the desire of the Bishops to rid Germany of Hitler and to make peace with the Allies. Lee Richards wrote to say that another such “sib” coded R/752 was let loose in France about 14 November 1941. This rumor claimed that the German High Command denied their soldiers permission to attend Mass in French churches because some priests were reading extracts from Bishop Galen’s sermons from the pulpit. At the same time, a vast number of other rumors were simply aimed at the Catholics. Examples are the whispers that the pope was about to be forced from the Vatican or kidnapped by German agents.

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Leaflet G.3 - Christian Germans 

Martin Niemöller was a World War I hero as a German naval lieutenant and U-boat commander. He was ordained as a Lutheran pastor in 1924. One of the earliest Protestant critics of Nazism, he took part in founding a resistance movement called the "Confessional Church" of about 3,000 pastors. This was in direct opposition to the “German Christians,” a movement formed in 1932 and led by Ludwig Mueller. That group was supportive of the Nazi ideas about race and adopted anti-Semitism as well as respect for state authority. The pro-Nazi group wanted to form a Reich Church, which would bring together all Protestants in Germany. Niemöller also organized the Pastor’s Emergency League in 1933 to protect Lutheran pastors from the police. In 1934, he was one of the leading organizers at the Barmen Synod, which became an enduring symbol of German resistance to Hitler. From 1933 to 1937, Niemöller attacked everything that the Nazis stood for. With nine other pastors, he wrote to Hitler just prior to the 1936 Olympics: 

Our people are trying to break the bond set by God. That is human conceit rising against God. In this connection, we must warn the Führer, that the adoration frequently bestowed on him is only due to God.  

In 1937 Niemöller was arrested for treason and "malicious acts against the state." He was found guilty, but initially given only a suspended sentence. He was then re-arrested on Hitler’s direct orders. He was held for eight years in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps until the end of the war.  

The British Political Warfare Executive produced a leaflet coded G.3 in 1943 that depicted Pastor Martin Niemöller on the front. The back is all text. The leaflet is entitled "CHRISTIAN GERMANS." The British disseminated the leaflets from 11 February to 18 February 1943. Some of the long leaflet text is: 

On January 14, Dr. William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury and supreme head of the English State Church gave a sermon in one of the German Protestant churches in London. The Archbishop spoke about the incompatibility of the Christian creed and National Socialism and about the opposition of the Norwegian and Dutch Christians and continued: 

"Today we especially think of the church in Germany, for today is the birthday of Martin Niemöller, the man whose name became the symbol of Christian fidelity in resistance to oppression. 

You will not here want me to tell you once again of his heroic resistance. Many of you know it better than I do. But you are good enough to allow me, an Englishman, to express among you the feeling of reverence which English Christians share with you for the German man who has come to stand in our minds so conspicuously for Christian integrity amidst the spiritual corruption of Nazi Germany. 

With him we honor the other leaders of the Christian Church in Germany, both Catholic and Evangelical, who have stood boldly for the rights of Christian people and of the church itself….” 

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The Robert Ley Postcard

The British enjoyed attacking Nazi Party leaders and telling the working people of all the special privileges that the bosses received. One leaflet was in the form of a postcard. It depicted Dr. Robert Ley, the leader of the German Labor Front from 1933 to 1945.  

Sefton Delmer told the story behind this postcard in Black Boomerang. During the war, Delmer was in charge of a number of the "black" radio stations operated by the British. These broadcast in German, purportedly from pro-German patriotic groups opposed to the way the incompetent Nazis were fighting the war. One story was as follows:  

The father of a kitchen maid who had recently left her employ in the Ley household telephoned the Ley major-domo to ask for his daughter's ration cards to be sent to her. 

“This is the Palais Ley,” grandly answered the major-domo. “We have no ration cards here. We don't bother about them, you know. Here we have diplomatic rations.” 

A report like this was intended to infuriate the German people, who were suffering under a severe rationing system. Delmer continued:

We plugged the diplomatic-rations racket with such effect that Goebbels and Ley had to lay on a special campaign to counter it. Robert Ley himself went on record in Goebbels' newspaper, Der Angriff, October 12, 1943, to state, "We National Socialists know no such thing as diplomatic rations. Every man, whether he is a Reich minister or a Reich leader, has to live on rations just like any ordinary workman, mechanic and official. The normal rations are enough. I myself am a normal consumer and live on them." 

But by the time they got around to this dementi we were able to quote the decree authorizing special rations for diplomats and party officials with representational duties (R. E. M. 1,237/43 of 26.1.1943). We were even able to give them the color of the certificates and the exact scale of the diplomatic rations. 

The British postcard depicts Ley at the left. At right is, “The Normal Consumer and Reich Commissar, Reich Leader Dr. Robert Ley.” These are followed by Ley's “We National Socialists...” rebuttal reprinted from Der Angriff. The reverse side of the card proves Ley to be a liar. On it are printed, in German, the regulations that legalized diplomatic rations. The message reads: 

The ruling for diplomats, civic leaders and political leaders of the NSDAP [Nazi Party] which frees them from rationing in general, but which according to Herr Ley does not exist, can be found by anyone who is interested in reading the regulations of the Reich's Food Administrator concerning diplomatic food provisions of Jan.26.43. R. E. M. 1,237/43 signed by Secretary of State Backe. Among other things it states as follows: 

The chiefs of foreign embassies, civic and political leaders of the NSDAP, as much as they come under the Führer's edict of Oct. 2, 1939, and which fall under the listed categories, receive: 

1. For themselves and their families: All domestic prepared foods to the full amount as asked. Exempted are tea and coffee for which the maximum amount is: 125 gr. tea, 250 gr. coffee (for married couples 500 gr. of coffee). 

2. For their co-workers, domestic and foreign, the following are the weekly rations allowable by permit: Meat 2 kg., meat products 500 gr., lard 500 gr., butter 1 kg., cheese 500 gr., table oil 250 gr., rice 500 gr., nutriments 1kg., flour 1kg., sugar 1kg., tea 125 gr., coffee 250 gr. (married couples 500 gr. coffee), milk 1 liter (daily), marmalade 150 gr., cocoa 250 gr., and 4 eggs.

3. For special unavoidable parties given by civic or party leaders, additional foodstuffs can be granted. That decision is made only by the R. E. M. (Reich's Food Administrator).

So stuffs Ley himself, and so are stuffing themselves tens of thousands of other civic leaders and higher-ups of the Party, including their staffs. Some make it with permits, others with travel stamps (traveling leaders and party members receive a large amount of stamps to get their foodstuffs while traveling around the country). 

Good appetite Herr Ley - the last course is the heaviest. 

Sefton Delmer told me that the last line was meant to be a pun. The German word "Gang" could be translated as either "course" or "walk," and the word "schwerste" could mean either "heaviest" or "most difficult." Translated as "The last walk is the most difficult," the line implies that Ley's last walk will be to the gallows. This attempt at humor turned out to be prophetic. Since this is a black product with no indication of origin, the postcard bears no code or identification.

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Leaflet PWB-21

The Americans prepared numerous leaflets of a divisive nature. PWB-21 is aimed at the elite soldiers that were members of the Waffen-SS. It gives them an excuse to surrender by claiming that they were forced or drafted into the SS and tells them that resistance is futile. Some of the text is:

WE KNOW that you were brought together from all possible units of the Luftwaffe and Army. 

