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A glossary of terms and abbreviations related to psychological warfare, propaganda and intelligence.
PsyWar.Org Director, Lee Richards' 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. (PDF)
"It has been amply demonstrated that American employment of propaganda, psychological warfare (PsyWar), psychological operations (PSYOP), or whatever one chooses to call the activity that these terms are intended to describe is neither revolutionary nor un-American. In this essay the origins of the terms "PsyWar" and "PSYOP" will be described."
This short article looks at the genre of aerial photography in leaflets and how the effects of Allied aerial bombing have been used to undermine enemy morale.
October 14, 2001. Article on PsyOps in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom by Tom Zeller. (375Kb)
How African-Americans have been exploited in enemy divide and conquer psychological warfare campaigns from World War I to Vietnam.
A general history of U.S. PSYOP aerial leaflet warfare.
Aerial leaflet drops on enemies, neutrals, and civilian populations is an afterthought in American airpower historiography. Airpower historians have traditionally preferred topics such as strategic bombing, tactical ground support, airpower's place in national strategic planning, and the like. But since the introduction of the airplane into combat operations in the early twentieth-century, American civilian and military officials have ordered leaflets to be dropped with bombs. Historians have not sufficiently explored the topic of leaflet drops conducted independently of or in conjunction with actual combat operations. Therefore, because comprehensive studies of leaflet drops are scarce, an historical overview of the topic will add an important dimension to the study of the projection of American airpower in its conflicts...
A thoroughly researched article documenting the history of "voice" loudspeaker aircraft used in psychological operations from WWII to the present day.
A bibliography of Psychological Warfare and Military Propaganda Reference Books.
Psychological warfare researcher and collector of aerial leaflet propaganda passed away unexpectedly at the end of 2015.
Former Special Operations Executive agent and black propagandist Erik Gjems-Onstad died after a short illness on 18 November 2011.
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS)-the predecessor of today's Central Intelligence Agency-used "Black" or subversive propaganda during World War II to beat down the morale of the Axis troops. The Morale Operations (MO) Branch created the propaganda. Cpl. Barbara Lauwers, a creative GI in the MO program, helped develop the propaganda programs intended to crush the spirit of the enemy. She participated in several successful missions during her two years with the OSS.
During WWII Ed was part of the Morale Operations Company of the 2677th OSS Regiment in Italy. As such, he helped plan and organize Operation Sauerkraut, a campaign to use volunteer German prisoners-of-war to bring American propaganda behind enemy lines.
A 1944 official report on the work of the 5th US Army Combat Propaganda Team, part of the Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB/AFHQ), in Italy during World War II. The report covers propaganda leaflet design, printing, and firing by artillery shell. As well as describing their own work, the report covers Nazi propaganda leaflets dropped over the front lines in the 5th US Army sector and reactions of Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW) to Allied aerial leaflets.
Formerly restricted British War Office psychological operations guidance notes for officers.
This doctrine addresses the use of military psychological operations (PSYOP) assets in planning and conducting PSYOP in support of joint operations across the range of military operations.
Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2-5.3 provides Air Force doctrine for psychological operations (PSYOP). It supports basic aerospace doctrine and basic information operations (IO) doctrine contained in AFDD 2-5, Information Operations.
This manual, Joint Psychological Operations (PSYOPS), B-GJ-005-313/FP-001, was prepared to detail Canadian Forces procedures and processes to plan and conduct Psychological Operations. Published by the Canadian Department of National Defence in 2004.
The British 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group has published its first Annual Report which highlights its activities over the last year. The group has been heavy committed in Iraq and Afghanistan and has greatly increased its technical capabilities over the year.
Le Courrier de l'Air was an airdropped leaflet newspaper for occupied France and Belgium. Printed in London, it was dropped over the First World War western front by free-floating paper balloons. Courrier was the production of a branch of Military Intelligence known as MI7b and from May 1918 edited by Edward Heron-Allen. Here follows a report written by Heron-Allen in November 1918 giving the production history of Courrier. The same title would be resurrected for a new airdropped newspaper in the Second World War.
Official report on the work of department M.I.7(b) during WWI. Crown Copyright, 1920. (PDF File, 89Kb)
Originally published in 1919 bythe Times, this booklet documents British propaganda work in the First World War. Topics covered include: Propaganda in war as theory and in operation, German activities, early British propaganda work, Wellington house, the Department of Information, the formation and scope of the Ministry of Information, Viscount Northcliffe becomes director of propaganda in enemy countries, operations against Austria-Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria, methods of distribution of literature, tributes to Lord Northcliffe's work from Hindenburg, Ludendorff, and the German press. (PDF File, 7.9MB)
By Captain Morris. Official report written circa 1920 on leaflet dropping during WWI and more specifically on the court-martialling of captured British Airmen by the German authorities for disseminating subversive leaflets. (PDF File, 714Kb)
An official report written in World War I on the effect of British Balloon Propaganda as shown by the statements of Prisoners of War.
