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Research Unit W.6 – National Fascist Radio: Object, Method and Effect

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This Political Warfare Executive report is an appraisal of the object, method and effect of the clandestine radio station known as W.6 – National Fascist Radio, broadcasting to Italy.


To produce a counterfeit of the National Fascist Government Radio which, in the name of Germany and the National Fascist Government will (a) discredit Germany and the National Fascist Government in the eyes of Italians and (b) cause Italians to act in a sense favourable to the war effort of the United Nations.


The programme is a continuous broadcast beginning 20.30 BST and continuing until midnight, relaying direct or from records the genuine National Fascist programme picked up from medium wave German transmitters, and inserting subversive news items and talks. Apart from these items and talks the programme is identical with the genuine propaganda broadcast on the medium wave and various short wave frequencies.

The news bulletins include many “operational” items: reports that a carefully designated area of Central Italy has been declared a neutral zone, or a news item stating what the German authorities have arranged for a free distribution of food for the population in the Fascist HQs of the chief towns of certain specified provinces. Both these items are designed to cause movement along roads on the enemy lines of communication.

Other features, such as attacks on the Vatican in the name of Fascism, a laudatory speech on Mussolini referring to him as the “President of the Italian Republic”, talks proclaiming in the name of the National Fascist Government that Italian women are going to be made to take on themselves the same war burdens as German women, or announcing that a new Italian Fascist lire is to be issued shortly under German auspices at a new rate of exchange, are all designed to increase hostility to the Italian Government to stimulate disobedience and resistance and inversely arouse warmer feelings towards the Allies.

Three voices are used, not because three voices are ideal, but because three voices are all that are available.

Most of the insertions are recorded in advance but some of them, in order to keep the broadcast live and up to the minute, are inserted live.


The programme has only been in operation for a fortnight but has already had a considerable crop of comebacks from monitors in Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and, unfortunately, owing to a misunderstanding, by BBC Monitoring in this country.

The circumstance that the Germans also are putting out this programme on short wave bands and that the engineers assure us our signal strength should be similar to that of the German broadcasts makes it seem reasonable that W.6 should have an Italian listening public who will spread its news and views.

The success of the technique is proved by the completeness with which trained monitors have been duped. Not one has yet denounced it.


[Source: TNA FO 898/51, transcribed by]



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