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6 January 2018 at 12:54 pm
3 December 2017 at 5:47 pm
3 December 2017 at 4:35 pm
25 November 2017 at 7:29 pm
3 November 2017 at 3:44 pm
23 September 2017 at 6:27 pm
2 September 2017 at 6:59 am
31 August 2017 at 5:13 pm
31 August 2017 at 11:37 am
22 August 2017 at 8:31 am
News, Comment and Updates
Posted on 18 February 2018 at 10:10 am
US Army Field Manual. “As a military weapon, psychological warfare is no newer than the rumors whispered about Hannibal, the wave of terror spread in advance of the armies of Genghis Khan, Philip of Macedonia, and Attila the Hun, and the methods used by George Washington to increase desertion among the Hessians. What is new about psychological warfare is the manner in which it recently has been systematically organized and used as an integral part of military operations. Experience has demonstrated conclusively that psychological warfare is a highly effective weapon which can be used to minimize expenditure of human life and destruction of property. It is not a substitute for battle, but a supplementary means of combat which can facilitate and exploit success on the battlefield. Psychological warfare has limitations and disadvantages. One American army commander who achieved outstanding success in World War II expressed this idea when he said, “Psychological warfare had an important place in the European Campaign. It can accomplish much good. It can also be extremely harmful.” It is the duty of commanders to understand how to secure the beneficial effects and to avoid those which are harmful.”
Posted on 06 November 2017 at 18:06 pm
This sixth auction of the aerial propaganda collection of the late Dr Rod Oakland. Lots include more Second World War German propaganda to Allied troops, OSS and PWE black propaganda, EH/SOE leaflets to Germany, propaganda to South East Asia, Soviet Front-Illustrierte colourful magazines for German troops, and US leaflets dropped in the Korean War.
CLOSING DATE 9 DECEMBER 2017 MIDNIGHT GMT
Posted on 15 October 2017 at 16:04 pm
Posted on 20 September 2017 at 11:11 am
Posted on 09 July 2017 at 11:11 am
Recently I have been re-examining PWE and SOE archives in even greater depth with a vague idea in mind of writing a greatly expanded version of my book ‘The Black Art’. The document below was found during this renewed trawling. It is a definition of terminology included as an appendix to a draft memorandum discussing the current situation of Research Units in November 1943. One member of PWE comments that the draft memorandum is not only excellent but “the first comprehensive and lucid treatment of this subject.”
Posted on 03 July 2017 at 14:02 pm
This next PsyWar.Org auction of Dr Rod Oakland's propaganda leaflet collection includes more very rare OSS Morale Operations and British PWE black propaganda items, German leaflets for Allied troops, and PsyWar leaflets from the Korean War. Other items include a small selection of colourful Japanese leaflets for Allied troops and PWE leaflets dropped over Occupied France.
(As the start of this auction was delayed, it will run for a shorter time than previous ones)
CLOSING DATE 4 AUGUST 2017 MIDNIGHT GMT
Posted on 02 July 2017 at 17:05 pm
Last week the Ministry of Defence released a further batch of documents to the British National Archives relating to the Falkland Islands Conflict (Operation Corporate). One document in this batch covers the role of psychological operations. Although much has already been written on this subject, the document provides new details regarding the planning of psychological operations and the difficulties experienced. Lessons learned are outlined in the paper reproduced below.
Posted on 26 May 2017 at 10:10 am
Black propaganda covers all those forms of propaganda which are not identified with HMG and which have the appearance of springing spontaneously from the local population without British inspiration or connection. A memorandum by Reginald Leeper, head of the Political Warfare Executive’s Country Headquarters, July 1942.
Posted on 24 April 2017 at 21:09 pm
Raymond Schuhl is the stuff of legends. Hardly anyone knows his name and yet in WWI as a member of the French Army he went to Switzerland and produced anti-German leaflets. In WWII, after the fall of France, he did it again. He faked his death, went to Switzerland where he joined with the American OSS to head their propaganda campaign against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
Posted on 09 April 2017 at 06:06 am
So PsyWar.Org has finally got too big for its boots. In order to progress current plans would mean migrating to a dedicated, read very expensive, hosting solution. As that is a not a practical long-term option, effective immediately the Psyona archive is off line. Going forward plans for the leaflet archive, and other database projects, will need to be scaled back and probably video content will also be removed.