An official report on German propaganda dropped from the air over Italian troops frontlines in the First World War.
An official report by Captain P. Chalmers Mitchell, M.I.7b(4), 23rd February 1918, describing methods of aerial propaganda leaflet dissemination, including details of the experimental "Fire Balloon", effects of propaganda and German counter-propaganda.
An official report by Captain P. Chalmers Mitchell, of MI7(b)4, dated 12th March 1918, summarising the current methods of distributing aerial propaganda leaflets over the German front line in World War I. The report looks at dissemination by aircraft, balloons, kites and rockets.
Dr Rod Oakland's article on the propaganda leaflets of the Spanish Civil is to date the most in-depth look at this subject in the English language. As well as giving a background to the cruel and bitter civil war, Dr Oakland's article analyses and illustrates numerous airdropped propaganda leaflets from both the Nationalist and Republican sides of the conflict.
Political Warfare Executive and its forerunners
Instructional notes issued to Royal Air Force Intelligence Officers to assist them with their talks to aircrew under training regarding the effectiveness and importance of dropping propaganda leaflets. (The codeword 'Nickel' was assigned by the Air Ministry to refer to propaganda leaflets.)
An analysis of British air-dropped leaflet propaganda in the Second World War published in an issue of the Air Ministry Weekly Intelligence Summary.
Official report on British Psychological Warfare during WWII by Y. M. Streatfield, Crown Copyright, 1949. (PDF File, 290Kb)
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.
British Government War Cabinet memoranda reporting on psychological warfare to Germany between 1939-1940. Most were written by Sir Campbell Stuart, head of Department EH. They discuss the effects of the dropping of propaganda leaflets on Germany, relations with France and with the Press, propaganda policy, and other aspects of the propaganda war. (PDF File, 381Kb)
This is a draft report written in June 1940 by a member of the British Government's Department for Publicity in Enemy Countries, also known as Department EH. The report is an appreciation of the situation Great Britain finds itself in following the defeat of France and looks at ways to successfully continue the fight against Nazi Germany, particularly from the point of view of the propaganda war.
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.
A short PWE secret manual compiled in 1942 outling concepts of psychological warfares. (PDF File, 229Kb)
The early history of British PsyWar in WWII. (PDF File, 560Kb)
British PsyWar organisation during WWII. (PDF File, 1MB)
The "V-for-Victory" campaign began three years to the day before another famous invasion of Europe was launched. On 6 June 1941 - Friday, 23:15 BST - the first shot was fired in the "V-for-Victory" series, which continued for a year, and unquestionably aided during a very critical period in bolstering the morale of enslaved peoples in a score of occupied countries... Article from 'Army Talks' magazine, September 1945.
On the night of 25/26 April 1942, the Royal Air Force on a mission to Occupied France, dropped not just bombs but a rather more unusual package over Paris. The package contained 600 French Francs and the following message. Its intention was to publicise the radio propaganda broadcasts of Colonel Britton and his "V" army.
An account of the work of the balloon leaflet distributing unit. (PDF File, 3.16MB)
A well illustrated official PWE Publication issued to RAF aircrew to explain the value of propaganda leaflet drops, Crown Copyright, 1942. (PDF File, 4.5MB)
Pamphlet issued to RAF aircrews by the Air Ministry explaining the rationale and necessity of leaflet missions.
A Political Warfare Executive memorandum charting the development and improvement of British air-dropped leaflet propaganda to Europe from the start of the war until 1943.
A lecture on the use of artillery shells for distribution of propaganda leaflets by Captain D.J. Alexander. Circa 1943/44.
Office of War Information
Details of US PsyWar throughout WWII by F. Prosser & H. Friedman.
Reproduction of a restricted U.S. Office of War Information illustrated booklet highlighting the value of airdropped propaganda leaflets. (PDF File, 5.4MB)
A report on the activities of the Office of War Information in the European Theatre of Operations from January 1944 to January 1945. During 1944 OWI faced two major tasks in the European theatre: first, to provide personnel and material with which to attack enemy morale on home front and firing line; second, to spread accurate and dispassionate information about America and her Allies and thus to build confidence among occupied and liberated countries. (PDF File, 9.54MB)
Psychological Warfare Branch, Allied Forces Headquarters (North Africa and the Mediterranean)
The Allies hit the beaches of Italy and started what was expected to be a swift and powerful movement up the boot of Italy to Rome. Then it all went bad. This story is about one of the places where it went terribly bad. Propaganda of the WWII Battle of Monte Cassino.