WE KNOW that you did not become SS-grenadiers voluntarily. You were put into the SS-uniform and then sent to the front lines without the necessary training. 

WE KNOW that, while you at the front are being forced by a few real SS-staff sergeants and SS-majors to continue the senseless fight, the higher Party bigwigs and true SS-men sit at home and force your women, children, and now even your parents to do slave labor for them.

WE KNOW the only safe way out of SS-slavery and out of needless bloodshed. 


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The front of leaflet PWB-47 depicts a map of Germany surrounded by the Allies. Part of the map is checkered and there are small bombs drawn all over Germany. Text at the top and bottom of the leaflet is: 

Retreat on all Fronts
German-held areas on February 11, 1945
Targets most frequently bombed in the last fortnight.

The back of the leaflet is all text and bear a long propaganda message. Some of the message is:

To All German Soldiers!

It must be evident to all German soldiers that this war, instigated by the Nazis, is hopelessly lost.

The result was inevitable, because, like the Nazi Party, the war was based on evil and unholy precepts. The Nazi Party dominates the German people through the rule of the gangster. That rule is; either agree with us and conform to our orders, or you will die or go to a concentration camp. The Nazi Party has maintained domination over the German people and the German Army through its violation of the noblest impulse of the Human heart, which is the love of a man for his family and his blood relatives. The Nazis have intimidated every German through the persecution of his helpless and innocent family. The whole German people permits itself to be dominated and ruthlessly controlled by one-quarter million SS gangsters under Nazi rule. No cause predicated on these principals has ever succeeded in a world of righteous men, nor ever will…


Rather than die in a hopeless cause.

Early in the war the Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB) of the Allied Forces Headquarters (PWB/AFHQ) was a joint US/UK organization in North Africa. Later in the war the 3rd U.S. Army produced approximately 56 different PWB leaflets for Germany.

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Leaflet PWB-51

PWB-51 targets the Volkssturm, the people's army made up of children and the elderly. It blames the Party leaders for their plight. Some of the text is: 

People's Levy Means People's Death! 

After driving millions of German soldiers to their doom the Party leaders are finally trying to sacrifice you too.

Only the Party leaders profit by the continuation of a war that's already lost. They know that the end of the war also means their end.

What does it mean to these irresponsible leaders that every additional day of this war means more suffering for millions of German women and children? What do they care that the price for the short prolongation of their mastery is the blood of the German soldiers and men of the Volkssturm?

The Party demands: "Fight to the last!'

The future of Germany demands: "Put an end to it!"

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Leaflet W.G.27

Leaflet W.G.27 also attacks the use of elderly men with poor equipment who were sacrificed in a battle against the Americans. 22,000,000 of these leaflets were printed by the Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces in Europe (SHAEF). 18,000,000 of these leaflets were dropped on 64 raids between 2 December 1944 and 9 March 1945. Some of the text is:


One battalion of Volkssturm was quickly throw together and sent into battle where the Americans had broken through. Soldiers of the Army asked, “if we cannot prevail against the enemy what can you hope to do?” The Volkssturm men also asked the same. They were armed with Italian carbines and French Lebel rifles, vintage 1886.

The Party bosses of Metz like Kreisleiter Schubert and SS-First Lieutenant Langkitsch sent the Volkssturm into battle at 1:00 a.m. when the situation had already become desperate. The fall of Metz was imminent. But there was still time enough for the Volkssturm to die. The Party bosses stayed behind in Metz.

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Leaflet W.G.23 blames the SS and SA for the woes of the German people. 8,200,000 of these leaflets were printed by the PWD of SHAEF. 4,396,000 of these leaflets were dropped on 9 raids between 30 November 1944 and 7 December 1944. Some of the text is:

The decision of the National Socialist prolongers of war to drag the civilian population into the interior of the Reich – if necessary by force – has been carried out with unspeakable brutality. Everywhere SS and SA gangsters have used the evacuation order as an excuse to terrorize the population and to loot. However, in nearly all cities and townships of the now occupied areas, thousands of families managed to save themselves and to effectively resist the terror of the Party.

In Kohlscheide the evacuation commander of the SS waged a regular warfare against the local population. Women and mothers were forcibly dragged into evacuation trucks while children hiding in cellars, remained behind alone. In spite of that a great part of the population managed to hide and regain safety. For them the war is over.

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Leaflet 8-18 English-language translation of back 

Both the Americans and the British tried to drive a wedge between the German Army and Air Force by asking over and over again, “Where is the Air Force.” The implication was that while the Army was dying in the trenches, the Air Force pilots and crew led a sheltered life behind the lines. 

The British 8th Army dropped a leaflet on German troops in Italy during 1943 and 1944 coded 8-18 that asked, Wo ist die Luftwaffe? (Where is the Air Force?) on the front.

The back had the following text: 

Yesterday no air cover
Today no air cover!
To-morrow no air cover!
To fight on is senseless!
To order men to fight on is

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Leaflet GE-233 

The American 5th Army produced a leaflet for German troops in the Balkans during 1943-1944 coded GE-233 that asked, Wo bleibt die Luftwaffe? (Where is the Air Force?). The grammar is a little different and the title could be translated as “Where does the Air Force Stay (or remain),” but for the purposes of intention the question is clearly the same as the previous leaflet. The front shows a group of infantry troops at the front and the text:

Where is the Air Force?

Even the best infantry fights in vain without air superiority. As experienced soldiers of the front you know what the lack of air cover means:

Every advance is impossible. Positions, reinforcements and transport are smashed by enemy aircraft. Bogged down at all front lines, the German Air Force is insufficient everywhere because production of aircraft goes down while that of the enemy is constantly increasing. The soldier is still fighting courageously and with exemplary endurance. But – a judgment has already been rendered for the air force. You know best what this defeat means to you.

The back depicts a photograph of a bombed aircraft factory. The caption is:

Focke-Wolf plants, Mardenburg, East Prussia

The text follows:

In the course of a week (20 to 28 February) the following plants were destroyed or damaged:

Aircraft works Regensburg-Prüfening (Messerschmidt fighter bombers). Aircraft works Regensburg. Obertraubling Messerschmidt aircraft works. Gotha Robert Bosch AG Stuttgart-Feuerbach (spark plugs). Daimler-Benz works, Untertürkheim (air engines and weapons). United ball bearing works Bad Cannstadt Naxos Union, Frankfurt. Focke-Wolf plant, Berlin-Treptow. Siemens machine-building works, Berlin-Lichtenberg (air devices). Henschel aircraft works AG Berlin-Johannisthal Klettner Ltd. Berlin-Johannishof (production and repair works). Focke-Wolf aircraft construction Ltd. Berlin-Johannisthal M.I.A.G., Brunswick (Me 110 components). General transport facilities Ltd, Lepsic-Mockau (production of Ju 88). Junkers aircraft engine works Leipsic-Mockau Erla machines Ltd. Leipsic-Mockau (Me 109).

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The fateful question: Where is the Air Force?

A third leaflet with the American code USG.31 was produced by the Office of War Information and targeted German civilians. It was dropped from 16 March to 18 April 1944. It is all text. The front is:

The fateful question: Where is the Air Force?