Existing articles and other content will not be affected by this scaling-back. The Rod Oakland leaflet collection auctions will also continue until the whole collection is disposed of. Thanks to all those that continue to support the website, the site is not disappearing but we just have to curb our ambitions.
Posted on 05 March 2017 at 12:12 pm
A full record on the use of political/psychological warfare field units by the British Army is a conspicuous omission in the history of Political Warfare in the Second World War. A brief overview of the majority of those field units is attempted here, although due to the fragmentary nature of existing records it should be considered incomplete.
Posted on 05 February 2017 at 17:05 pm
New auction now active. As in previous auctions, offered here are many examples of rare German leaflets dropped on Allied troops in the Second World War, British underground black propaganda and American OSS clandestine leaflets, stickers and forged newspapers. This auction additionally includes a large set of CT series leaflets produced by the Psychological Warfare Division, US 1st Army for German troops in Northwest Europe, 1944/45. The last lots consist of a small group of fabric MI9 Escape and Evasion maps.
Posted on 26 January 2017 at 09:09 am
Posted on 27 November 2016 at 08:08 am
Thanks to all those who took part in the PsyWar Leaflet Auction. Email notifications have now been sent to all successful bidders.
Posted on 09 October 2016 at 16:04 pm
Our third auction is now underway to sell the leaflet collection of the late Dr Rod Oakland. Rod was renowned for his expert knowledge of the subject and his considerable collection of leaflets covering a wide variety of fields. Rod held regular leaflet auctions and this and the following ones will proceed in the same vain. The auction has numerous rare and beautifully illustrated leaflets from the Second World War, Korea War, Suez Crisis and Aden.
Posted on 25 July 2016 at 21:09 pm
Radio Atlantico del Sur (RAdS) was the psychological operations radio station broadcast by the Ministry of Defence to Argentine troops during the latter part of the Falklands Islands Conflict. This is a draft OD(SA) interim assessment suggesting possibilities for the radio station, it dates from around 12 May 1982.
Posted on 25 July 2016 at 15:03 pm
This short overview of several psychological warfare operations conducted in the early Cold War period was submitted as an annex to a British Defence Coordination Committee (Far East) meeting to discuss the requirements of psychological warfare equipment for Cold and Limited War in the Far East. The paper was submitted in the autumn of 1958.
Posted on 07 July 2016 at 16:04 pm
The second PsyWar.Org auction is now active. Listed for sale is part of the leaflet collection of the late Dr Rod Oakland. Rod was renowned for his expert knowledge of the subject and his considerable collection of leaflets covering a wide variety of fields. Rod held regular leaflet auctions and this and the following ones will proceed in the same vain. The auction has numerous rare and beautifully illustrated leaflets from the Second World War, Korea War, Vietnam, Algeria, and the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan. More Escape and Evasion Blood Chits also included.
CLOSING DATE 13 AUGUST 2016 MIDNIGHT GMT
Posted on 30 May 2016 at 15:03 pm
An analysis by Captain John C Lyons of leaflet dissemination devices released from aircraft as developed through the Second World War. Descriptions of the various methods employed to drop leaflets from planes are given including the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Not all methods employed or experimented with are detailed in the article but nevertheless it gives a good overall picture of the means used to drop leaflets. The article is undated but appears to have been written in the closing months of the war in Europe, around April or May 1945.