A report to the U.S. War Department on the part played by the United States Army in the development of Psychological Warfare organization, policy and operational technique in the North African, Sicilian, Italian and Southern France campaigns by Colonel Donald F Hall, August 1945.
Psychological Warfare Branch, Allied Forces Headquarters Unit Numbers and Locations as of August 1944
A short summary of the operational history of PWB Unit No 14 by Captain Leroy B. Block, Chief, Leaflet Section.
An official report on the activities of the Political Warfare Executive Sub-Mission Bari - later known as the Psychological Warfare Branch, Bari - from its formation in January, 1944 up to mid-October, 1944.
Reproduction of a short confidential booklet produced by the Psychological Warfare Branch of Allied Forces Headquarters to explain the policy and techniques of frontline combat propaganda, circa 1943. (PDF File, 2.8MB)
Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (North West Europe)
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.
Official report written at the end of the war analysing leaflet drops by PWD/SHAEF, 1945, Crown Copyright, Text only. (PDF File, 148Kb)
Air-dropped leaflet newspapers Frontpost and Feldpost of the Twelfth United States Army Group, Western European Theatre of Operations.
An article about the WWII multi-language S.H.A.E.F. newspaper for displaced persons parachute disseminated in Germany, by Lee Richards. (PDF File, 494Kb)
Brief reports published by the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF giving current reactions to Allied leaflet operations in North West Europe taken from Prisoner of War interrogations, enemy reactions and press reporting.
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.
Extracts from the war diary of the 14 Amplifier Unit and 19 Leaflet Unit, Intelligence Corps, in North-West Europe, 1944-45. It was one of the first British units to enter Belsen concentration camp.
A 45-page report on the work of the Third Psychological Warfare Consolidation Team of PWD/SHAEF in north-western France between August 23rd to October 8th, 1944. (PDF File, 3.3MB)
War in the Far East
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.
George Steer was a journalist for 'The Times' and later the 'Daily Telegraph'. He famously reported on the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935 and the Spanish Civil war, particularly the bombing of Guernica on 26 April 1937. During the Second World War Steer organised forward propaganda in Ethiopia and then worked for the Special Operations Executive in the Middle East. In 1943 he was transferred to India and working with Alec Peterson set up the Indian Forward Broadcasting Units (IFBU). He and three others were killed in a vehicle accident on Christmas day 1944. The following letter written by Alec Peterson puts on record his valuable contribution to the forming of the Indian Field Broadcasting Units.
The following document is taken from the Special Operations Executive historical records of Force 136. It documents the role of S.O.E. political warfare in South East Asia, including the setting up of a rumour-mongering network in India and the organisation of the Indian Field Broadcasting Units for the production of frontline propaganda.
A German aristocrat named Baron Jesco von Puttkamer left Berlin in the spring of 1941 for Japanese-held Shanghai. His mission was to organize a German propaganda office to broadcast the message of Adolf Hitler\'s government to the Far East and beyond. He opened a German Information Bureau, which appeared to be a news and information service but was in fact the producer of propaganda broadcasts and leaflets. Even after the unconditional surrender of Germany, von Puttkamer continued to assist the Japanese with their propaganda.
Psychological Warfare PART I booklet August 1944 This 24-page booklet was produced by the Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas in August 1944 and details the use of tactical psychological warfare against the Japanese in the Pacific Theater. (PDF File, 7.7MB)
Ministry of Information draft notes describing the activities and organisation of Germans abroad, based on a confidential Foreign Office report and other sources, April 1940.
Taken from the War Diary of the Deputy Directorate of Information and Propaganda, this report outlines the history of the British Army's liaison with Government civilian information departments, how it gave guidance to the press on military matters throughout the Second World War, and organised Amplifier and Leaflet Units in North-West Europe.
On this night seventy years ago, 19 specially modified Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron took off from RAF Scampton. The now famous Operation Chastise had begun. Commanded by 24-year-old Wing Commander Guy Gibson, their mission was to attack the major dams of the Ruhr and Weser valleys in Germany's industrial heartland. As well as striking a severe physical blow to the war making capabilities of the Third Reich, the morale effect of the raid was also of prime importance. Not just the depressing of enemy morale but also bolstering the people of Occupied Europe and on the home fronts, to show to the world that the British Commonwealth was fighting back and had the means and will to defeat the Axis.