That is the question that our soldiers on the Eastern Front and in Italy ask again and again. “The Air Force defends the homeland,” is the answer given to them.


American bombers fly over Berlin in mass. They flew over the German capitol for the 5th time today. One naturally asks again: Where is the Air Force?



The text on the back is: 

On 9 March, a large American Army Air Force fleet attacked Berlin in daylight and encountered almost no fighter defense. Only 7 American bombers and one American fighter was lost.

The American Army Air Force

Where is the Luftwaffe?

Other leaflets with the same theme are: 

G.B.5 - Wo bleibt die Luftwaffe? (Where is the Air Force?). This British leaflet was dropped on German troops in the Balkans and Greece in 1944. 

G-200-5-1043 - Wir fragen mit Euch: "Wo ist die deutsche Luftwaffe?" (We ask with you: "Where is the German Air Force?"). A U. S. 5th Army leaflet for German troops in the Balkans during 1943-1944.  

No code - Wir fragen mit Euch: "Wo ist die deutsche Luftwaffe?" (We ask with you: "Where is the German Air Force?")

Details of the campaign are mentioned in an article entitled “Where is the Luftwaffe?" by Wallace Carroll in Persuade or Perish, Houghton Miffin Co., Boston, 1948. Some of the pertinent text is:

The British and American Chiefs of Staff and the planners of the invasion believed that, unless the Allies could achieve overwhelming superiority in the air, it would be impossible to invade Western Europe. 

With 2000 frontline planes the Luftwaffe might play havoc on D-Day with the Allied invading force - its transports, its landing barges, its men on the beaches. 

German fighters were declining combat except under conditions most favorable to them or over factory areas which had to be defended at any cost. 

The coyness of the Luftwaffe had already been successfully exploited in tactical propaganda. We now sought to adapt this theme to strategic propaganda and to develop it in every part of Europe - in Germany, in the satellite countries, in the occupied countries, and even among the neutrals. 

Wallace mentions some of the propaganda texts: 

Where is the Luftwaffe? The mystery of the whereabouts of the Luftwaffe is one of the most burning questions among soldiers. The subject of home-front bombardment is the most vulnerable point in the soldiers' morale.

It looks as if the Luftwaffe has decided that the Germans on the ground must bear the brunt of the air war.

During the Battle of Britain in 1940 the motto of the Royal Air Force was “Attack, attack, attack.” Young fighters went up six or more times a day and fought to exhaustion against overwhelming numbers of German bombers and fighters. Why is the Luftwaffe doing just the opposite tactics in the battle of Germany? This is one of the mysteries of the war.

The results? Not only were the D-Day beaches almost free from enemy air attack, but German Lieutenant General Kurt Dittmar said that the propaganda campaign against the Luftwaffe contributed greatly to the demoralization of the German ground forces.

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Australia Screams

The Government of Japan also attempted to drive a wedge between the Allied forces protecting Australia. One leaflet was aimed at the Australian Troops fighting in New Guinea and Papua. The front depicts a slick American officer holding a young lady who is struggling for her freedom. A ragged Australian soldier stands on a depiction of New Guinea. The text is:

Australia screams. The Aussie: "What was that scream. Something up?"

Meanwhile the American officer tries to quiet his victim and says:

The Yank: “Sh..Sh..Quiet Girlie, Calm yourself. He'll be on the next casualty list. No worry.”

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Japanese "The Spectre Commands" leaflet

Just as the Germans had implied that the British would fight until the last Frenchman, the Japanese said that the Americans would fight until the last Australian. In a leaflet entitled “The Spectre Commands,” American President Franklin Roosevelt is depicted as a figure of death, wrapped in a black robe with greenish skin. Beneath him an Australian soldier is shown bleeding to death with an American flag driven through his stomach. Text on the leaflet is: 

Roosevelt: Thou shall go Americans, and eat the Australians out of their homes if necessary...The Americans will fight to the last Australian.

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General MacArthur had determined that the best way to defend Australia was to fight the Japanese in New Guinea. The above leaflet attempted to persuade the Australian “Diggers” to abandon New Guinea and go home because their real threat was the American Army, to include black soldiers, who were training in Australia. The leaflet says that the Americans were seducing Australian women while their husbands and boyfriends were dying in the jungle. The leaflet reads:  

Hey! you Diggers! He came he saw conquered! Thinking you diggers will never come back alive The BLACKS and the YANKS are helping your wives, your daughters and your sweethearts --they are helpless without your protection. Your future happiness is at stake! One last Aussie simply means one more Yank safely in the house. Surely you'll not give up your lives to make this possible.

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You are our pals>

In late 1941 and early 1942 the Japanese tried to destroy the bond of friendship between the American and Philippine people. They intended to place the island nation into “The Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere,” an economic union that would be controlled by the Japanese government. The above leaflet depicts a Japanese soldier lighting the cigarette of Filipino soldier while the American Army retreats in the background. The text is:

You are our pals. Our enemy is the Americans.

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Capitalists Demand Red Endlessly 

Another Japanese leaflet implied that the war was all about profit and it was the American capitalists who would gain from the death and destruction. The leaflet depicted a hand squeezing blood out of soldiers almost like a tube of toothpaste. Dead soldiers are shown at the right and the word “Philippines” at the left. The text is: 

CAPITALISTS DEMAND RED ENDLESSLY! It’s your blood doughboys! But more and still more is to be squeezed out.

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Army vs. Navy

The Japanese even attempted to drive a wedge between the American military services. This leaflet depicts a U. S. Navy plane flying over Guadalcanal. The island is covered with burial crosses. The text is:

And the Navy solemnly took to the air but down below there was no glamour for the Army.

Later in the war, as General MacArthur’s island-hopping campaign left Japanese soldiers starving on the beaches, the United States would use the same propaganda message on the bypassed Japanese army troops.

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Force the Indian to Fight

There are dozens of Japanese leaflets that attempt to divide the Indian colonial troops from their British allies. Except for a very small minority, almost all of the leaflets are written in the various languages of the Indian subcontinent. One such leaflet depicts President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Chinese leader Chiang kai shek trying to push or pull a hesitant Indian into the fight against the Japanese. The text in Hindi and Bengali is:

The defeated countries, whose destruction is inevitable, are casting greedy eyes on India. Do not pay attention to their sweet talk.

Churchill holds a whip with a flag attached with text:  

We accept your demand for independence.

The implication is that the British will tell the Indians anything to get them to join the war against Japan. 

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U. S. Army leaflet 6-J-1

As we stated earlier, just as the Japanese had tried to split the Army and the Navy, the Americans used the same tactic. General MacArthur had decided that the most efficient way to fight the war in the pacific was to bypass strongly defended islands and leave the Japanese to die on the vine without food or military supplies. This leaflet points out the calamity that has befallen the bypassed soldier and blames the Japanese Navy for failing to come to his aid. 

The leaflet depicts a lone raggedy Japanese soldier standing on a small island looking out to the ocean. Text to the right of the soldier asks:  

Where are the ships and planes? What is going to happen to you? 