Posted on 05 May 2016 at 22:10 pm
Posted on 18 April 2016 at 21:09 pm
The first PsyWar.Org auction is now active. Listed for sale is part of the leaflet collection of the late Dr Rod Oakland. Rod was renowned for his expert knowledge of the subject and his considerable collection of leaflets covering a wide variety of fields. Rod held regular leaflet auctions and this and the following ones will proceed in the same vain. The auction has numerous rare and beautifully illustrated leaflets from the Second World War. Not only aerial propaganda leaflets but other military ephemera including MI9 Blood Chits for downed aircrew and Montgomery's famous messages to the troops.
Posted on 11 April 2016 at 09:09 am
The 15th annual Information Operations Summit: Countering Violent Extremism has been designed from the ground up to provide influence and communications professionals with a forum to discuss their biggest challenges in countering extremist messaging and preventing the radicalisation of the next generation of terrorists. Taking place in London, UK from 15th-17th June, the symposium will address the communication challenges faced by both the Armed Forces and the domestic agencies when countering violent extremism. Some of the experts that will be sharing their insight include:
Download the full programme and speaker list for more information.
Posted on 10 April 2016 at 20:08 pm
Posted on 13 February 2016 at 13:01 pm
PsyWar.Org Director, Lee Richards' new paper, "The Rainbow in the Dark: Assessing a Century of British Military Information Operations" has been published in the inaugural edition of Defence Strategic Communications, the peer-reviewed official journal of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. The article begins at page 42.
Posted on 12 February 2016 at 18:06 pm
Posted on 17 January 2016 at 18:06 pm
Posted on 27 November 2015 at 16:04 pm
Radio Atlantico del Sur was a Spanish language radio station operated by the UK Ministry of Defence as part of its psychological operations campaign conducted for Operation Corporate – the recapture of the Falkland Islands following the Argentine invasion in April 1982. The radio station, known as ‘Project Moonshine’ within the Ministry of Defence, was operated by a specially created group called the Media Assessment Team (MAT). The station broadcast from studios in Mayfair, London, via a requisitioned BBC transmitter on Ascension Island. Its first broadcast was on the evening of 19 May 1982 and continued for 47 broadcasts until 15 June.
Posted on 17 November 2015 at 17:05 pm
Posted on 11 November 2015 at 09:09 am
The five Indian Field Broadcasting Units now operating in Burma had their origin in a single Forward Propaganda Unit which operated in the Arakan campaign of 1943. This Unit – like the present five units – was under the command of Major G L Steer who had considerable previous experience of forward propaganda work in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The main purpose of the units is to carry out front-line propaganda against the enemy, and also behind the enemy lines.
Posted on 10 October 2015 at 15:03 pm
Submission to the Chiefs of Staff, SHAEF, outlining covert propaganda techniques being applied in support of Operation Overlord. Further assistance is requested from the Royal Air Force to take German radio stations off air so to allow intruder broadcasts and to increase dissemination of the Nachrichten für die Truppe newssheet, 4 August 1944.
Posted on 07 October 2015 at 13:01 pm
Posted on 06 October 2015 at 17:05 pm
Following his highly-regarded direction of forward psychological warfare in Ethiopia in 1940-1941, George Steer authored this report giving his personal opinion on how further Army field propaganda units should be organised in the North Africa campaign. Within a year the 1st Army Field Propaganda Company was established on broadly similar principles as outlined here. Steer would later form the Indian Field Broadcasting Units under the direction of the Special Operations Executive. Tragically Steer was killed in a vehicle accident in Burma on Christmas Day 1944.
Posted on 26 August 2015 at 19:07 pm
In the Autumn of 1943 the Political Warfare Executive initiated the compilation of a Political Warfare Training Manual. The contents were agreed with the intended manual covering such topics as the history of Political Warfare and the formation of PWE; Political Warfare directed against the enemy and allies; intelligence, instruments of Political Warfare including visual (leaflets) and oral (broadcasting); training schools, and Political Survey. The manual’s progression soon reached deadlock following disagreement over the quality of the first chapter drafted dealing with Political Survey. Within several months the project was effectively abandoned. The only other part of the draft manual that appears to have survived in the files is a portion of section 6: Instruments of Political Warfare. It covers the role of broadcasting in Political Warfare and specifically that of the BBC’s contribution. It is reproduced here.