In almost all military conflicts, as well as a war of bombs and bullets there is a war of words. Words can be disseminated via a number of different media. They can be spoken, e.g. via radio, loudspeaker, or even by mouth-to-mouth communication as news and rumours, sometimes supplied by one's enemies as well as ones allies, are spread. Here in the 21st C the social media are coming to play a very important part in the spread of information. But in the 20th C the main medium was the printed word, and newspapers had a huge role to play. This article is perhaps overambitious in that it aims to provide both a short introduction to the role of airdropped leaflets in war and conflict and within that to focus on news and airdropped newspapers in WW2. For reasons of space its emphasis will be mainly upon Western Europe, but it should be realised that news-based leaflets featured hugely in all theatres of WW2, from Europe to North Africa and then Russia through to the Middle East and to Asian countries, especially the countries of East Asia such as China and Japan, and in Southeast Asia such as Burma, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaya, Indonesia and Papua and New Guinea.
From the booklet 'Objects Dropped from the Air' - Air Raid Precautions Training Pamphlet No. 2.Issued by the Ministry of Home Security, 1941.
Pictures for the Troops. An illustrated Wehrmacht High Command leaflet showing German soldiers how the enemy retouches photographs for propaganda purposes. (PDF File, 2.8MB)
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.
Extracts from a lecture on counter-propaganda given by the Head of Britain's Information Research Department (IRD) in a secret series of lectures on Communism, dated September 1952.
Herb Friedman shows us a wide selection of counterfeit banknotes used during the Cold War for psychological warfare and propaganda purposes.
Kinmen (Quemoy) is a small island group, the largest of which is less than five miles off the coast of the People's Republic of China. It is administered by the Taiwanese Republic of China and therefore has been part of the on-going dispute between Communist China and Taiwan. This has included a vigorous propaganda battle through radio broadcasting, loud speakers, and the exchange of leaflets transported by balloons, artillery shells, kites, and bottles and model boats floated on the tide. Through the recollections of SGT. Fynis Eugene Briddle and the leaflets he picked up at the time, we examine examples of Communist Chinese propaganda against the small island group.
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.
The following background brief was prepared by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Research and Analysis Department in April 1989. The brief gives an overview of international front organisations sponsored by the Soviet Government to further its foreign policy objectives and as conduits for anti-Western propaganda.
The article is lavishly illustrated with a great variety of aerial propaganda leaflets dropped throughout the Emergency and fascinating photographs from the period.
In June 1970, by command of the Defence Council, the Ministry of Defence issued a restricted history of the Royal Air Force's role in the Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960. Chapter 4, reproduced here, includes an analysis of it's contribution to the psychological warfare campaign.
Notes by Major Reginald J Isaac for the Directorate of Forward Plans outlining the development of psychological warfare and information operations through the first years of the Malayan Emergency.
This report produced by the Federation of Malaya's Department of Public Relations documents its efforts to combat the Chinese Communist insurgency through psychological warfare and information campaigns. It covers the first six months of the Emergency from June to the end of December 1948.
Official memorandum by Hugh Carleton-Greene reporting on developments in information and psychological operations during his first year as the head of the Emergency Information Service in Malaya.
Report critical of the then Malayan Information Services and suggestions for re-organisation by Alec Peterson, August 1952.(143Kb)
Official memo for the Federation of Malaya Defence Secretary about Psychological Warfare technique, dated 19th February 1955.
An official British Government report on the organisation of the Psychological Warfare Section, the Federation of Malaya, in 1957. The PsyWar Section was responsible for the production of Anti-Communist Terrorist air-dropped leaflets and for the writing of surrender appeals and other messages for broadcast by Royal Air Force "Voice" aircraft over the Malayan jungle. (200Kb)
An article by Flight Lieutenant A. F. Derry, MBE, discussing psychological warfare activities against Communist terrorists during the Malayan Emergency; c.1955, publisher unknown. (4MB)
An article by Flight Lieutenant H. G. Haines, O.C. Voice Flight Detachment, No. 52 Squadron, RAF, about the use of "Voice" aircraft broadcasting propaganda messages to Communist terrorists hiding out in the Malayan jungles; c.1960, publisher unknown. (0.7MB)
The so-called Mau Mau Uprising was a brutal episode in Kenya's history. Throughout most of the 1950's Mau Mau gangs, formed predominately from members of the Kikuyu tribe, waged an insurgency against the British colonial Government seeking independence and the return of their traditional homeland. Most of the Mau Mau gangs' violence was directed towards fellow Kikuyu who were loyal to the British and towards a smaller number of white settlers. The Government responded with extreme force and innovative counter-insurgency techniques to crush the uprising. Psychological warfare played a part in putting down the Mau Mau and cleansing them of the Blood Oath.
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.
During the early years of the Vietnam War the term 'Dai Doan Ket' was used in the south as 'The National Reconciliation Program'. Republic of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky instituted Dai Doan Ket by proclamation on the 19 April 1967. It was meant to reinvigorate the Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) defector program in place since 1963. While Chieu Hoi targeted foot soldiers, the new initiative promised government aid in finding careers for top-level defectors. Further, it offered full participation in political activities to all who agreed to renounce force, abandon communism, lay down their weapons, and abide by the constitution of Vietnam. Unfortunately, the concept was really American and not Vietnamese and as a result had little backing and was destined for failure.