Text on the back is: 

General MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the South pacific, recently paid high tribute to the brave actions of the Japanese soldier:  

We cannot help giving our sympathy to you promising Japanese soldiers who have been forced into such miserable conditions as today. Your wild eagles, upon whom you depended so much, hardly show their faces, leaving you unprotected against the never-ending bombing of our air force. 

The Japanese Navy is withdrawing its ships from their bases and U.S. troops are successively pouring into the Japanese naval bases. As a result, you are cut off from supplies and reinforcements and now you cannot even expect to be evacuated. 

If you attempt to establish yourself in the mountains and make a last stand there, all that can happen is that disease will eat your flesh and hunger gnaw your bones, and your plight becomes worse and worse. Your comrades-in-arms, who were left behind in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, died hoping that friendly ships and airplanes might come to their rescue. 

Why must you die a futile death with this vain hope in your hearts?

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Leaflet 112

Office of War Information leaflet 112 is a wonderful example of a divide and conquer leaflet. It is larger than most at 8 x 10 inches. The leaflet is in blue ink on a white background. It depicts two forlorn Japanese soldiers on guard near their machine gun watching two officers walk toward a Japanese aircraft, obviously about to be rescued from being trapped on a besieged island. The purpose of the leaflet is to stir up resentment in the Japanese soldier toward his officers. The text is:

It seems rather strange to us that Japanese officers should be evacuated wherever possible, whereas ordinary soldiers are expected to remain behind and die. Such conduct is hardly consistent with Bushido, and surely your lives are as valuable to you as theirs are to them.

Recently, for example, the commander of the second fleet, together with several officers, was evacuated from Manokwari by plane and taken to Japan. He should have remained and led his men, but apparently officers of high rank act to please themselves. They preach Bushido to you, but they act upon different principals.

Is your life of so little value to you that you will throw it away in vain? A few minutes of thought should convince you otherwise!

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US Navy leaflet 408

Another American propaganda theme against the Japanese was the argument that although they had entered the modern industrial age, they were still led by feudal warlords who wanted only power and glory and did not owe allegiance to the Emperor. Navy leaflet 408 depicts the Japanese Emperor Meiji. The text reminds the troops that until 1868 feudal lords controlled Japan. The leaflet indicates that the militarists are nothing more than the rebirth of the ancient feudal lords and have usurped the power of the Emperor and need not be followed. The text is:

When the powers of government were restored to the Emperor Meiji in 1868, Japan truly became a nation and the loyalty of all citizens was given to the Emperor.

Before that time, feudal lords controlled the country and every man gave loyalty to the Lord under whom he lived. The restoration of the Emperor corrected this unfortunate situation.

Recently Japan has returned to the error of the pre-Meiji days. Militarists have usurped the powers of government. The name of the Emperor is used, but in reality there is a new bakufu in control.

To fight for men who have involved the nation in a hopeless war is not true loyalty. Give your loyalty to the nation. Cease resistance – save the homeland.

The bakufu mentioned in the text can be translated as "tent government." It alludes to the time when feudal soldiers lived in tents and controlled Japan through a military governmental system. The Emperor still functioned, and his court appointed civil governors, collected tax, and controlled his capital, but the feudal lords informally ran the country through control of the military and police functions.

Korean War 

Stephen E. Pease mentions divide and conquer operations targeted at civilians in Psywar - Psychological Warfare in Korea 1950-1953, Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA, 1992:

 1. The Chinese and Korean Communists have conspired to make Korea a puppet state to make you a slave. 

2. The Communists will exploit all Korea for their own purposes. 

3. The Communists lie when they preach peace and unity, and their actions reveal this truth. 

4. All Koreans are brothers. The Communist war immorally pits them against one another.

He adds about the leaflets:

They depicted the North Korean soldier as crude and brutal, a puppet of the Soviets or Chinese. They depicted Soviet advisors as a privileged class, using race prejudice to undermine their acceptance by the populace.

In reality, almost every Allied leaflet of the Korean War used a divide and conquer theme. Some told the North Koreans that they were a slave of the Chinese. Others told the Chinese that they were a slave of the Russians. Others told the North Koreans that they were slaves of both the Chinese and Russians. We will depict a number of leaflets and the reader should not how similar in message they are.

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Leaflet 1040 - Why die for China or Russia?

This United Nations leaflet indicates that the North Koreans were being killed on the orders of Moscow and Peking. Numerous leaflets pictured the North Koreans being urged forward by Stalin, Mao, or foreign commissars.

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Leaflet 1242 - Korean Ox, Chinese Servant, Russian Master!

United Nations leaflet 1242 was produced by the First Radio and leaflet group on 1 December 1952. It depicts Kim Il Sung pulling a hammer and sickle plow, while Mao Tse Tung drives the plow and beats his human ox and Josef Stalin laughs and supervises. The message targets the North Korean people and Army and uses the theme of the Russian and Chinese plans for North Korea. The title on the front of the leaflet is:

Korean Ox, Chinese Servant, Russian Master!

The back of the leaflet depicts Stalin pushing Mao, who is pushing Kim, who pushes a North Korean soldier into the flames, and the text:

The dumb ox, Kim Il Sung, plows up your land for master Stalin, as good servant Mao Tse Tung cracks 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, no Koreans were invited to come along. The 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!

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Leaflet 1256

At first glance the message would seem to be powerfully written. However, it violates a cardinal rule of PSYOP. The leader of the North Korean people is called a “dumb ox” and the insult and disrespect probably caused this leaflet to be totally inefficient. Even those Koreans who hated Communism and the war were probably incensed by this insult to their leader. It would have been better to just call Kim “Gullible” or claim that he had been deceived by Stalin and Mao.

The very insulting leaflet was suggested by the Republic of Korea PSYWAR staff and printed by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group on 16 December 1952. It depicts the Communist rulers of Soviet Russia, China and Mongolia kicking Kim Il Sung from the conference table. Some of the text is:

In Moscow, delegates of three nations, Russia, China and Mongolia discussed the Korean War. But Kim Il Sung’s puppet regime was not invited to this meeting. Do you know why Kim Il Sung’s puppet regime was not invited to this conference?

  1. Kim Il Sung’s puppet regime has become a nominal regime.
  2. To give no choice to Kim Il Sung who is a worthless puppet.
  3. They want to carry out their plan of sharing North Korea

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Leaflet 7240

Continuing on the “puppet” theme mentioned in the preceding item, this divisive leaflet, printed by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group on 3 April 1953 is designed to convince the Chinese fighting in North Korea that the Soviet advisors in their homeland are really intelligence agents. They are shown entering China on one side, and then manipulating Chinese puppets on the other. Some of the text is:

So-Called Soviet advisers are Russian special agents to control China.

Stay safe and keep fit for fighting against the Communist Soviet puppets!

This is a UN message to the Chinese Communist forces. Post it for them to see.

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Leaflet 7095 – Don't die for the communists

Leaflet 7095 targets the Chinese Army. It warns the soldiers that their lives are being wasted in a useless war. It drives a wedge between the soldier and the Communist Party. The front depicts the hand of death grimly counting his army on an abacus. Skulls, similar in size to abacus beads, form the background. The number shown on the abacus is 1,262,335. The back is all text:

Communist Leaders Celebrate Year in Korea.