Posted on 26 August 2015 at 18:06 pm
The Psychological Warfare Photograph Archive has been updated with a batch of Second World War images from the Office of War Information Archives. New additions include leaflet dropping using Monroe bombs and the use of combat mobile loudspeakers.
The archive now contains over 160 images on the theme of PsyWar and psychological operations from the First World War to recent operations in the Middle East.
Posted on 21 August 2015 at 17:05 pm
The 13 Amplifier Unit was mobilised on 14th April 1944. Along with four other Amplifier Units and their accompanying Leaflet Units, its function was to provide mobile loudspeaker support for Allied psychological warfare, consolidation and civil affairs activities for Operation Overlord. The 13 AU landed in France on the late afternoon of 10th June, a fortnight later it made probably its most valuable effort when broadcasts by the unit directly netted around 1,200 German prisoners of war and was instrumental in the capture of the French port of Cherbourg. The after action report reproduced here from the 21st Army Group Publicity and Psychological Warfare war diary recounts these events.
Posted on 07 August 2015 at 22:10 pm
Posted on 19 June 2015 at 10:10 am
Your very last invitation to join the world's leading experts and opinion formers to discuss and debate violent extremism
Taking place in London from 29 June - 1 July 2015 the Countering Violent Extremism event focuses on how military influence professionals as well as senior government, intelligence professionals and charities and agencies can work to counter the spread of Violent Extremism. The symposium looks at the use of open source intelligence to pursue non-state actors (including social networks etc.) and the subsequent utility of strategic communications activity for both military and cross-government entities. Download the agenda >>
Call +44 (0)20 7036 1300 to Secure Your Place Now
Who is attending?
US Marine Corps Information Operations Command, NATO, British Army, HQ ARRC, French Army, Italian Army, NATO Rapid Deployment Corp, NATO SHAPE, AFRICOM, Bundeswehr, UK MoD, US Army, National Security Council of Ukraine, ISAF, EUCOM, Active Change Foundation, National Crime Agency, Royal Danish Defence College, InCoStrat, Embassy of Ukraine, SOCEUR, University of Exeter, Canadian Armed Forces, National Ground Intelligence Centre, University of Cardiff, Levant 7, EUREKA Research, Leonie Industries, Promo-Fix, DSTL, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, Mission Media, APCO, TSN.
Posted on 27 April 2015 at 10:10 am
Fifty years ago today the US Government authorised Operation Power Pack. It was the start of a four month military intervention in the Dominican Republic to suppress a left-wing uprising following from years of internal dispute in the country. David Hagen, US Army Broadcast Specialist E-4 with the 1st Psychological Warfare Battalion, recalls here the PsyWar support provided to the operation.
Posted on 18 April 2015 at 18:06 pm
As the Office of Strategic Service Morale Operations branch in the European theatre of operations was liquidated in the summer of 1945 following Germany's defeat, the Chief of the branch wrote this final report outlining the branch's propaganda activities run from London since late 1943. OSS-MO in the ETO worked closely with the British Political Warfare Executive in the development of "black" propaganda. It contributed all the entertainment programming on the Soldatensender West clandestine medium-wave radio station, supplied editorial staff for the production of the "grey" daily airdropped newspaper Nachrichten für die Truppe, and invented a large number underground rumours. The Morale Operations branch later also operated its own black radio stations and produced its own subversive propaganda literature for infiltration into Occupied Europe.
Posted on 16 April 2015 at 14:02 pm
Since its inception in 1958 the PsyWar Society has published a quarterly magazine, The Falling Leaf, which is an invaluable source of news, articles, and information about the history of psychological warfare and aerial leaflet propaganda. After editing the magazine for nearly forty years Reg Auckland, a co-founder of the Society, retired at the end of 1997. Many of the articles are written by Reg Auckland and collectors and historians alike owe him a great debt for publishing the results of his researches. He was succeeded for a number of years by David Minshall. The editorship of The Falling Leaf was handled over to Lee Richards in 2004. Due to declining membership and a lack of volunteers to take on key positions within the Society, The Falling Leaf ceased publication in 2012. The final issue was a special edition, printed in full colour and numbering 136 pages.