The Aden Emergency was an insurgency against British crown forces in what is now the Yemen. It lasted from 10 December 1963 when a "State of Emergency" was declared until 30 November 1967 when British forces left. The emergency began when members of the National Liberation Front (NLF) carried out a grenade attack against the British High Commission which killed one person and injured fifty. In this new article Herb Friedman analyses British psychological operations against the nationalist dissidents in Aden during the Emergency.
Fifty years ago 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.
This article documents psychological operations directed against the black population of Rhodesia by the Smith government during their control of the country between 1965 until 1980.
Official 1966 British Commonwealth Relations Office appraisal of the Rhodesian Government's propaganda organisation and activities just before and after its Universal Declaration of Independence (UDI).
Taken from a report prepared by the UK Ministry of Defence to record the major lessons learned from British military operations in Northern Ireland since 1969, here are brief details about the disappointing performance of Army information operations during the Northern Ireland Troubles.
"The Falkland Islands are approximately 8000 miles from Britain and the only major island group in the South Atlantic, about 300 miles east of Argentina and the continent of South America in the Strait of Magellan. There are two main islands, West and East Falkland and more than 100 smaller ones. The Buenos Aires government, which had declared its independence from Spain in 1816, claimed sovereignty over the Falklands. Britain began settling the islands and declared a colonial administration in 1842. Argentina never recognized the claim and historically has demanded that the islands be part of that nation..." In 1982 the Argentine military occupied the islands thus provoking war with Britain. Herb writes a detailed account of the small-scale British PSYOP campaign conduct during the short campaign.
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.
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.
Following a Freedom of Information request by PsyWar.Org new information has been supplied about Psychological Operations leaflet drops by the British Task Force during the 1982 Falkland Islands Conflict with Argentina.
"This book contains exemplars of leaflets designed, printed and disseminated in support of Coalition Forces during Operation DESERT STORM. According to numerous sources, including captured Iraqi soldiers, these leaflets were extremely effective in convincing the Iraqi soldiers to cease resistance. Each leaflet in this collection represents the collective efforts of members of the Psychological Operations (PSYOP) team that provided support to Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. The psychological preparation of the battlefield began in earnest in December  and radio, leaflet and loudspeaker operations continued non-stop throughout the air and ground phases of the conflict." (PDF file, 18.7MB).
Near the end of the Gulf War (1991), the Kurdish population staged an unsuccessful uprising against the Iraqi Government of Saddam Hussein. After the Kurds attempt at freedom had been quelled, they fled to the mountainous region of the Turkish-Iraqi border because they feared an Iraqi military backlash. Due to their hasty evacuation, the Kurds were ill-prepared for the hardships that awaited them. They faced death from starvation, exposure, contaminated water and unexploded munitions remaining from the Gulf War. At the height of the crisis, the number of refugees rose to 750,000 with a death rate of 4 per 10,000 a day. Under the leadership of the United States, the United Nations and numerous allied countries and organizations joined together to end the human suffering. This is the story of the contribution which psychological operations, a proven force multiplier, made to that noble international endeavour. Published by the US 4th PSYOP Group. (PDF file, 5.3MB).
Psychological operations were a key Battlefield Operating System used extensively to support Unified Task Force (UNITAF) Somalia operations. In order to maximise the PSYOP impact, a joint PSYOP Task Force (JPOTF) under the supervision of the Director of Operations was established, PSYOP was integrated into all plans and operations and limited the PSYOP focus to the operational and tactical levels.Throughout the course of Operation Restore Hope, thirty-seven different leaflets and over a dozen handbills and posters were designed, printed and disseminated. Over seven million leaflets were dropped over central and southern Somalia. One hundred sixteen different editions of the UNITAF newspaper RAJO, which means "Hope" in Somali, were published. As many as 25,000 copies were printed and distributed daily to every town and villages where UNITAF forces were deployed. This booklet contains exemplars of those printed products. Each represents the collective efforts of members of the UNITAF JPOTF who provided PSYOP support to Operation Restore Hope.(PDF file, 7.1 MB).
This pamphlet, originally published by the 4th Psychological Operations Group, tells the story of "the crucial role which PSYOP played as a force multiplier in contributing to the success of Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY - an operation other than war." It provides examples of the products generated by the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF) in Haiti following the US incursion to remove Haiti's corrupt military regime. (PDF file, 6.1 MB).