While Chairman Mao and his henchmen gaily celebrate at home, Chinese soldiers continue to die uselessly in a foreign war. To date, 1,262,335 communist soldiers have died or been wounded in Korea.

As Mao celebrates the event, Death has his own celebration. Each click of the abacus means another communist soldier has died or is suffering. Each day the total climbs higher, higher, higher. Unless you escape, you too, will be killed or wounded.

Don't die for the communists. Save your life. Escape.

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Leaflet 7234 – Road to Failure

Leaflet 7234 depicts a Russian Officer riding on back of Mao Tse Tung. Two other Russians are mounted on Chou En Lai and Liu Shao Gee. This leaflet attempts to divide the Russians and Chinese. The road is labeled: “Road to failure.” The bone held in front of Mao is labeled “Political Power.” The text at the right is:

Chinese Subservience - The Chinese Communists bend body and knees to Soviet Russia!

The back of the leaflet has an illustration of a Russian Officer reading a  paper labeled "Plans for China" to three dogs whose heads are Mao, Shao and Liu.

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Leaflet 7255

Leaflet 7255 uses an interesting “divide and conquer” argument to drive a wedge between the Chinese “volunteer” troops and their Communist leaders. It uses a Chinese cultural image of a tortoise wearing a green cap. This “wearing a green hat” is similar to the western concept of a “cuckold,” or man whose wife cheats and makes a fool of him. Notice that the Russians are also mentioned, and any Chinese soldier’s hatred of the Russians was certainly considered “gravy.” The text in Chinese says in part:

Has the Russian inspired marriage law made a tortoise out of you and given you a green cap to wear?

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!

Although the leaflet is aimed at the Chinese, there was the probability that a North Korean would find it. As a result, each leaflet added in Korean:

This is a United Nations Message to the Chinese Army. Post it for them to see.

The First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group produced a series of leaflets under plan "Eris", purposely designed to create dissension between the North Korea People's Army (NKPA) and the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF). Two of the leaflets under plan Eris were 8321 and 8322.

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Leaflet 8321 - CCF Discrimination against NKPA

Leaflet 8321 depicts a two panel drawing. The first panel shows North Korean soldiers carrying supplies in rugged terrain. The second panel depicts a UN naval bombardment. The text on the front of the leaflet is:

Do you know why you are forced to be stationed at the eastern front?

1.  The mountainous eastern front occupied by the North Korean Army is much more difficult terrain than the western front occupied by the Chinese Communist Army. The road network on your part of the front is far worse than that in the Chinese Communist Army area, thus supply is a tougher problem for the North Korean Army.

2.  Furthermore, the eastern front is constantly exposed to the UN naval gunfire and has suffered from tremendous casualties.

3.  The Chinese Communist Army occupies the advantageous area and the North Korean Army is forced to be stationed in a more dangerous area because the Chinese Communist Army now practically controls North Korea.

The back of the leaflet was intentionally left blank to provide writing paper to the North Korean Army soldiers. Writing paper was known to be in short supply and it was hoped that the recipients would use this paper to write letter thus giving the message even wider circulation.

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Leaflet 8724

Another leaflet that is left blank on the back to be used as writing paper is coded 8724. The leaflet was prepared on 12 February 1953 by the Psychological Warfare Division of the Eighth Army and was used in “Plan Divide.” The front depicts a sad Chinese family wondering if their missing young man sent to Korea is dead or alive. The text is enlarged so that a passing Chinese “Volunteer” could read the message without picking the leaflet up from the ground. The text is:



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Leaflet 8322 - Chinese superiority complex

Psywar interrogation reports indicated that the Chinese in general considered the North Korean people to be inferior in culture, customs. military ability, etc. Leaflet 8322 was designed to create dissension between the NKPA and Chinese Communist Army by revealing the ill-concealed contempt of the Chinese for the North Koreans.

The front of the leaflet depicts CCF soldiers displaying a superior attitude toward abject North Koreans. The text on the front of the leaflet is:

The Chinese Communist Army considers the North Korean People to be an inferior race!

The text on the back of the leaflet is:

North Korean Soldiers:

Do you know that Chinese Communist Army secretly despises the North Korean people and holds them in contempt?

Kim Il Sung and Mao Tse Tung shout loudly of the great friendship between the Chinese Communist Army and the North Koreans but you know this to be false.

The Chinese Communist Army came to your country as so called "liberators" but have stayed as conquerors. Have they not taken control of all North Korea and are now prolonging the war needlessly?

Look! The Chinese Communist Army looks down upon you because they have 500,000,000 people and North Korea has only 9,000,000. Also because China is much bigger. Is this friendship?

Think! Have the Chinese forgotten your 5000 years of civilization and history? Your ancestors defeated seven Chinese invasions of Korea in ancient times. Is this not true?

Soldiers! Do you know that the Chinese Communist Army whisper to each other that you are cowardly and refuse to fight? Nevertheless, the Chinese Communist Army has forced you to the difficult eastern front while they have taken the better western front.

Has the Chinese Communist Army brought victory to North Korea? Beware of your real enemy - the Chinese Communist Army.

The First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group produced a whole series of leaflets that called "Divisive" in 1953. Some of the remarks that went along with the leaflets are:

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Leaflet 1276 - Inferior weapons

Leaflet 1276 (divisive) was intended to promote Korean dislike of the Communist Chinese by furthering suspicion that the Communist Chinese plans to take over North Korea. The leaflet was prepared by 2 February 1953 and depicts a 76.2mm divisional gun M1902/30 and a modern 152mm howitzer M1943. The text is:

The North Korean People’s Army has this – The Chinese Army has this.

The North Korean weapons are inferior to those of the Chinese.

On the back, China’s Mao eats a bowl of rice labeled “Korea.”   

The Communist Chinese give inferior equipment to the North Korean Army and keeps the best weapons for itself. 


To keep North Korea weak, so China can swallow Korea like so much rice!

North Korean people! Now you know why the Communist Chinese only gives the North Korean Army its inferior weapons! 

The Communist Chinese are your real enemy.

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Leaflet 1053

We now come to some leaflets that try to divide the North Koreans and Chinese by pointing out that the Chinese are stealing the food from Korean families, leaving them to starve. The Intelligence Section of the General Headquarters of the Far East Command produced this leaflet which depicts a North Korean soldier in the center thinking about the theft of food and other items plundered by his Chinese allies. There is a short text on the back:

The Chinese Communists said they had come to liberate us –

But they have come only to destroy us

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Leaflet 1281 - You are hungry

Leaflet 1281 (divisive) was designed to intensify animosity of North Koreans for the Communist Chinese by showing that they killed starving civilians who tried to get food in Wonsan, and that Chinese "help" shows itself in demands for Korean food.

The front of the leaflet depicts Chinese soldiers keeping hungry civilians from getting food at a storage depot. In the background the Chinese shoot civilians.

The text is:

You are hungry because of the Communist Chinese!

Chinese guards at a storage depot ruthlessly shot starving Wonsan citizens who begged for rice produced by your sweat and toil and stolen by the Chinese.

The Communist Chinese are your enemy! Drive them out!

The back of the leaflet depicts four Chinese soldiers giving orders to a Korean woman in her home:

Is this Communist Chinese help?

The men say: “What! No rice? Stew a chicken! Kill a pig! Prepare our beds!”