As his last act as Editor of the PsyWar Society journal, Lee Richards has created this full-text search engine of The Falling Leaf.
Posted on 29 March 2015 at 19:07 pm
Throughout the Cyprus Emergency of the late 1950's a constant theme of EOKA and Greek Nationalist propaganda was to accuse British Security Forces of conducting a campaign of brutal repression against the Greek Cypriots. Detention Centres were labelled as Nazi concentration camps, Greeks, it was claimed, were erroneously accused of terrorist activities, and British soldiers blamed for beating up and whipping children and for trashing the homes of innocent Greek families. These allegations were not only spread locally on the island but also pursued on the international stage. To counter this particular stratum of pernicious propaganda, in June 1958 the Cyprus Government formed a Special Investigations Group to document the activities of the Security Forces and expose EOKA lies and exaggerations.
Posted on 26 March 2015 at 10:10 am
As you may be aware the Countering Violent Extremism Event is taking place in London between 29 June - 01 July 2015.
Brought to you by the same people as the famous Information Operations Summit the event broadens the remit of that past symposium by inviting senior government, military and intelligence professionals to create a forum focused on countering violent extremism, the use of open source intelligence to pursue non-state actors (including social networks etc.) and the subsequent utility of strategic communications activity for both military and cross-government entities.
Posted on 16 March 2015 at 15:03 pm
Today's BBC1 Heir Hunters show featured an interview with PsyWar.Org Producer Lee Richards discussing PsyWar in the Second World War.
The interview focused on Major Ronald Glue, Royal Engineers, who commanded a mobile printing unit in Europe. The unit printed PsyWar leaflets and various other things like Union Jacks for use in the liberation of Paris, maps and passes for the Potsdam Conference and the very first editions of 'Soldier' magazine.
The interview was filmed at the Royal Engineers Museum last summer. Watch online through BBC iPlayer (UK only) for the next seven days:
Posted on 22 February 2015 at 15:03 pm
Following the Operation Overlord landings in France, the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF issued monthly reports titled 'The Leaflet Propaganda Front'. The reports gave a brief overview of military operations with a review of leaflet production and dissemination during the period. Intelligence received on enemy reactions to the leaflets from prisoner of war interrogations or captured documents was also included. The first report issued that www.psywar.org is aware of covers the August/September 1944 period and is reproduced below.
Posted on 31 January 2015 at 01:01 am
Evoking the spirit of the Second World War ‘Chindits’ special forces, the British Ministry of Defence has established a new 77 Brigade.
The Ministry of Defence says 77 Brigade, formally to be created on 1 April 2015, is responsible for the integration and delivery of all non-lethal and non-military effects on military operations. Specifically it will support "the delivery of Information Operations, including psychological operations and deployed media operations looking at the traditional and unconventional means of shaping behaviours through the use of dynamic narratives. It is also responsible for providing specialist capabilities to integrate the full range of national levers with deployed military operations ranging from reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to support to political, economic and commercial operations and the integration of local forces that can support desired effects. 77 Brigade will play a key part in enabling the UK to fight in the information age."
The Brigade, based in Hermitage, Berkshire, is 42% reservist and is also finding "new ways of allowing civilians with bespoke skills to serve alongside their military counterparts".
Posted on 18 January 2015 at 16:04 pm
The following background brief was prepared by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Research and Analysis Department in March 1982. The brief gives an overview of Soviet propaganda directed to Western Europe. The suggested principle aims of Soviet propaganda being to portray NATO as a threat to world peace, to cause division amongst NATO members and other European countries, to create fissures in the alliance between Europe and the United States, and to shape the Nuclear disarmament debate in the Soviet Union’s favour.
Posted on 09 January 2015 at 11:11 am
Posted on 02 January 2015 at 18:06 pm