The United States found itself involved in the nation once called Yugoslavia several times in the past decade. There was a violent disintegration of that country after the death of Joseph Broz (Tito) in 1980. In order to rule as dictator, Tito had divided the Serbian people, the largest ethnic group of Yugoslavia, into four "Socialist Federative Republics" and two Autonomous Regions. Some 42% of the Serbs were located outside Serbia Proper. This system worked only as long as Tito was able to rule with an iron hand. In 1989, a new nationalist leader by the name of Slobodan Milosevic took power in the Serbian Republic. He had previously served as the leader of Belgrade Communist Party and the Serbian Communist Party. He wanted to dominate all of the old Yugoslavia, but when it became clear that he could not, he decided upon the ethnic cleansing of his country and the creation of a Greater Serbia. He abolished Kosovo's autonomy. Croats and Slovenes feared that they were next in line. There were daily news reports of murders, rapes, mass killings and other atrocities carried out by the Serbs as Milosevic drove the minorities from their lands and homes, "purifying" Serbia. This article is not a history of the Balkan conflict as confined to the old Yugoslavia. It is a look at the PSYOP campaigns fought there in the past decade.
NATO-Led Operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, December 1995-1997 published by the Center for Advanced Concepts and Technology (ACT).
In early 1999, NATO conducted an air campaign against Serbia and the Serb army in response to escalating violent oppression of the break-away Kosovo province. Herb Friedman looks at NATO psychological operations conducted in support of Operation Allied Force.
A report of events written by SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret).
Fascinating video feature about the 344th Military Information Support Operations (MISO) Team who design and produce radio, TV and print advertisements for the Afghan people.
Soldiers from Task Force La Fayette dropping leaflets from rear of an aircraft over Kapisa Province in Afghanistan. June 29, 2010.
Video package describing the process of how Military Information Support Operations personnel help broadcast the district governors message in Kajaki, Afghanistan on Aug 10, 2011. The broadcasts are designed to easily spread important messages to multiple areas throughout Kajaki. (U.S. Marine Corps motion imagery by Cpl. Charles T. Mabry II/Released).
Video package describing the process of creating and distributing a Military Information Support Operations (MISO) leaflet at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan on June 21, 2011. The leaflets are used by MISO personnel to effectively pass information and messages to target audiences in remote areas of Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps motion imagery by Cpl Charles T. Mabry II / Released).
U.S. Marines with Military Information Support Operations (MISO) and Information Opearations (IO), 2D Marine Division, drop leaflets over an unknown location in Afghanistan on June 21, 2011. MISO and IO Marines use these leaflets to communicate with a target audience that is often unreachable on the ground. (U.S. Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Zachary Ouellette and Lance Cpl. Justin Davis/Released).
Coalition Special Operations Forces drop leaflets from a UH-60 Black Hawk over villages in Sar-e Pul province, Afghanistan, Jan. 1, 2012. The leaflets provided a message for villagers to cooperate with the Afghan Local Police in helping turn in local insurgent leaders and providing security for their villages.
U.S. Marines of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (VMM-162), perform a leaflet drop, undisclosed location, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. VMM-162 performs this action to provide information to local populace who can receive it in no other manner. (U.S. Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Brian J. Knevitt.)
U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) and U.S. Army Soldiers with 303rd Psychological Operations Company (33rd POCO) conduct a leaflet drop over southern Afghanistan, Aug. 28, 2013. The leaflet drop was conducted to help counter insurgent influence in the area. (U.S. Marine Corps Motion Imagery by Lance Cpl. Nicholas T. Nohalty, August 28, 2013)
A report of events written by SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret).
A preliminary report of events written by SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret).
This is a great video of an actual US PSYOP leaflet drop over Mosul, Iraq on the night of January 28th, 2005. The leaflets were disseminated over market areas of the city and gave details of local polling stations for the January 30th election. (The video is around 4 MB).
Operation Iraqi Freedom: U.S. Army soldiers conduct a leaflet drop over Baqubah, Iraq, May 22, 2007.
Transcripts of radio transmission made by the Commando Solo airborne broadcasting platform over Iraq, December 2002.
Sandy Times - Published weekly by and for British Forces in the Gulf, issue no. 32, 23 April 2003. (PDF file, 100Kb)
Information Operations chapter from a report commissioned by the UK Parliament to learn from experiences of British forces during Operation Telic.
On 12 July 2006 Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon crossed the border into Israel, killed eight soldiers and abducted two others. This action prompted a military intervention by Israel against Lebanon. During the ensuing short conflict the Israeli Defense Force conducted significant information and psychological operations as part of their military strategy. Herb Friedman analyses these operations in this article.