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Leaflet 1282 - Tax bite

Leaflet 1282 (divisive) was designed to intensify dissension between the North Korean people and the North Korean government because of the tax drain imposed by the Communists. It was prepared on 21 February 1953 and depicted a bag labeled “income” being devoured by wolves.  The title is:


The wolves are labeled:

Income tax, local administrative tax, material tax, fees for so-and-so, taxes for so-and-so.

The back depicts a Korean holding an empty bag:


Isn’t it true that workers, farmers, 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 the better life!


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Leaflet 1332 - How dare you...

Leaflet 1332 (divisive) was designed to enforce the dislike of the North Koreans for the Communist Chinese by showing their disregard for Korean welfare and laws. The leaflet was prepared on 25 May 1953 and depicts a Chinese truck pushing a civilian cart off the road. The text is:


Next time they will show some respect for us. 

The back depicts Chinese soldiers cutting down trees, while a North Korean civilian is beaten for doing the same thing:


How dare you cut down trees, you Korean peasant! Only Chinese troops may cut down Korean trees! You….   

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Leaflet 8667 – Friendly Fire

United Nations Leaflet 8667 attempts to divide and conquer the enemy on several fronts. It is one of the few leaflets I have seen that uses friendly fire as part of the propaganda argument. In August 1952, the British troops reported that poorly led Chinese patrols occasionally mistook each other for the enemy and engaged in firefights leading to meaningless deaths. They requested a leaflet with this theme. The vignette on the front of the leaflet depicts Chinese soldiers firing at each other with rifles and machine guns. The caption is:

Your cadres’ incompetent leadership makes you kill each other.

The back is all text and besides accusing the cadres of being incompetent, also claims that the Chinese leaders are “running dogs” of the Russians. An interesting propaganda attack on two fronts. Some of the text is:

Chinese Soldiers

Night after night the UN troops have seen the patrols of your units engaged in fire fights with one another. Because of incompetent and confused leadership on the part of your cadres, you rain a fiery death from rifles, machineguns, mortars and grenades upon your own men.

As Soviet running dogs, the Chinese Communist cadres are not only militarily incompetent in that you are caused to fight each other, but also politically cruel in that your loved ones at home are plunged into an inhuman life like being burned in fire or drowned in water [abject misery].

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Leaflet 6004

This leaflet calls the Chinese officers cowards and claims that every time there is a bombing or strafing they run away and leave the enlisted soldiers to die. The front of the leaflet depicts a pile of dead Chinese troops being bombed by U.N. aircraft. The text is:

Where did your officers run away and disappear to?

The back is a long-all text message and says in part:

Your companions-in-arms, who were taken prisoner after being wounded, always said that, “Whenever we were attacked, bombed and machine-gunned by aircraft, none of our officers remained with us. They ran away leaving us behind, and without fail, always disappeared somewhere.”

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Leaflet 8716

Leaflet 8716 is a particularly interesting divide and conquer leaflet because it is one of the few to depict Russian dictator Josef Stalin and was part of a campaign entitled "Plan Divide."  The leaflet was printed on 16 January 1953 by the Psychological Warfare Division of EUSAK. The leaflet was aimed at Chinese troops in front of the Eight Army lines and blamed Stalin for their being sent to Korea. Some of the text is:

Warriors of the Chinese Communist Forces!

Behold the murderous symbol and crafty face of your betrayer!

Look about you. Many of your comrades are gone. Killed in useless attacks.


Because Stalin and the Russian Communists have forced you into this war. Because they care nothing for dead Chinese soldiers.

Before we leave Korea I want to mention ridicule as a PSYOP theme. Ridiculing the enemy can be effective because it is hard to counter, but it can be dangerous because it can turn the target audience against the originator of the campaign. The Public Diplomacy White Paper No.7 article “Ridicule as a Weapon” by J. Michael Waller explains in part:

Dictators, tyrants, and those who aspire to seize and keep power by intimidation and force can tolerate no public ridicule…Ridicule is a powerful weapon. It can be a strategic weapon. Some of the reasons that ridicule is so powerful because:

  1. It sticks.
  2. The target can’t refute it.
  3. It is almost impossible to repress, even if driven underground.
  4. It spreads on its own and multiplies naturally.
  5. It boosts morale at home.
  6. To the enemy, ridicule can be worse than death.

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Leaflet 8619

Leaflet 8619 uses ridicule as a theme in an interesting way. It was printed by the Psychological Warfare Division of the Eighth Army. The leaflet ridicules the Russian leaders for selling obsolete weapons to the Chinese. Yet, it depicts the Russians laughing at and ridiculing the Chinese for foolishly buying their old military junk. You might say it is “two for one. The leaflet is in cartoon form and consists of six panes. The Russians wonder how they will discard the old katyushas rocket launcher system. The weapon was known during WWII as “Stalin’s Organ,” so named by German troops due to the sound of its rockets, and its organ-like appearance. The clever Russians devise a plan; they will sell the weapons to the Chinese and tell them that it is a secret weapon; they demand cash on delivery; the Chinese money is stolen by the “big noses” (a little insult to the Russians tossed into the text); and finally the Chinese own the old WWII weapons and the Russians have their cash. The leaflet ends with a song which says in part:

Ever since China dispatched troops to aid Korea hundreds of thousands of youngsters have been sacrificed.

Your people are now living in hunger and cold; they still have to donate money to buy planes and artillery.

The Russian “Big Brother” is a treacherous fellow who is only good at cheating you.

He sells scrap iron and copper as precious pearls and extorts high prices for the so-called secret weapons.

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Leaflet 7230

This divisive leaflet printed by the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group on 2 February 1953 depicts Chou En-Lai begging at Josef Stalin’s feet for better support. He holds a sign that reads; “Please help us…Mao Tse-tung.” Some of the text is:

Soviet Russia holds back full support from Communist China!

Chou says; “Since entering the Korean War, we have sustained almost a million casualties and deaths! We can’t count the amount of weapons we have lost. Please help!

Vietnam War

The Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO) Guidance Number 20 entitled National Psychological Operations Plan for Vietnam dated 12 September 1966 says in part:

A psychological offensive in Vietnam must aim at the achievement of the following objective:

To make the people aware of the truth that the Communist leaders of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong offer nothing but alien schemes which are oppressive and reactionary, have failed everywhere tried, and are, in fact, merely the instrumentalities of an international conspiracy and of Red Chinese imperialism; and to inspire the people with contempt for the Viet Cong who expose the nation to death, destruction, misery and oppression, and who oppose the creation of a truly Vietnamese social order and the preservation of Vietnamese values and traditions.

It is clear that one objective of the U.S. PSYOP leaflets was to drive a wedge between the Vietnamese people and the Communist Party, and to further link the Communist Party with Red China. Two leaflets that were dropped on North Vietnam that clearly feature that theme are numbered 25 and 26.

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Leaflet 25

Leaflet 25 depicts a Lao Dong (Communist) Party commissar carrying a snake labeled "Red China" into a hen house. Text on the front is:

The Lao Dong Party brings the snake in to kill the people's chickens.

That message is based on an old Vietnamese saying. The back is all text:


Recently a photo exhibition on the Communist Chinese unshakable friendship for the Vietnamese people was held in Hanoi and Peking. Here is one view the Lao Dong Party failed to include in the exhibit!


William Lloyd Stearman headed the North Vietnamese Affairs Division of the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office from December 1965 to September 1967. He states that when he arrived he was the only officer in the Saigon mission that had actual experience with Communist affairs. Stearman says that the early leafleting campaign was not as effective as it could have been in his book: An American Adventure, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2012. He says that in 1965 leaflets like this one were ineffective:

[JUSPAO] got most of its information about the North from Vietnamese who came South in 1954 to escape Communist rule in the North. More than ten years had elapsed since they left and much had changed in the interim. In other words, their knowledge about the North was hopelessly outdated. I went through all the leaflets in our inventory and had a number of questions about them. I decided to show them to captured North Vietnamese Army soldiers to see their reaction. I was not surprised to see that they didn't seem to understand the messages.

For one thing, there was a constant harping on the Chinese menace. Chinese forces, especially artillery, were in a large measure responsible for the decisive Communist defeat of French forces at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. China provided considerable military assistance to the North…In other words; I believed the people in the North had begun to look on the Chinese more as friends than as foes….

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Leaflet 26

Just in case the villain was unclear to the target audience, leaflet 26 depicted a caricature of Mao Tse Tung sitting on bags of Vietnamese rice and handing a rifle and a pitchfork to Communist Party commissars that are drawn as a horse and a ox. The two uniformed animals are next shown walking over the bones of dead Vietnamese. Text on the back is:

Dear Compatriots,

Did you know that the "Big Brother from the North" has pledge his full support to the Lao Dong Party's aggressive war in South Vietnam...until the last drop of blood?

Whose blood?

Vietnamese blood!

Demand that the Lao Dong Party stop the war against innocent people in South Vietnam and save your rice.

This type of message is seen again and again. For instance, leaflet 7 in this series says:

The Communist Government in Hanoi has taken the rice and rice paddies of the people to give to the Communist Chinese as an exchange for weapons and ammunition so that they can kill our innocent people in the South.

Leaflet 97 adds:

Over the centuries, China has invaded and enslaved Vietnam. This is the country that claims you have "boundless love" for its leaders. The Lao Dong Party, which is Chinese controlled and follows the bidding of its Chinese masters, was responsible for the so-called Tet offensive in the South that cost more than forty thousand Vietnamese lives on both sides. Was it "Chairman Mao's thought" that made all this possible?

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Leaflet 245-1-67

In the Korean War section above we show leaflets that indicated that Stalin and Mao were forcing the North Koreans to their death in a foolish aggressive war. Here we see a very similar leaflet produced in 1967 by the 245th PSYOP Company in Nha Trang. This leaflet depicts Mao pushing Ho Chi Minh, who in turn forces a poor Viet Cong member forward into explosions and death. 600,000 leaflets were printed at the request of the 9th Republic of Korea Division soldiers fighting in Vietnam. Some of the text on the back is:

The Communist leaders in North Vietnam and Red China are pushing you to your death. Do you have any reason to fight and die for their evil sins? Think twice before you die. Are their lives more precious than your own lives?

Leave them! The sooner the better. The ROK forces are your real protectors who will give you a new life. Rally to our forces! The ROK forces pledge humane treatment to all who rally.

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Leaflet SP-2316

As the Vietnam War dragged on, JUSPAO continued to attack the Viet Cong in an attempt to separate it from its base of support among the people of South Vietnam.

Vertical leaflet SP-2316 has two cartoons on the front. At the top a Viet Cong guerrilla opens fire on a U. S. helicopter from an open area in front of a farmer's hut. In the second picture, the helicopter returns fire, killing the farmer and setting the hut on fire while the guerrilla runs for cover. Text on the back is: 


The evil Viet Cong use your homes and land as a sanctuary for their secret activities. When they are detected, the armed forces must attack them, and your property may be damaged.

 You must not help or hide them. You must keep away from them because the government does not want to hurt you or damage your property if they are seen hiding on your land.

Protect yourself and your property. Support the national program that is winning throughout the country.

The concept of this leaflet is certainly a valid one, but it never quite explains how the farmer is supposed to protect himself and chase the armed Viet Cong from his land.

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Leaflet 246-226

This crude cartoon attempts to divide the local people who might lean toward liberation from the more militant Viet Cong main force units that have left their villages and fight as a large unit in the jungle. It tells the people that the hard-corps Viet Cong are pushing to the front those less-experienced and less-motivated people who come out from their villages at night to help the guerrillas when attacking well-defended targets. 100,000 copies were printed to be distributed by air. The leaflet consists of three panels. The front depicts Viet Cong telling the local volunteers to attack. The back shows dead guerrillas in front of an Allied position, and the final picture shows happy Vietnamese in front of a Chieu Hoi building. The text says on the front is:

It has been reported recently that several leaders of main force units in your area have forced local guerrillas to charge in the first wave of assaults. This way their clever leaders do not lose so many of their experienced main force fighters because local guerrillas take most of the casualties in the assault. Don’t let yourselves be sacrificed like animals. Do not die a useless death.

The text on the back is:

The leaders care nothing for your lives. They care only about the success of the battle. Don’t let yourselves be sacrificed like animals. Do not die a useless death. Rally today, the Government’s Chieu Hoi program will save your life.

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The Vietnam War is a Hell hole…

The Communists fought back. They produced a number of leaflets that attempted to split the unity of the American Army by showing bad treatment of blacks in the United States. One depicts a black man being arrested by a club-bearing white police officer. A picture on the back depicts a black soldier crawling in a swamp. Some of the text on the back is:

The Vietnam War is “a hell hole of racism for the Negroes GIs over and above the usual hell of war” ( Philadelphia Independent).

Your real enemies are those who call you “Niggers.”

Your genuine struggle is on your native land.



On 2 August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and quickly conquered and occupied the tiny nation. Overwhelming disapproval of Iraq’s actions led the United Nations Security Council to authorize the use of a coalition of allied troops to protect Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries, and to liberate Kuwait. A six-week air campaign called Operation Desert Shield destroyed Iraq’s military capabilities and destroyed the morale of the frontline Iraqi troops. On 24 February 1991, Operation Desert Storm commenced and Coalition ground forces attacked Iraq, overwhelmingly defeated them, and caused them to retreat under fire back to Iraq. The coalition forces disseminated approximately 29 million leaflets during the Gulf War. From the start there was a decision that the Iraqi people would not be targeted for PSYOP. Instead, Saddam Hussein and his ruling Baath Party would be targeted in an attempt to separate the people of Iraq from its leadership.

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Leader of the dead!

This Coalition leaflet depicts Saddam Hussein as a deaths-head on the front. The same sort of imagery was used against German leader Adolf Hitler during WWII. Text on the front is:

Leader of the dead!

The back depicts Saddam sitting on a throne of skulls atop a pile of skulls. The text is:

As of now 500,000 dead!

That number certainly was a culmination of his murder of the Shiites to the South, the Kurds of the North, and those lost in his long war with Iran.

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It is the Law

This leaflet depicts Saddam having his hand cut off by a sword bearing the flags of the major Coalition nations. Cutting off the hand is an old Arab penalty for theft. His hand is in a pool of blood at the bottom of the leaflet with a symbol of the nation of Kuwait. Text on the back is:

It is the law. Saddam will not continue with his crimes unpunished.