Throughout Operation Unified Protector, the NATO intervention in the 2011 Libyan civil war, the U.S. Air Force Commando Solo airborne broadcasting platform provided military information support to the operation. Following a rather protracted Freedom of Information Act request by PsyWar.Org the following 47 transcripts of radio broadcasts transmitted across Libya by Commando Solo have now been released to the public.
Amateur video purportedly filmed by Libyan citizens of a NATO psychological operations radio broadcast targeted to troops still loyal to Gaddafi's regime. The video was uploaded to the internet on 21 May 2011. Its authenticity cannot be verified.
RIGA, Latvia - The Canadian Ambassador to Latvia, Mr. Alain Hausser, and the Latvian State Secretary for Defence, Mr. Janis Sarts, jointly opened a revolutionary NATO training programme in Riga, on May 8, teaching advanced counter-propaganda techniques designed to help member states assess and counter Russia's propaganda in Eastern Europe.
An overview of British underground propaganda against Nazi Germany - transcript of a talk, with accompanying slides, given by Lee Richards, London, May 2014.
Workers' Challenge was a clandestine radio station broadcasting to Britain throughout the Second World War. It purported to be run by a group of socialist British workers disaffected by the way the capitalist bosses and establishment were directing the war. The radio station called for a working class revolt through national strikes and disobedience in order to seek peace with Germany.
Radio Caledonia was a clandestine Nazi radio station broadcasting to Britain and operated by the Buro Concordia. The only speaker and main writer was Scottish-Fascist Donald Alexander Fraser Grant. The station attacked the British establishment and fomented Scottish Nationalism. After the war Grant was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for aiding the enemy. Of all the convicted British renegades this was the shortest prison sentence imposed.
A request to the Special Operations Executive from Ian Fleming, Personal Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, for assistance in the dissemination of PWE malingering manual to undermine the morale of U-boat crews.
A Gestapo Investigation into British Clandestine Radio Broadcasts. A seemingly unpleasant series of stories on British clandestine radio broadcasts denouncing two Viennese doctors for killing 20 newborns and infants could easily be dismissed as mere atrocity propaganda, if it were not for the fact that the core premise of the stories was actually true. The shocking nature of the revelations instigated the Gestapo to investigate the enemy allegations.
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.
'The Story of Cornflakes, Pig Iron and Sheet Iron' is a booklet produced and printed in Rome in April 1945 by the Office of Strategic Service Morale Operations. It tells the story of the infiltration of subversive black propaganda into the German postal system by dropping fake mailbags beside shot-up railway trains and the widescale aerial dissemination of fake underground newspapers. Some additional illustrations have been added here to the original text.
Das Neue Deutschland - The New Germany - was a fake freedom movement created by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services Morale Operations branch in the summer of 1944. Its main organ was a clandestine newspaper which was disseminated through Europe by resistance fighters, by turned German Prisoners of War sent back through the frontline and ingeniously introduced into the German postal system by dropping fake mailbags, full with pre-franked letters containing subversive propaganda, alongside shot-up German railway trains. The following candid and detailed history of Das Neue Deutschland was submitted to the Morale Operations reports office by Eugene Warner, Chief of European and Mediterranean MO section on 1 October 1945. The names of German POWs have been changed by PsyWar.Org plus a few other minor alterations and corrections. Supporting illustrations have also been added to the narrative.
This is a translated monitoring report of a broadcast made by the British clandestine radio station known as Gustav Siegfried Eins (GSI). GSI pretended to be the mouthpiece of a group of disaffected German officers. The main announcer is referred to as der Chef, the Chief, who revels in the use of foul language to attack the murderous British enemy and to complain about the clique of Nazi bosses (the Party Kommune) who are mismanaging the war while profiteering and living a comfortable life at the expense of the German people.
A detailed and illustrated catalogue of black propaganda material produced by Gerald M Mayer and Allen Dulles at the OWI/OSS Berne, Switzerland, outstation in World War II.
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.
Official Memorandum signed by Brigadier-General Robert A. McClure, Chief of PWD/SHAEF, regarding policy and methods of black propaganda against Germany. Although signed by McClure the author of the memo is almost certainly Sefton Delmer.
A report written by Ralph Murray of PWE's Middle East Mission outlining covert broadcasting by Special Operations Executive from Jerusalem to the Balkans. At the time this report was written in November 1942, SOE and PWE were locked in debate over which organisation should control and operate clandestine radio stations. PWE argued that they were responsible for all psychological warfare to enemy, satellite and enemy occupied territory. SOE maintained that they should be in charge of covert operational propaganda which directly supported their subversive activities.
BBC Television, "The One Show" feature on the activities of the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) in World War II and the spreading of black propaganda. Includes interviews with PsyWar.Org Producer and Editor Lee Richards and Ingram Murray, son of Sir Ralph Murray. Shot on location at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, the wartime home of the Political Warfare Executive.