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Citizens of Iraq

The final leaflet depicts a dove of peace flying over Kuwait. There are a number of signs stuck into the ground that read:

Saddam is against peace

Iraq unite against Saddam


Help Iraq, stop Saddam

Text on the back of the leaflet is:

Citizens of Iraq. Saddam is the cause of the war and its sorrows. He must be stopped. Join with your brothers and demonstrate rejection of Saddam’s brutal policies. There will be no peace with him.

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Is he worth dying for?

At the same time that the Coalition was attempting to vilify Saddam Hussein and take away his public support, Iraqi propaganda attempted to split the Arab forces in the Coalition by saying that the Kuwaiti and Saudi rulers were not true Muslims, and that they snuck off to Europe to drink and carouse with women.

This Iraqi leaflet depicts a British, Islamic and American soldier thinking about the Kuwaiti Royal family, one member of which is at the “Sheraton Taif” hotel with two women and a bottle of unidentified, but clearly alcoholic beverage. Text at the bottom of the leaflet is:

Is he worth dying for?

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My Brother Arabic Soldier

A second Iraqi propaganda leaflet indicates that the Coalition is actually a tool of the Jews, an interesting theme that can be traced back to Nazi Germany. The leaflet depicts a heroic Iraqi soldier at the left. At the right are four Coalition soldiers. One of the Islamic troops imagines the friendship between his Arab nation and Iraq. The text is:

My Brother Arabic Soldier: Who are you fighting? Remember that the ones you are fighting today are the same ones that mixed blood with yours in Palestine, in Sinai and in the Golan Heights. How can you think to remain on the same path with the Zionists and Americans against Iraq?

These leaflets are interesting because they try to sell Saddam Hussein as a good Muslim and Iraq as a faithful friend of the Arabs. However, Saddam had murdered Muslims of other sects and invaded a fellow Arab nation. It was a hard sell.


In 1999 the United States was forced to take part in a military action against Serbia. The Serbs were murdering their own minorities in Kosovo in what was called “ethnic cleansing.” According to documents released by the United States Army, 104.5 million aerial leaflets were dropped over Kosovo during the 78-day air campaign of Operation Allied Force. Two divide and Conquer themes were used. In the first, the Serbs were told that the war was not against them, but against leader Slobodan Milosevic and his Serbian murderers. In the second, and attempt was made to drive a wedge between the Serb Army and the police force that was responsible in part for some of the atrocities. 

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Leaflet 04-B-02-L002

An example of the first theme is Leaflet 04-B-02-L002, “Is it really his to gamble?”

A gruff looking Slobodan Milosevic is depicted on one side. The text is:

For years, Slobodan Milosevic has gambled with the future of the Serb people. His policies have lost Krajina, Western Slavonia, Baranja, and Sarajevo. Now he gambles again with his pogrom in Kosovo. He is wagering Serbia's sacred places, her place in the world, and the lives of his own people. Are these truly his to lose?

The other side of the leaflet shows a burning building. Text to the right of the burning building is:

Is it really his to gamble?

This same general format was used on about seven leaflets other leaflets, with the Milosevic portrait sometimes in red, sometimes in blue. NATO aircraft dropped 7.6 million of these leaflets.

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Leaflet 03-K-06-L001

03-K-06-L001. One side of the leaflet has the text in blood red:

 Your blood, their rewards

The other side of the leaflet depicts two Serbian Interior Ministry Policemen (MUP) and the text:

Attention VJ Troops! While you endure NATO bombing in the field, low of fuel and supplies, unpaid and past your service obligation, the MUP return home to count the profits from their confiscated “booty.” They draw regular pay, use your equipment at your expense, and investigate you for not following their orders. Meanwhile, you have been drafted and forced from your families to wage a war which you know is dishonorable and wrong. The only thing you share is blame for the MUPs atrocities."

Like Hitler’s “SS” and Hussein’s “Republican Guard,” The police are considered loyal to President Slobodan Milosevic. They are better equipped and often receive better treatment than their army counterparts. The inequality of treatment has created a long-standing animosity between the two services. NATO aircraft dropped 2.7 million of this leaflet.


The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon by terrorists of the al-Qaida group. Leaflets were prepared to drive a wedge between the general population and the Taliban leadership and al-Qaida terrorists who were depicted as foreigners who brought death and destruction upon Afghanistan. The Taliban is made up of non-Afghans, particularly Pakistanis. It was believed that the Afghans feared and disliked them, and thus they were an obvious PSYOP target.

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Leaflet AFD-24

Probably the best example of the first type of leaflet was dropped on 23 October 2001 on Jalalabad and Kabul. Leaflet AFD-24 depicts terrorists at the left and right targeted by a sniper's crosshairs in red. Text at the center in Pashto and Dari is:

Drive out the foreign terrorists.

The back of the leaflet shows a member of the Taliban religious police whipping a woman in a burqa at the left. The Religious Police will whip women on the street DIVIDE AND CONQUER PSYOP that they feel are not dressing in accordance with their strict interpretation of the Koran. Text at the right reads:

Is this the future you want for your women and children?

The Religious Police will whip women on the street that they feel are not dressing in accordance with a strict interpretation of the Koran.

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Leaflet TF11RP03

One of the better attacks against al-Qaida is almost a “black” leaflet.  Leaflet TF11RP03 depicts Osama bin Laden shaved except for his mustache, in a western style suit and tie. This altered image was designed to offend fundamentalist Muslims. The text is:

Osama bin Laden the murderer and coward has abandoned you.

The back of the leaflet show a dead Afghan. The text is:

Osama bin Laden the murderer and coward has abandoned al-Qaida. He has abandoned you and run away. Give yourself up and do not die needlessly. You mean nothing to him. Save your families the grief and pain of your death.

This leaflet implies that bin Laden has abandoned his fundamentalist ways and is hiding in the west. If believed, it would certainly demoralize his men and those Afghans who supported his movement. The leaflet was dropped in January and again in November 2002.


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The Nation of Colombia fought what amounted to a civil war for decades against a terrorist organization called The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a guerrilla movement involved in the continuing Colombian armed conflict since 1964. The United States helped the Colombians by sending PSYOP specialists to train their army, design leaflets and posters and help in the distribution. It was learned in Vietnam that many of the guerrillas were infuriated by the better treatment of their commissars, especially the better food, housing and women. While soldiers in the field were not allowed any sort of sexual contact, the bosses regularly had women in their tents. This leaflet for FARC guerrillas makes use of all of that. It depicts the boss with plenty of food and even a woman that is just out of the picture. Meanwhile the guerrilla eats some rice from a banana leaf. This is truly “divide and conquer!” The text is:

Don't suffer further humiliation.

Why keep dealing with hunger, empty promises, diseases, maltreatment, and torture?

Call Us!

We have barely scratched the surface of the use of divisive propaganda in warfare. This article is intended only to introduce the subject. Interested readers who have personal experiences or questions concerning the use of divide and conquer psychological operations are encouraged to write to the author at sgmbert@hotmail.com.

© Copywrite, all rights reserved - 29 November 2004