Operation Huguenot was a psychological warfare plan intended to instruct German Luftwaffe pilots on how to desert with their aircraft to Britain. The plan was intended not so much to encourage genuine desertions of Luftwaffe personnel but to convince the German authorities to suspect the loyalty of their aircrew and, therefore, to take repressive counter-measures against them.
Early in World War II Britain's secret services soon concluded that it would be impossible to organise an anti-Nazi resistance within Germany itself. As they could not create a genuine resistance organisation they decided to fabricate one by using black propaganda, fake signals traffic, dropping supplies to non-existent reception committees and persuading a few hapless German Prisoners of War to be parachuted into the heart of the Third Reich. Perhaps the German authorities could be panicked into believing they were in mortal danger of being overthrown by their own people or at least encourage a few anti-Nazi Germans to take up arms against their Nazi bosses. This is the story of Operation Periwig.
A joint Special Operations Executive (SOE) and Political Warfare Executive (PWE) operation.
Sir Stafford Cripps' outrage at the pornographic nature of the clandestine black radio station Gustav Siegfried Eins (GS1) is well known. All the major histories dealing with British psychological warfare throughout the Second World War make mention of Cripps complaint to the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, concerning one of the station's more disreputable broadcasts. None of the previous histories, however, tell the full story as until very recently Cripps' correspondence with the Foreign Secretary has remained secret. Following a Freedom of Information request by PsyWar.Org to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, over sixty years later, this correspondence has now finally been released for public scrutiny.
For the first time a complete English translation of Delmer's famous malingering booklet is now available with an additional foreword by Lee Richards explaining the background to PWE/SOEs desertion and malingering black propaganda campaign against Nazi Germany.
Herb Friedman has been researching and writing about propaganda and espionage philately for five decades. He now gives an overview of this fascinating and complex subject in this internet article. It is colourfully illustrated with some of the rarer and more interesting propaganda and forged postage stamps produced by all sides throughout World War II.
Part II of Herb Friedman's extensive philately article.
Black propaganda rumour-mongering was employed to help defeat the Third Reich and a special Underground Propaganda Committee was established for the task. This is the story of the UPC and the rumours (sibs) they spread across the world during World War II.
This archival document, intended as a brief introduction, was provided to Special Operations Executive propaganda agents tasked with setting up a rumour spreading organisation.
This archival document circulated to Special Operations Executive propaganda agents in 1942 gives guidance on the creation of rumours, what are the qualities of a good rumour and some of the pitfalls to avoid.
An extract from Lee Richards' book The Black Art - British Clandestine Psychological Warfare against the Third Reich. A story of black propaganda in the Second World War. How Britain promoted malingering and taught German soldiers and factory workers how to fake illness.
Herb Friedman tells us about PWE subversive propaganda postcards.
An article by Herb Friedman on the Office of Strategic Services (MO) black propaganda Operation Sauerkraut.
The story of how Herb Friedman managed to meet PWE's forger after 20 years searching.
An article by Herb Friedman and Lee Richards on PWE "black" propaganda.
A new book on the WWII history of Britain's subversive black propaganda war with Nazi Germany conducted by Sefton Delmer.
Leaflet Distribution during the First World War
A report by Captain P. Chalmers Mitchell, M.I.7b(4), 23rd February 1918, describing methods of aerial propaganda leaflet dissemination, including details of the experimental "Fire Balloon", effects of propaganda and German counter-propaganda.
A report by Captain P. Chalmers Mitchell, of MI7(b)4, dated 12th March 1918, summarising the current methods of distributing aerial propaganda leaflets over the German front line in World War I. The report looks at dissemination by aircraft, balloons, kites and rockets.
Leaflet Distribution by Aircraft
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.
Leaflet Distribution by Balloon
An account of the work of the balloon leaflet distributing unit by Lee Richards. (PDF File, 3.16MB)
A brief summary of the Operations Record Book of the RAF's 'M' Balloon Unit, tasked with the dissemination of propaganda leaflets from free-floating hydrogen balloons.
Bar chart showing the numbers of grey propaganda leaflets disseminated monthly by the 'M' Balloon Unit from 1944 to 1945.
From the booklet Objects Dropped from the Air - Air Raid Precautions Training Pamphlet No. 2. Issued by the Ministry of Home Security, 1941.
Leaflet Distribution by Artillery
A lecture on the use of artillery for distribution of leaflets by Captain D.J. Alexander. Circa 1943/44. (PDF File, 75Kb)
Details and cutaway diagram of the British 25 smoke shell adapted for the dissemination of propaganda leaflets.
Details and cutaway diagrams of the U.S. 105mm smoke shell adapted for the dissemination of propaganda leaflets.